There is just something about the 12 Hours of Sebring. We felt it the first time we stepped foot onto the grounds, though we knew next to nothing about the historic event. It is like nothing you have ever experienced before. Every year In mid-March, people from all over the world converge on Sebring, Florida to see Audi, Porsche, Peugeot, and dozens of other brands showcase the latest in racing technology. Whether one is coming to to watch these spectacular cars or attending for the carnival-like atmosphere, there is something for everyone at Sebring.
Sebring means something different to everyone. To some of the fans in the infield, this event is more of an endurance celebration than an endurance race. While strolling through the infield area, we had the opportunity to meet Skip and his friends who camp inside Turn 6 every year. They come with their camper, grills, sofas, and disco ball (yes, we they actually have a disco ball on the top of their camper!). These guys even have a beer tap that comes right out of the side of their camper. Skip is also the mastermind behind Jewels, the sculpture at the bottom of the Drive Over Bridge to Green Park. Check your favorite driver’s Twitter feed – we bet they wandered out and took a photo of Jewels.
Then there are the people affectionately known as The Sebring Cows. They have been attending the 12 Hours of Sebring since 1992 dressed in cow suits, Mardi Gras beads, Pope hats, and smoking cigars. The herd can be found grazing in Green Park or roaming the paddock all weekend – you cannot possibly miss them. They even have a Twitter account (@Sebring_Cows)!
The fans that attend the 12 Hours of Sebring do not go unnoticed by the competitors. Bryan Sellers, driver of the 017 Falken Tire Porsche said his favorite part of coming to Sebring is the fans themselves. “I love seeing what vehicles they will roll out at the track. Their passion for the race is unmatched by most other sporting events, and it makes you feel like you are racing for a real purpose.”
Oliver Gavin, driver of the 04 Corvette, finds that his favorite part is race morning. “It’s always great, usually cool and a little misty. The crowd is getting in position and usually still excited from the previous night’s party. There is a real buzz.”
The vehicles in the paddock aren’t the only stars of the show. Pat Long, 045 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche, loves to visit the infield camping areas to see what is out there. “I dig checking out all of the Jeeps, swamp buggies and outrageous vehicles that fans have constructed to roam the party zone and pits and during race week.” Pat also counts the fans as a favorite part of Sebring. “It’s hard to beat the collective passion and party efforts of these guys and girls!”
Our favorite part of the 12 Hours of Sebring has to be the chance to visit with old friends and to make new ones. No matter what happens during the race, we always end up with some exciting outrageous stories. The things we have seen at Sebring Raceway range from hysterical to completely inappropriate to unbelievable. It is an experience you can’t afford to miss. But don’t just trust us – be there in 2012. You won’t regret it.