Tag Archives: 12 hours of Sebring

Thank You Scott Lucas and the Pit Crew for the VIP Treatment at Daytona 24, St. Pete GP & Sebring 12

I want to express my gratitude to the men and women I worked with over the past three consecutive Florida races, two of them back-to-back and especially our Chief of Pit & Grid Marshals Scott Lucas. Thank you sir!

What an incredible opportunity this has been. It’s definitely a first in my seven years of marshaling that I found a team that welcomed me as well as these folks. I am so grateful!

Needless to say I would love to be back and work with them again, and I hope they will extend more opportunities to me in the future.

What a great bunch of people to volunteer with!

I can’t say enough good things… except:

Thank you for Daytona 24 hour!

Thank you for St. Pete Grand Prix

And thank you very much for Sebring 12 hour!

See you next time….

65th Running of the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring the Debrief

My third consecutive Florida event comes to a close, rounding up an excellent run with Central Florida Region working as a pit marshal.

A lot to talk about this event, many pictures to share in addition to the individual posts I’ve already made from this event, so bear with me and hopefully I don’t leave any details out.

First things first, I can’t say enough how fantastic it was to work on the Pit Marshal crew. What a rush and a privilege it was to be there. Completely different atmosphere and experience to Turns 13 and 15 that I worked at my past Sebring events.

That said the days were extremely long, with the shortest being just under 12 hours and the longest being something like 15 or 16 hours, it was thoroughly exhausting.

But there was lots to see and I was in the prime location to see it. There was lots of downtime also, and a crew that encouraged me to take breaks which was really nice. Even the club allowed us to take pictures as long as we don’t offer them for sale in the end, so the atmosphere was extremely welcoming and positive.

I couldn’t believe just how close I could be to cars and teams, working closely with the IMSA officials, doing whatever overflow work they threw our way. It was simply awesome.

My position in Pit In. The concern was cars coming out of the paddock and jumping out on pit lane, our job was to make sure we gave them a clear lane, or held them up if another car was coming into pit lane from the track, at speed. There were times when teams brought out cars way early ahead of their practice sessions, which was neat because I could snap a shot or two before we were on duty.

This is the Pit Out post. Compared to Pit In, it was far more relaxing. Less work to do, and a far less crowded spot overall. No spectators to deal with. No speeding cars competing for the same real estate. The Sebring weekend started out super cold, temps were in the upper 30’s in the morning, which was a shocker compared to St. Pete GP the previous week. But luckily I was prepared having left a bag full of clothes in Florida after the freezing times at Daytona 24h and the Roar before the 24.

One of the IMSA guys allowed me to go on the grid some time before the practice session started to get some close-ups o the Mazda RT24-P

At the end of the session, there was significant downtime… and an opportunity for a few shots of cars exiting to the paddock.

Some shots from the Porsche GT3 Cup

Notice the visible design difference between the First generation 991 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car and the Second gen models… The lower grill design was \…./ like this on the 1st gen, and /…..\ like so on the 2nd gen. The running lights and tail lights are also different.

Since our bathrooms for Pit Out were on the end of the paddock, on my break I wondered down to see some of the set ups there.

A lovely Mazda MX-5 RF outside the Mazda Motorsports rigs, unfortunately team Mazda were very stingy this time with their swag. There was no Mazda Owners Lounge at this race, and the few people I asked said that Mazda is taking a different direction now, without going into detail.

Has Mazda pulled back on their previously generous owner appreciation efforts?  No more hats, t-shirts, etc. for those Mazda fans rooting for the Mazda DPi?

It was a bit weird, to say the least… the only Mazda swag I did manage to snag came from the lower Mazda racing series in the Mazda Prototype Challenge running the old IMSA Lites cars and the not-Mazda engined 5 liter V8 LMP3 cars.


Mazda RT24-P performance was sad to watch this event. The #70 car brought out our first caution of the race plowing into the tire wall at Turn 17… but all LMP2 cars struggled including the other DPi cars based on the LMP2 like the #2 and #22 Nissan Nismo Patron cars. The #52 Oreca and even the Multimatic sister car of the Mazda’s, the #90 Visit Florida car spend a lot of time in the garages during the race. They really should consider renaming the series Cadillac Sports Car Championship.

The other disappointing thing came from CFR and their pitiful attempts at food services. Some of it absolutely sucked. I can’t believe I ate ham for three days in a row, same meat masked with different bread each time, but essentially the same thing over and over. The worst was a serving of some mystery soup that hardened by the time it was served. I wanted to give it a chance, but a few spoonfuls later I realized the chemical taste wasn’t going to do my body any good, and like the rest of the people on my team threw it away…. luckily though the Patron VIP Suites nearby were very generous with their leftovers and threw the crew at turn 17 a bone, bringing tray fulls of delicious gourmet food, from steak to fish, to pasta and sausages… we pigged out on the good stuff!


MMmmmmmmmm…….sooo tasty!

Why can’t CFR hire the same catering crew?

Is it the money? Come on, put my hefty $95 annual membership fee to a better use, eh?…

Thank you Patron for your generous scraps! For such long days on track good food sure made it more enjoyable to participate.

And by long days I really mean very long days… from dawn to dusk and beyond, with night practices and eventually the night race.

I was so tired most of the time I crashed as soon as I got to the camp site… luckily again I have my tent that lives in Florida now, with a comfy sleeping bag, an air mattress and an extra comforter so despite the cold I managed to sleep like a baby every night. The next day started the same as it finished, with more beautiful race cars roaring on track.

I had enough downtime to wander down to turn 17 as the grid was popullating for the Conti race.

Oh look… Miata!

Oh look… more delicious food from Patron!

Park Ferme, and the Dekra scruitineering set up near Turn 17.

Friday night dinner with the CFR was a bit low key… not much in a way of swag, but I got a good keepsake, a CFR Race Official hat! And of course some much desired Mazda lanyards.

And so another race in the books… thanks to all that made this one a memorable one for me. I totally appreciate the opportunity!

Post Card from the Sebring 12 Hour Grid for the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Series

One of my favorite things to do at a race event is to browse through the pre-race grid and take some photos (legally since we as marshals are not allowed to otherwise most of the time). It’s a great opportunity to see the cars assembled fully ready to race. It’s also a chance to mingle with the crowds of spectators doing the same thing you are and trying not to get their shadows into your shots (which is almost impossible in a sunny place like Sebring).

But here they are, and it was an exhilarating experience to be a part of. I’m so glad the crowds were huge, and that the weather cooperated fully. It was much warmer on race day, very sunny and very good for some close racing (in GTLM and GTD fields anyway).

The beauty of working in Pit Lane was the close proximity I had to walk to start my shift during the race. Super convenient and truly enjoyable experience once the race started. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and hope there will be more to come in the future.

Old Stuff at Sebring 12h: Conti Challenge Miatas

One thing that hasn’t changed in ages about IMSA is the NC Miatas racing in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge… in fact the cars precede IMSA’s current Continental Tire Challenge altogether since they used to run and kick ass in the Grand Am Conti Tire Series.

As someone that likes new and shiny things I’d complain about something so clearly stale and out of date. But since these cars look exactly the same as my own Miata, I love seeing them race. In fact I’m glad to see the NC Miata’s still racing in such high profile series, probably the best, the top, sports car racing series in America.

Again I was lucky enough to take some shots on my break from working in the pits…

and again on the grid prior to their race:

The cars were a bit off pace from the leaders. The Murillo Miata acted as a Piñata with multiple GS class cars smashing into it from the very beginning of the race onwards. The Freedom Autosport Miata once again acted as a hero and pushed an ST class Cayman over the finish line (much like pushing his teammate at COTA).

Also the #34 Murillo Racing is obviously the restickered #34 of Alara Racing Miata from last season. Funny how cars change hands. And another peculiar thing about this race car, notice the parts car in their paddock space… despite the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge stickers, that is a TCA car from the competing Pirelli World Challenge series…

New Stuff at Sebring 12h: Mazda Prototype Challenge

One of the more exciting additions to the program at Sebring 12h this year was a brand new class: Mazda Prototype Challenge.

And as with many other IMSA race cars, the new series incorporates a little bit of the old with a lot of brand new. Mainly, IMSA took a “Meh!” series that was IMSA Lites and turned it into Mazda Prototype Challenge that features the same 2 liter 4 cyliner IMSA Lites open top L1’s (renamed MPC’s) in the lower class and the brand new Le Mans Prototype LMP3 machines with massive 5 liter V8’s (that are not powered by Mazda… technically Nissan engines, but not branded as such).

I think now it’s going to be an awesome addition to the support classes. I think IMSA did a dry run testing this idea last year running the little IMSA Lites alongside the Prototype Challenge PC cars from the IMSA WeatherTech series, obviously it worked well. It’s my understanding that the LMP3’s will replace PC cars next year.

I was lucky enough to be on break at the end of the MPC practice session to snap a few close ups:

and some more in the paddock:

and a few more before the grid was populated:

What was most impressive was how the little Mazda Lites were able to keep up with the LMP3 leaders. The Ligiers and the sole Norma ran best, while the Ginetta was a back marker. The ugly Riley ran OK but was mid-pack at best.

  • Ligier LMP3
  • Riley LMP3
  • Norma LMP3
  • Ginetta LMP3

I’m excited about this series!

Post Card from the Sebring 12 Hour

Super thankful for the opportunity to work this year’s Sebring 12 hour endurance in Florida because I had such an amazing time.

New experience for me working as a pit marshal… right in pit lane. It was super awesome. I was stationed right next to the Mazda VIP area, close to the Mazda Prototypes setup in the paddock, and just generally close to everything. I was sooo cool!

I’ll be sure to share a bunch of posts about the role as a pit marshal, and the Mazda stuff, but for now just a little preview of it all… as I’m super tired and it will take me a few days to get back to normal.

Stay tuned for more…

Expanding my Wish List This Year to Marshal the St. Pete GP & Sebring 12h

I am seriously considering registering as a marshal to volunteer this year’s St. Petersburg Grand Prix followed immediately by the Sebring 12 hour in Florida. Best events to marshal are those that you can do back-to-back and it doesn’t get better than this schedule in March including a street race in a beautiful Gulf Coast Florida town overlooking Tampa Bay as well as one of the most iconic endurance races in the US that is Sebring 12 hours of IMSA racing.

The last time I marshaled in Florida I had less than great time, especially the time before the last time. This involved getting kicked out of my station during the Daytona 24 hours in January of 2013. But I’m over it now and if they let me come back – that is the CFR – Central Florida Region SCCA club that staffs both of these pro-races including IndyCar at St. Pete and IMSA at Sebring, I’d be happy to return.

I would love to actually drive down for this event and do a little bit of recon work to see if I could make the move to Florida in 2016. I realize waiting and hoping for something to happen will actually never make anything happen, so this would be a good opportunity to take the first step towards this move.

Well, fingers crossed!

IMSA got something right at Sebring 12h

I did not go to Sebring this year. It is one of the many “must-do” events I decided to cut from my volunteering schedule. And judging by some comments on facebook about full course yellows resulting from a tire debris, I don’t think I regret the decision either. But seeing Jim Swintal post this on the SCCA marshals page made me smile:

sebring 12h imsa participant pin tusc
source: Jim Swintal

Finally they got something right, the worker swag!

I know what you’re thinking… it’s just a pin, who cares? I think people care. I was once told that motorsport volunteering is not about trinkets, getting freebies or more importantly expecting something. (*we are apparently required to show up, shut up and do a job, not expecting anything in return… I think it’s flawed thinking! the motivational power of swag, even though I have boxes full of t-shirts and hats as many others do, is strong. Receiving a small token of appreciation from the organizers makes you feel appreciated, and therefore makes you want to come back time and again).

I would not be surprised with the power this little thing has over someone’s decision whether to do an event or not. I want one, and I could totally see myself spending a few hundred dollars in air travel, car rental and accommodation costs to work a race where I’d get a pin to add to my collection. And I don’t even like pins, I’d personally prefer a patch. But this pin would do. Could I buy it on eBay? Of course I could, and probably spend far less money than trying to earn it after booking flights, rental cars and hotels, not to mention a few long days of being trackside. But where’s the fun in that? And shame on those that would sell their participant pins to make money! (obviously they’re probably the ones with sticky fingers, taking more pins than what they were entitled to at the morning meeting).

I like the number plate idea, as it is used a lot more than the Tudor United SportsCar Championship logo, because IMSA integrates more series now than just TUSC. It might have made sense in the past to make an ALMS pin or patch when that was all that IMSA sanctioned (besides ALMS Lights/Lites?) but now with CTSCC – Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Ferrari Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup, Lamborghini Super Trofeo… and others I’m glad the number plate design is used. And it’s use is very clever, like the corner book covers for each event. How brilliant?!?

imsa sebring 12h

Anyway, congrats to all those Sebring 12h participants that got their hands on this nice little pin. Hopefully IMSA will have some patches made up later on in the season so I could add both to my collection!

Rolex 24hr at Daytona application

The application for the 24 hours at Daytona, 12 hours at Sebring and St. Pete Grand Prix has now been open on the Central Florida Region SCCA web site: http://www.cfrscca.org/?page_id=1766

I have applied for the 24 hours of Daytona, the Sebring and St. Petersuburg races, as interesting as they are with American Le Mans Series, Indycars and World Challenge, the dates clash with Formula 1 in Australia and Malaysia on those same weekends in March. Looks like Grand Am is the only one I’ll be able to swing this year. Though I’ve heard rave reviews about Sebring! Wish it was on another weekend 🙁

Some of the interesting terms and conditions as well as prerequisites include:

1 PURPOSE: As all of the Event Organizers have continued to reduce the number of credentials provided to the club for staffing purposes, the CFR staffing team has a limited number of positions to fill. Due to the diminishing number of credentials available, turn assignments will be based on qualifications, experience, ability, attitude, dependability, and willingness to do what is necessary to make the event safe and successful. These workers must be willing to work during their assigned shifts EVERY day of the event as well as performing the duties assigned to them. Workers will be required to attend ALL flag meetings and MUST comply with the organizers’ supplemental regulations.
2 EVENT SPECIFIC: To help F & C assignments for the each pro event, all potential F&C personnel MUST complete and return the Central Florida Region Pro Race Worker Application form. This form is event specific therefore a new form MUST be completed for each Pro event that CFR is charged with staffing.  Events included are (1) Rolex 24 at Daytona (January 24-27. 2013), (2) Sebring 12 Hours (March 12-16, 2013), and (3) St Pete Grand Prix (March 21-24, 2012).
3 THIS APPLICATION IS FOR INDIVIDUALS ONLY — ALL MEMBERS OF A GROUP MUST SUBMIT AN APPLICATION INDIVIDUALLY FOR CONSIDERATION.  To eliminate delays in the processing of applications, ALL questions must be completed. Application acceptance may be delayed if pertinent information has to be requested.
4 NATIONAL/DIVISIONAL LICENSE HOLDERS: National and Divisional F&C license holders or other equivalent license holders (based on organization) in good standing with their own regions/organizations and in good standing with the CFR F&C Specialty team, will be given first consideration.
5 REGIONAL LICENSE HOLDERS: Regional F&C license holders or other equivalent license holders (based on organization) may be considered with the approval of the applicants home region/organization F&C Specialty Chief.
6 REVIEW PROCESS: Your application will be reviewed by the CFR Staffing Team. You will receive written notification of your status from the Event Flag Chief. Please be sure to add CFRProrace@gmail.com to your allowed senders to ensure receipt of any and all emails regarding the application process.
7 PRIORITY: The first priority will be to properly staff ALL turns. Therefore, it is important to be aware that we cannot and will not be able to honor all turn requests. Turn assignments will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis. Once a turn is determined sufficiently staffed, the next critical turn will be addressed. Due to the limited number of credentials, we are no longer able to justify overstaffing one turn while understaffing others. Assignments may be changed throughout the event based on the circumstances and needs of the specific event.
8 REGISTRATION: ALL workers must present current membership and license in order to receive event credentials. DUE TO LIABILITY ISSUES, THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS.
9 ABUSE OF CREDENTIALS: Credentials are for working personnel only. For example, if you have committed to working all days of the event, then fail to report for any of the assigned shifts without the notifying the CFR Flag Chief, your credentials may be revoked for the remainder of the event and may include possible exclusion from future Pro Events that CFR is charged to staff.
10 WAITING LISTS: Applicants not selected in the initial assignment process will be placed on a waiting list. If a position becomes available due to a cancellation, the next applicant will be notified in writing by the Event Flag Chief
11 GENERAL SCHEDULING/FOOD SERVICE CONCERNS: For the 24 Hour event, each station is divided into 3 teams. Each team will work 4 hours on/8 hours off. The actual shift assignments will be made by the Corner Captain. Thursday and Friday schedules will also be determined by the Corner Captains.
12 DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION SUBMISSION: Friday, January 4, 2013, 6:00 PM EST is the deadline for the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Friday, February 22, 2013, 6pm EST is the deadline for the 2013 Sebring 12 Hours.  Friday, March 1, 2013, 6pm EST is the deadline for the 2013 St Pete Grand Prix.
13 DEADLINE FOR CONFIRMED PARTICIPATION: For the Rolex 24 at Daytona the deadline is Friday, January 11, 2013, 6:00 PM EST.  For the 2013 Sebring 12 Hours it is Friday, March 1, 2013, 6pm EST.  For the 2013 St Pete Grand Prix it is Friday, March 8, 2013, 6pm EST.  The applicant MUST CONFIRM participation by the cut off date. Failure to do so will result in loss of their position on the roster. The Event Flag Chief will the assign the next available worker on the waiting list. ”
If you have read and understand the above rules and policies, click ACCEPT (below) to continue to the application process.