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Old 31 Jan 2022, 14:03 (Ref:4096831)   #1
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What future for Sebring after 2023 or 2024?

With (almost) full convergence of technical regulations on the horizon, I am wondering if it will make sense to run two separate races for IMSA and WEC at Sebring going forward.

On the one hand, I think we would all welcome a situation in which we have all the top prototype teams from Europe and the US in the (proper) 12h race. On the other hand, we all remember the mess that was Sebring 2012 so the practical execution might be a bit of a problem. Additionally, with current full season numbers being what they are, it is probably impossible to run the full fields of both series with the same cars.

Still I think that having a full prototype field would be very much desirable, not the least because it would restore the Sebring 12h as a proper dress rehearsal for the Le Mans 24h.

What this probably means is that creative solutions need to be found.

Here are some ideas that have come to my mind, but that might not be without their own problems:
- Give the 12h to WEC and take it off the IMSA schedule. IMSA teams could still run, but it would considerably shorten the calender in terms of racing hours and/or free up budget to race in additional markets.
- Have separate races on Friday and Saturday for prototypes and GTs, though this might not be popular with the GT teams.
- Drop Sebring from the WEC schedule in favor of another race elsewhere (COTA?)

What do you guys think? Is there a way to get all the best prototype teams into the same race again once they run to the same technical regulations?
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 14:15 (Ref:4096836)   #2
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i like your idea on two separates races !
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 14:23 (Ref:4096838)   #3
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Unless the WEC drops it from their schedule, there will be two separate races. NO chance at all IMSA will give up their race to the WEC. It's going to either send them their separate ways with a US race for WEC outside of Sebring or continued combined event and WEC entrants not likely in the 12Hour
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 14:38 (Ref:4096841)   #4
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IMSA already runs split class events - some for GT's only, so I think the idea of separate GT and Proto races is valid. But this could only work if the WEC GT class has the same regulations as the IMSA class.

I'm not sure how teams would feel about it. If there were separate races we would have separate race winners, and how is that scored then on the official record? Who would get put on the pit wall signage as the winner?
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 14:44 (Ref:4096843)   #5
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Personally id have a GT Race and a Prototype Race.

No need for WEC and IMSA to run the same rules in GT, it would just be a 2 class GTE/ GT3(D) race, no different to LMP1 and LMP2

Quite how that looks in terms of event timings i dont know because of the prestige that GT teams wanting to win the sebring 12 hours.
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 15:15 (Ref:4096852)   #6
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The whole reason of this convergence is to have "IMSA" cars running at LeMans and "WEC/LM24" cars running at Daytona, Sebring, Petit, etc.

If it works as well as planned, sadly I would have to say LMP3 and possibly even LMp2 get kicked out of the big shows and have their own races.

I do not desire a seperate GT and Proto race. Being mixed together is WHAT makes our racing so special IMHO.
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 15:19 (Ref:4096856)   #7
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The whole reason of this convergence is to have "IMSA" cars running at LeMans and "WEC/LM24" cars running at Daytona, Sebring, Petit, etc.

If it works as well as planned, sadly I would have to say LMP3 and possibly even LMp2 get kicked out of the big shows and have their own races.

I do not desire a seperate GT and Proto race. Being mixed together is WHAT makes our racing so special IMHO.
Very true, i prefer mixed classes too, im just trying to think how a split would work best.

Youre right though, a factory Proto/ GT race and an LMP2/3 race would probably be the best solution.
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 15:22 (Ref:4096858)   #8
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Youre right though, a factory Proto/ GT race and an LMP2/3 race would probably be the best solution.
Hard sell for the LMP2/3 teams, though.
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 15:29 (Ref:4096861)   #9
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Hard sell for the LMP2/3 teams, though.
Sadly, agreed.
Not sure what the proper answer is.
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 15:33 (Ref:4096862)   #10
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I have been following sportscar racing since ~'98. I am currently 44.

Been going to Petit LeMans since 2003 (havent missed since starting).

Some of my fondest memories were seeing cars there I couldnt see elsewhere:
-Prodrive 550s
-Zyteks
-Horag Lista Lola
-Rebellions
-Peugeots
-Astons
-etc.

This convergence brings that "twinkle" back! How you make it all work.....well thats another story (especially considering an already strong IMSA grid)
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 16:06 (Ref:4096869)   #11
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How about inviting only the WEC-Hypercars (LMH and LMDh) to the IMSA race as an additional points paying WEC round for them and then have a full-grid WEC-race at another track in the US a bit later? Bring back the Spring GP at Road Atlanta as a WEC race, maybe? Could that be done in early/mid-April or is the weather in Georgia still too bad around that time?
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 16:48 (Ref:4096879)   #12
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How about inviting only the WEC-Hypercars (LMH and LMDh) to the IMSA race as an additional points paying WEC round for them and then have a full-grid WEC-race at another track in the US a bit later? Bring back the Spring GP at Road Atlanta as a WEC race, maybe? Could that be done in early/mid-April or is the weather in Georgia still too bad around that time?
That is an interesting wrinkle, add the 10-12 top class cars from WEC (which should be on same speed as IMSA top class) and there would be no decisions to make on who the winner is from a split race scenario.

I wonder if the IMSA teams would like the challenge of more competition, or be against the idea of making a win harder for themselves? Or in the future when Ganassi and Penske are running duel WEC/IMSA programs, will they have the staff necessary to make that work?
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 17:09 (Ref:4096881)   #13
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I wonder if we could eventually see some sort of FIA/IMSA version of the Intercontinental GT Challenge?

Essentially grouping the biggest enduros under one sub-championship, so teams can concentrate on their selected series and add a couple of additional events for an extra title. Or just put a customer programme together for four massive races. You'd just have to mandate that teams can't bin off full season IMSA or WEC however.

The only other issue is the geographical disparity with the US having three tailor made races and only one in Europe. Perhaps you'd have to make or upscale an event, whether it's at Spa, Bahrain, Silverstone - wherever.
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 17:34 (Ref:4096886)   #14
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Personally id have a GT Race and a Prototype Race.

I will do the same, a 12 Hours race with Prototype and a 12 Hours Race with the GT.
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 17:53 (Ref:4096887)   #15
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Hard sell for the LMP2/3 teams, though.
Yes and no….with a separate race they will get more TV time and be the focus of that race
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 18:43 (Ref:4096891)   #16
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Yes and no….with a separate race they will get more TV time and be the focus of that race
They won't get any TV time, that will be a Peacock only event and still a hard sell. But many of them are counting at the track hospitality far more than eyes on cars, look at the sponsors. They're mostly B2B with the few exceptions being something in the business on the sidepods. Many of the LMP3 drivers like being in the big show, otherwise they would stay Prototype Challenge drivers
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 18:44 (Ref:4096892)   #17
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Yes and no….with a separate race they will get more TV time and be the focus of that race
I really don't think so. Even assuming that a TV partner would be interested in that race, it really wouldn't be any more prestigous than any other support race to the 12H.
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Old 31 Jan 2022, 22:42 (Ref:4096918)   #18
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So would this sort of combined IMSA/WEC events/series be akin to the LeMans series of the late 90's- early 00's?

IIRC there were American and European series but both series entries were eligible for points or was it just one WEC type championship? There was Daytona, Sebring, Monza, Nurburgring, Le Mans, Silverstone Petit LM etc?
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Old 1 Feb 2022, 00:40 (Ref:4096922)   #19
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That's completely the point. Sebring would pose an extreme situation with a 1000k race Friday night and the the 12 hour running 12 hours later. The ALMS and ELMS ran separate points but you could enter the same cars in both series and LM.

Corvette is foreshadowing that challenge this year, they are running one GTE-Pro car in the WEC event and one GTD Pro in IMSA. They will not be adding an additional car for either event. Would anyone running WEC or IMSA full-time sacrifice a car this early in the season to run in the other series? I could see post-LM and a car far out of contention coming over for Petit honors but opening race? Tough sell for me there. You would have to have a 3rd crew to run both WEC and IMSA at Sebring as currently scheduled. Or IMSA/WEC would have to open the ranks up for Hypercar/GTP battle and the remaining WEC LMP2/GTEs run their Friday event.
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Old 3 Feb 2022, 15:37 (Ref:4097255)   #20
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I have asked for split Protoytype and GT races for years, but at Petit Le Mans. Now that Sebring has two races with good crowds, it could be done here too.


IMSA didn't consider it because the LMP1 would easily defeat the DPi. Now that the Hypercars and LMDh will be equalized, it's perfect.
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Old 3 Feb 2022, 19:07 (Ref:4097276)   #21
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Why though? In order to make a split event for more cars we should eliminate the classes of a series?? If you want to race IMSA and be in the 12 Hours, build another car and run the 12 hours. The answer is not decide that IMSA can't have their event

You spilt the events at Petit and you WILL end the event, I don't want to watch a split race for no reason at all. There's no need for it, enter the other series if you want to run their events. Otherwise, well go back to your series and make your event in to something
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Old 3 Feb 2022, 19:50 (Ref:4097286)   #22
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surely - and i’m going a bit existential here - when you seperate gt from prototype you’re not actually holding a proper sportscar race any more. you’re holding a sro gt race and a really boring 12 hour sprint race. why would you even want that?
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Old 3 Feb 2022, 22:03 (Ref:4097298)   #23
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surely - and i’m going a bit existential here - when you seperate gt from prototype you’re not actually holding a proper sportscar race any more. you’re holding a sro gt race and a really boring 12 hour sprint race. why would you even want that?
Because then you wouldn't have a wave around procedure to worry about.
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Old 3 Feb 2022, 22:15 (Ref:4097302)   #24
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Personally I think the current setup is great.

I like the idea of an all-prototype race in principle, but there are already lots of 6/8/12/24hr races for GT cars so creating another one doesn’t appeal, even if it was to enable IMSA & WEC to combine their prototype fields.

I’d be reluctant even to move the WEC race earlier on Friday. That might make it easier for teams/drivers to do both, but the into-the-darkness format is unique.

Nice problem to have though!
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Old 3 Feb 2022, 23:39 (Ref:4097308)   #25
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Because then you wouldn't have a wave around procedure to worry about.
Ugh. You can't even get excited about the wave around procedure anymore if they do a split race.

Idk what's to come of Sebring. Has wec said they want to return after 2022 or more just generic "we love every event and racing in the usa is heritage blah blah blah"

I think the real reason split races for a marquee event won't pan out is any reduction in class size puts us right back to combined event. Then it starts to look like a shark jumping contest where one group jumps fresh water fish tank sharks and the other jumps over nurse sharks.
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