Whelen Motorsports

Sebring 12 Hour - Lessons Learned

IMSA • March 27, 2014

The Sebring 12 Hour race, once around the clock, but twice as hard as the 24 hour race. Despite coming off the Daytona 24 hour with a solid 10th place finish, one would think a race half as long would simply be half as easy, unfortunately like many things, it’s not as easy in real life as it is on paper.

What started in 1950 at the former Hendricks Army Airfield World War 2 airbase has become one of the milestones in automotive endurance racing. If you ask anyone about sports car racing, the famed 24 hours of Le Mans is generally a race anyone in the world has heard of. More importantly when you ask every team that competes in the 24 at Le Mans what race would prepare them for the major event in France, everyone will tell you; the 12 hours of Sebring. Sebring’s extremely bumpy old surface has quickly gained the reputation of being the proving ground in route to Le Mans. Quite simply because of the abuse the team, drivers and cars take during the 12-hour race. In fact the wear and tear on the car, the number of tires is almost equal to that of the entire 24 hours of Daytona.

"Our Marsh racing boys worked really hard preparing for this event. But this was the first time the team had raced the 12 hr and only the second race for our Whelen DP Corvette." - Eric Curran

Despite the effort from all involved, minor mechanical issues prevailed and forced the team to change its strategy for the race. Early in the race, the grueling wear and tear caused havoc to some of the mounts holding the telemetry equipment in the car. A quick trip back to the trailer to repair the mounts put the team down 11 laps to the leaders. Although the team was now out of the possibility of finishing on the podium, it gave them an opportunity to learn and test different components on the car during the pit stops. For a new team running against the likes of Ganassi, Wayne Taylor and Action Experss, who have had over 5 years experience with the Corvette DP cars, the testing and practice the team was able to make during the race puts the Marsh Racing team much farther ahead of where they were. The information gained will not only help the race next year, but they also gained valuable information that will help through out the season this year. While most teams were simply trying to endure the race, Marsh Racing was making changes, and gaining valuable race condition information.

"We had trouble early on but still got so close to the finish before we had transmission troubles only 45 minutes from the end of the 12 hour race. But we learned a lot about the car throughout the weekend that will help us a lot moving forward. On to Long Beach for only a 90 minute race April 12th! And a phenomenal race track that I’ve won at in 2007!" - Eric Curran

So history couldn’t repeat for Marsh racing this year at Sebring. Back in 2007 Eric’s first race with Whelen in the SPEED World Challenge GT Corvette resulted in a Win for the team. The Marsh Racing boys are already hard at work preparing the car for Long Beach, another track the team has years of experience at. With the races being much shorter, and the experience on a track most teams have never run, keep your eye on the Whelen Motorsport / Team Fox Corvette DP to be leading the way into the 3rd round of the championship and onto their first podium finish in their Corvette DP.