Five months after the checkered flag on the last event, it’s already time for the 69th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring as the iconic race returns to TV on its traditional mid-March slot on the schedule.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship held its 2020 season finale at Sebring in November after the season was put on pause for more than four months by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
But things have begun to return to some degree of normalcy the past two weeks and drivers and teams rolled in for support races and preparations for the main event Saturday.
“It’s great to be back at this event,” Alexander Rossi, who will be driving for Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Acura, said during a Zoom news conference Wednesday afternoon from the track. “It’s kind of strange that we’re here five months removed from the last time we did it, but it’s always one of those fun events to be at just because of the atmosphere.
“It’s great to see the amount of people that we already have here on a Wednesday. It kind of feels like 2019 in a way. Just fun to be here, and hopefully, we can go 2 for 2 with the 10 car.”
— Bozi Tatarevic (@BoziTatarevic) March 18, 2021
Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner, enters Sebring off a Rolex 24 at Daytona victory, the fourth in five years for Wayne Taylor Racing but its first after switching from Cadillac to Acura in the DPi division for the 2021 season.
The season opener at Daytona featured strong parity between all three manufacturers in DPi as Cadillac continued its history of running well in endurance races with a runner-up finish by the No. 48 Action Express/Hendrick Motorsports entry of Jimmie Johnson, Kamui Kobayashi and Simon Pagenaud.
The No. 55 Mazda finished third and will enter Sebring as the event’s most recent winner last fall as Harry Tincknell, Oliver Jarvis and Jonathan Bomarito try to give the automaker a proper sendoff from the DPi division this year.
Felipe Nasr led the opening practice Thursday morning at Sebring in the No. 31 of Action Express as Cadillac drivers posted four of the top five speeds.
Here are the details for the 69th running of the IMSA Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway (all times are ET):
2021 IMSA Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway
When: Saturday, 10:10 a.m.
Race distance: A 12-hour race on the 17-turn, 3.74-mile course in Sebring, Florida.
Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 61 degrees with a 2% chance of rain at the green flag.
TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold Coverage: Flag to flag beginning at 10:05 a.m.
Announcing team: Play-by-play announcers Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns; analysts Dale Earnhardt Jr., Townsend Bell, Calvin Fish; pit reporters Marty Snider, Brian Till, Kevin Lee.
RADIO: IMSA Radio will have live radio coverage on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, as well as SiriusXM
Here’s a rundown of everything happening this weekend in the IMSA Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway schedule:
Thursday, March 18
9:05-10:05 a.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Practice #1
1:55-2:55 p.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Practice #2
7:30-9 p.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Practice #3
Friday, March 19
11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Qualifying
Saturday, March 20
8-8:20 a.m. — Warmup for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
10:10 a.m.-10:10 p.m. — The 69th running of Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway
THURSDAY PRACTICE SPEEDS