This week is the second double-header weekend of the Idemitsu MX-5 Cup championship, and it’s a part of the historic 12 Hours of Sebring event. Sebring is not only an iconic circuit for sports cars, but it also has some exciting recent history for the MX-5 Cup series itself. The track hosted the 2018 Global Challenge finale, where MX-5 competitors from all around the world came together for a one-event-only showdown.
The racing was nothing less than a spectacle. One of the highlights was a pass for the win heading into the final corner on the final lap of the race, which was pulled off by one of the international drivers from Japan.
Sebring is the type of track that produces great racing because of its layout, with long straightaways followed by very heavy braking zones. That creates passing opportunities several times each lap. This is a feature unique to Sebring, as is the track’s original concrete surface from when it was an air base in the 1940s, which race cars continue to pound around on to this day. The resulting bumpy nature of the track is unlike any other circuit in the world. Teams will have to plan for plenty of setup adjustments to accommodate the track surface, especially compared to the smooth and aerodynamic Daytona, where the MX-5 Cup series started the season.
One thing that we can be guaranteed of at Sebring is the continued train of drafting partners and ultra-close racing that both this series and the circuit promote. Sebring’s long straights encourage drafting, which our drivers love to do, and then there are lots of opportunities to make a pass coming into the braking zones. Keep an eye on the Hairpin (turn 7) and turn 10 for some great passing opportunities, and we’ll see if anyone can execute the draft pass into Sunset Bend (turn 17).
A lot of drivers claim Sebring as their home track, so we’ll find out if anyone gets the home track advantage. It will be interesting to see if the same competitors who shone at Daytona do so again at Sebring, or if we’ll have a different mix of drivers rising to the top at Sebring.
Practice begins on Wednesday, March 17 (another St. Patrick’s Day at Sebring!), with race one on Thursday afternoon and race two on Friday morning. You can catch all the action live on IMSA.com and NBC Track Pass.