After WW2, there were numerous military facilities across the United States without a defined peacetime purpose. One of those semi-abandoned facilities was Hendricks Army Airfield in Sebring, Highlands County, Florida. By 1950, Alec Ulmann, a Russian-American aeronautic engineer and motorsport fan, pioneered an American version of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, using the military Airfield in Sebring as a racing venue. Sebring International Raceway was born for that race and, since 1952, it hosts the 12 Hours of Sebring, an annual endurance race that nowadays is a part of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The raceway was such a success that in 1959 the Formula One championship brought the first United States Grand Prix to Florida.
The benign climate of central Florida, with 250 sunny days a year, is ideal for motorsport most of the time. That’s part of the reason why Sebring International Raceway is one of the busiest raceways in the USA, with 175 races a year on average. Summers are rainy, with 60% of annual precipitation happening from June to September. There are two road courses in Sebring International Raceway: the Full Course and the Club Circuit, with average speeds of 91 mph and 72 mph.
The Club Circuit of Sebring International Raceway is the northernmost part of the track and the most complicated to drive, as its lower average speed of 72 mph shows. The Big Bend, a long sweeping right-hand turn, allows some acceleration but is interrupted by the track's hairpin at turn seven. Another passing opportunity comes in Fangio, after leaving the hairpin behind only to find a 90-degree angle turn in Cunningham corner. The Club Circuit surface is rough and bumpy, a real test of strength and durability for today's race cars.