IMSA history was made one year ago this weekend at Sebring International Raceway when Dave House wheeled his No. 86 Elan DP02 to the IMSA Prototype Challenge MPC class victory at 75 years young to become what is believed to be IMSA’s oldest race winner.
It was his first career win and came at one of North America’s most prestigious – and physically demanding – road courses.
So what is House looking to do for an encore? Win at the age of 76, of course.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” House said of returning to Sebring. “I was 75 last year when I won.
“This year I’ll be 76 when I win, assuming I can win of course. But there’s a whole new field, a whole new car, a much heavier car, a lot more horsepower, power steering, so it’s not as hard to drive.”
As IPC shifts to a single-class LMP3 platform for 2019, House is one of many drivers moving up from the MPC class.
Ironically, the driver he beat for the win one year ago, Paul LaHaye, will be his co-driver this year in the No. 86 ONE Motorsports Ligier JS P3.
“The MPC car is much lighter, it has less horsepower,” he added. “This has a lot more torque and weighs a lot more. This has got power steering as opposed to very stiff, manual steering on the other car. So, this is less work.
“Maybe a year older this will be an easier car to drive and it’ll help me. This is my first time driving in a closed car, racing in a closed car, first time racing a V8, so it’s a really big change for me. It’s taking a little bit of time to get used to, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
In the season opener at Daytona in January, House finished 16th. He noted that while more seat time is certainly a help, the differences between the high banks of Daytona and the notorious bumps of Sebring will be a challenge.
“(Daytona) is much simpler,” he said. “A big banking, straightaways. Sebring has got all kinds of turns and of course, those awful bumps that beat the daylights out of you. Hopefully with this heavier car, it’ll be a little more comfortable going over those bumps at Sebring.”
The one hour, 45-minute IMSA Prototype Challenge race will go green at 12:35 p.m. ET on Thursday and will be streamed live on IMSA.tv.
All IPC races will be shown on NBCSN throughout the season with the Sebring broadcast on Thursday, March 28 at 2 p.m. ET.