The recent rumors are true and sanity has swept over the scheduling of next year’s trip to Sebring, where IMSA and the FIA World Endurance Championship will host rounds over the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours weekend.
Under the previously announced schedule, the start of the FIA WEC’s 1,000-mile race was meant to follow two hours after IMSA’s 12-hour event, or approximately 12:40 a.m. Sunday; in the new agreement with IMSA and the fabled 3.7-mile circuit it owns, the European series will shift its race to Friday. A cap of eight hours has also been placed on the WEC round.
To accommodate the WEC, Sebring will build a new pit complex on the left side of the Ullman Straight – the long stretch between Turns 16 and 17 – directly across from the standard paddock where IMSA teams will be located. WEC transporters will be based near the new pit lane on the outside of the circuit.
“The decisions that came from our discussions with the WEC, FIA and track management promise to make the 2019 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts weekend an absolute must for sports car racing fans from across North America and around the world,” said IMSA president Scott Atherton.
“There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the initial announcement of this combined event, but we always believed we could all find solutions to the many questions and challenges that needed to be addressed to host two world-class events on one weekend. And that’s exactly what we did. In the weeks and months ahead, we know this spirit of cooperation will continue as we complete the process of planning what promises to be an unprecedented showcase of sports car endurance racing for the fans – and competitors in each championship.”
The WEC will also schedule a test at an undetermined date for its teams at Sebring prior to the race.
“Everyone went in to the meeting with a willingness to find a solution which worked well for all of us, knowing that some flexibility would be required on both sides, and the key points such as the schedule and the pitlane and paddock were agreed very quickly,” added FIA WEC CEO Gerard Neveu.
“We would like to sincerely thank Scott Atherton and all his team at IMSA, Wayne Estes and his staff at Sebring Raceway for the co-operation, flexibility and positive attitude they displayed throughout the recent weekend. We received a very warm welcome, had many meetings while in Florida, and a lot of the logistical bumps have already been smoothed out ready for the WEC’s visit next year.”
With the WEC race set to start Friday afternoon and stretch into the night, IMSA will need to look at where its large volume of support races will fall on the event calendar, including its Continental Tire Series, which has normally been offered as the featured Friday race.