My first 12 Hours of Sebring

032206224057Somehow I never had attended the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring until this past weekend. That changed after the American LeMans Series hired me to become the public address announcer for them along with the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama and the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship.  To say it was an experience wouldn’t do it justice.

Arriving at the track in Tuesday afternoon, I was immediately overwhelmed by the number of participants.  Almost 60 cars were on hand for the 12 Hours but that was just the beginning.  Add in excess of over 100 more in various series and it was race car junkie heaven.

Larry-pre race at SebringMy real eye-opening experience was race day morning for the 12 Hours.  I did the pre-race announcing from down on pit road and also on the track amongst a crowd of wall-to-wall fans. They were old, they were young and some so young they were in strollers.  Drivers were posing by their cars for pictures and interacting with the fans.

Once the race started the action on-track was non-stop and the same could be said in the infield.  Fans cruised in their vehicles slowly on the interior roadways.  They wandered the grounds.  In fact, thanks to cars going to and from the paddock, the fans would have to part to let frantic teams through to execute repairs.

032206230665At the end of the day, it was a sea of humanity around the podium where the top three finishing teams were honored.

I had the privilege of introducing all of the winners and then dashing away as champagne filled the air.  I never knew I was as nimble as I must have been because 60 bottles of champagne were sprayed and not a single drop hit me.

Around 12:30 in the morning Sunday I finally hit the bed for a few hours of sleep before heading to the airport in Tampa to return to Detroit.

I wish I could really give each and every one of you the same experience I had.  The adrenaline rush I had at the beginning of the day when I was standing in front of the pole winning Peugeot was incredible. The atmosphere memorable.

I may still be tired from long days and hot temperatures but I’d do it all again right now.  The 60th running of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring can’t get here fast enough!


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