Event: 65th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring – a 12 hour endurance race held at Sebring International Raceway which is located 150 miles southeast of the VISIT FLORIDA Racing shop in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Track: 3.74-miles in length with 17 turns – notorious for its challenging layout and bumpy track surface. Sebring International Raceway is America’s oldest road racing track, with over six decades of storied history. The legendary circuit evolved from Hendricks Field, a World War II airbase used to train B-17 combat crews.
International Driver Line-up: Marc Goossens (Belgium), Renger van der Zande (Netherlands), and René Rast (Germany)
Driver History at Sebring:
- Marc Goossens has eight starts in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in a variety of different machines. He placed third in his first Sebring 12 Hour event while competing in the American Le Mans Series in 2002. Last year, he drove to a fifth place finish in the VISIT FLORIDA Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype.
- Renger van der Zande has driven in the previous three Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring events for Starworks Motorsports in the PC category. He has never finished outside of the top-five and has two podium finishes to his credit (third in 2014 & 2016).
- René Rast has one start in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. He drove a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for Paul Miller Racing in the 2011 event. In addition to that race, Rast has tested several times at the venue in an Audi R18. This year’s event marks the first time at the track for Rast in a Prototype machine.
Testing: VISIT FLORIDA Racing tested earlier this week at Palm Beach International Raceway to shake down its Gibson-Riley machine ahead of the Sebring 12 Hour. Driver Renger van der Zande was on hand to test the car.
New in 2017: With all-new regulations for the top Prototype class in 2017, VISIT FLORIDA Racing fields a Gibson-powered Riley Mk. 30. The Gibson engine is a normally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8, and is the specification engine for all competitors in the World Endurance Championship LMP2 category. Riley Technologies has an unparalleled history in the sport, and the Rolex 24 At Daytona marked the competition debut for the Mk. 30.
Chassis – Multimatic / Riley Carbon Fiber semi stressed engine
Safety equipment – Crushable Nose box, 6 point safety harness, Onboard fire suppression system, Air conditioned cockpit for driver safety and comfort.
Transmission – X-Trac six-speed sequential, paddle operated rear wheel drive.
Addition of Michael Harvey: Prior to the 2017 season, VISIT FLORIDA Racing added Michael Harvey to the team as Director of Race Operations. Harvey, who has a long and varied range of experience in the sport, most recently managed the competition efforts for Fall-Line Motorsports’ multiple-championship winning programs in IMSA and SCCA competition as well as serving as a Series Director for the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA series.
New Partners for 2017: In addition to longtime partner VISIT FLORIDA, VISIT FLORIDA Racing has partnered with: Speed Chills, iRacing, Motegi Racing, Riley Technologies, Go Puck, GoPro, Burt & Scheld, Under Armour, and Whelen.
Marc Goossens: “We didn’t do much testing prior to the 24 hour race. We went almost immediately into the race and finished on the podium. Coming into this one it’s tough to say what to expect. We had two days of testing and we collected data and we’re trying to learn what the car needs. In the meantime we’re still working on the car to make it reliable and fix some of the issues that we had at Daytona. We survived and finished third at Daytona so the next step is to finish at this track which is a very demanding track. We’re still learning about this car and we’re not there yet speed-wise and so we just need to focus on having a clean and trouble-free race which is tough to do here. The team has been working hard in all sorts of areas and we’ll be well-prepared when we head back to Sebring for the race.”
Renger van der Zande: “We did quite well at Daytona which is a 24 hour race. Here at Sebring it’s such a tough track that a 12-hour race here is like a 24 hour race. The car seems to be realiable and strong and I think the group of drivers that we have is working well. We are on the same page of where our strengths and weaknesses are. So from that perspective we can look forward to a weekend where we can try to make the most of it. Speed wise we still have to work a bit, that’s not a secret, but on the other hand, this is endurance racing and if we can stay on the lead lap and score good points, we’ll be good as we head into the remainder of the season.”
René Rast: “I am looking forward to the Sebring 12 Hour, not only because Sebring is one of my favorite tracks but also because I know how motivated everyone at VISIT FLORIDA Racing is to get another top result. We all go to Sebring with a big boost coming from Daytona with a third place finish. I think Sebring should suit our car a bit more than Daytona did even though it will be tough to beat the Cadillacs. I am going to Sebring with a very positive feeling which is already a good start!”
Source. Sunday Group