The 60th annual 12 Hours of Sebring, among the world’s most famous sports car endurance races, will be held in Florida next Saturday and will officially kick off two world series – the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship and the 2012 American Le Mans Series season.
The entry list is a Who’s Who of international sports car racing led by Audi Sport Team Joest running the Audi R18s with Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello driving one, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and a third driver to be announced aboard a second and Andrew Lottere, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassier in the third.
There will be Lolas and Pescarolos and Ferraris and Corvettes and many other famous drivers like David Brabham, Emmanuel Collard, Giancarlo Fisichella and Oliver Gavin.
Canadian content will be supplied by four drivers, in particular. Kyle Marcelli of Barrie returns to the Le Mans Series Prototype Challenge class driving for Merchant Services Racing while Chris Cumming and Michael Valiante of Vancouver and LP Dumoulin of Trois-Rivieres will be driving Porsche 911 GT3s in the GT Challenge division.
Marcelli, one of Canada’s finest young racing drivers, is no stranger to American le Mans Series competition and is looking forward to the 2012 season.
Said Marcelli, in a note to fans sent just before he left for Florida Thursday:
"The 12 Hours of Sebring will surely be the toughest race on the 2012 calendar. Not only is it the longest race of the year for the American Le Mans Series but will also be the busiest as the track will be filled with over 60 of the worlds most exotic sports cars and prototypes. It will be a race of attrition for sure. It will be important we drive fast, keep our noses clean and work well as a team."
The race can be seen on ABC from noon till 2 p.m. next Sunday (yes, that’s an edited, delayed telecast) and live on your computer on Saturday at ALMS.com.
See George’s TV listings on the wheels.ca home page for details and start times for Sebring, NASCAR (below) and the start of the Formula One season next weekend in Australia.
Kasey Kahne, who replaced Mark Martin at Hendrick Motorsports this season, won the pole Friday for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas. Kyle Busch will start outside on the front row. Qualifying results here.
Sprint Cup drivers Paul Menard and Regan Smith and Smith’s wife were in an auto accident earlier this week but weren’t injured. Smith lost control of his truck on ice and crashed into trees near his home in Evergreen, Colo.
Danica Patrick says it was a poor choice of words to suggest she would run for the Nationwide Series championship in her first season. Full story here.
Although many people are suggesting her 21st-place finish at Phoenix last weekend was a poor result, I’m not so sure. I think she wanted to finish a race - something she hadn’t done in three starts in her full-time NASCAR career. She crashed in the Daytona 500 qualifyer, the 500 itself and the Nationwide race at Daytona. For sure, she wanted to bring the car home in one piece at Phoenix.
The proof will be in the pudding this weekend. She finished fourth at Las Vegas last year. If she’s in the mix today, she’ll be okay. Otherwise, it’ll be a long haul for her.