Two teams and 13 drivers are in for a physical and mental test this week at Sebring, racing in both the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours and 1000 Miles as part of the ‘Super Sebring’ double-header.
While it’s not uncommon for drivers to race in IMSA’s WeatherTech championship and one of the series on the support bill, it’s rare that drivers have the chance to race in the two biggest sports car championships in the world — IMSA and the WEC — on the same weekend.
Renger van der Zande is one of those drivers, and is just one of a pair (the other being Brendon Hartley) who will be competing for the overall win in both races. The Dutchman will compete with Wayne Taylor Racing in IMSA, and fresh from his triumph at Daytona back in January, will be looking to make it two wins out of two races to start the season for the US-flagged Cadillac DPi team.
“It was really nice at Daytona — people asked me if I was disappointed that it was a red-flagged race, and honestly I didn’t care! We won, and we won in style,” he told RACER. “Now we’re back in Sebring, and last year we finished second, so we want to go one better this year.”
Then on the other side of the huge paddock, he’ll compete with DragonSpeed too, in its BR1 LMP1. His aims with Elton Julian’s team — which is fresh from its IndyCar debut last weekend — are different and more modest, as the team will be looking to building on its season-best run to sixth last time out at Shanghai.
“I’ll see the WEC race as a warm-up for Saturday — a big warm-up!” he chuckled. “I don’t think (getting in and out of an LMP1 and DPi all weekend) is going to be easy, but at the same time I believe I’ll be OK because during the season I do a lot of GT and prototype racing, and I’ve never experienced a situation where I feel like I need to spend a great deal of time getting used to different cars again.
“The cars I’ll be in here (Wayne Taylor’s Cadillac and DragonSpeed’s BR1) are similar — similar speeds — which may be more difficult than doing a mix of GT and prototypes because you need to make small changes to your driving style.”