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Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was

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On: Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 4:37PM | By: John Welch

Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was

OOOhhhh, man, how much do I love living in Florida? Not much; however, there are perks. For instance: Endurance Sports Car Racing!! Lots of it!! The 'Shopper was there for the Rolex 24, and we were also able to attend the Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring, the second most famous endurance race on the planet.

Held on the grounds of a WWII B-17 aerodrome, the Sebring race draws huge crowds to Highlands County every year. So, who was racing? Who won? How many sets of tah-tahs did I see? Uhm, go to Speedtv.com for all of that crap; what you will find here is a detailed description of all things visceral . . . engine sounds, tire squeals, smoke, dust, fire. The stats and figures you can find anywhere . . . actually feeling like you were there? That is what the 'Shopper does best. . . .

The race started in earnest at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 20th. It ended at 10:30 that evening. 12 hours. 12 incredible hours. Many teams fell behind at the beginning of the race- some fighting their way back onto the podium, or even the win, and some not seeing the tenth lap. Some teams that disappointed the 'Shopper: Autocon Motorsports and RSR Jaguar. Yeesh, fellahs, Autocon is running on a shoe-string budget, so their early departure from the race was understandable. RSR, on the other hand, is directly sponsored by Jaguar, and they didn't even make it to lap 12. . . . Other teams, however, were amazing . . .

Observations: Much like the Steveson Camaros of the Grand-Am series, the Corvette C6.Rs sound as if they are obliterating large animals, violently, underneath their bright yellow hoods. For some reason, every time one of these cars that is powered by a nasty GM small-block whizzes by the term "Potato-Masher" keeps popping into my skull. I know what a "Potato-Masher" is, and I know that a WWII-era grenade has nothing to do with these man-eating Corvettes . . .or the Steveson Camaros, for that matter. All I'm saying is, if I were to put a ".wav" file together that featured the sound of a 5.5 liter Katech V8, I would name the file "Potato-Masher." That's all . . .

The Aston-Martin Lola is a rare and beautiful machine. This may be the one and only time it is seen on our shores, (which comes first, Long Beach or Paul Richard?) and the 'Shopper was lucky enough to witness it. I'm not kidding, the sound this prototype makes is nothing short of ethereal. The Aston V12 is an absolute master-piece, screaming down the Ullman Straight it could be heard from a mile away. There will be an entire post dedicated to this wonderful beast . . .

This diesel stuff has to stop. Now that I have finally seen the nearly-silent Peugeot 908 in person, it is painfully clear that petrol-powered prototypes have no chance whatsoever. Seriously, these cars are unbelievably fast. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see them, as my '98 Legacy is louder at full throttle. Impressive machines, but if there is no Audi to race them, they just come off as bullies. One of the two Peugeots led the entire race. Though their inter-team race was enjoyable, it left something to be desired. They just out-and-out destroyed every other car on the track. One good note on the Lions from France: I have never seen a vehicle explode off of a full-braking corner like these monsters. Really impressive machinery, so much so that they sort of ruin the race. Thankfully there will be Audis in the fight for the rest of the major endurance races. (Petit Le Mans, Le Mans . . . )

Next time: HUGE image gallery and video video video: no music covering up the screams of sports cars either. You can thank me later . . .

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)



Plove | 6:11PM (Wed, Mar 24, 2010)

Great article. I bet you had a great time. I want to hear that vet mang. I bet it sounded awesome live.

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