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1500 Miles of Sebring Confirmed

1500 Miles of Sebring confirmed; FIA ratifies 2018/19 WEC schedule…

Photo: John Dagys

The FIA World Endurance Championship’s return race to Sebring International Raceway in 2019 will be known as the “1500 Miles of Sebring”, with the FIA having confirmed the 2018/19 ‘Super Season’ schedule, along with other changes to the globe-trotting series for next season.

Confirmation came during Thursday’s FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris.

The Florida airfield circuit will play host to the sixth round of the season on March 17, with a planned midnight start, two hours after the conclusion of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event.

In an effort to differentiate it from the 12-hour classic, the WEC race will be contested over miles, although likely remaining around the same length.

Tom Kristensen, Dindo Capello and Allan McNish hold the all-time distance record for the 12-hour, having completed 1,416 miles in their winning Audi R15 TDI in 2009.

Recent years have seen the races slowed by numerous safety car periods.

Single LMP1 Class Confirmed

The FIA, meanwhile, bas also ratified the ACO’s previously announced plans to combine LMP1 hybrid and non-hybrid prototypes into a single category.

It will be achieved by adjusting fuel flow and consumption for LMP1 non-hybrids, with a fuel advantage of one lap at Le Mans set to be given to hybrid-powered cars.

Additionally, an Equivalence of Technology, will be established between turbocharged and normally aspirated non-hybrids, with a ban on aero-related developments pertaining to fluidic switches and energy set to go into effect from 2019.

2018/19 WEC Schedule:
May 5 — Spa-Francorchamps
June 16-17 — 24 Hours of Le Mans
Aug. 19 — Silverstone
Oct. 21 — Fuji Speedway
Nov. 18 — Shanghai
March 17 – 1500 Miles of Sebring
May 4 – Spa-Francorchamps
June 15-16 – 24 Hours of Le Mans

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. pdxracefan

    September 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Recent years have also had races run under a different series mindset; one where any incident justifies a safety car and bunching the cars together for a restart, which is supposed to enhance the ‘Fan Experience’. Which most folks know does just the opposite.

    • Chips O'Toole

      September 21, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Yes, the yellow flag procedures have gotten ridiculous.

  2. dave henrie

    September 21, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    I remember the fun days before the IRL ruined open wheel racing in America. I remember drivers who would race the Indy 500 and hop in a Helicopter, then a Private Jet, & another Helicopter and reach Charlotte in time for the Coca Cola 600. Only a few iron men attempted this but it certainly added spice to each race. The practice ended when the IRL founder{whose name I shall not type} moved back the starting time for the Indy 500 so that it would not be possible to finish the 500 and still reach Charlotte for the 600.

    Why am I telling you this?

    Because wouldn’t it be amazing to see a team race an LMP2 Gibson at the first event and then turn around, wash off the grime and start the 2nd 12hr race?

    • Double Duty

      September 21, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      What are you talking about?

      Prior to the IRL there there were exactly 2 attempts at the “double”
      1971 – Donnie Allison (different days for the two race)
      1994 – John Andretti (a true single day 1100 mile double)

      Post IRL
      1997 – Robby Gordon tried but rain at Indy postponed that race.
      1999 – Tony Stewart ran both events
      2000 – Robby Gordon again, but rain again at Indy threw a wrench in the works and he missed the start in Charlotte.
      2001 – Tony Stewart completes all 1100 miles at both events.
      2002 – Robby Gordon finishes one lap down at Charlotte falling one lap short of finishing all 1100 miles
      2003 – Robby Gordon again
      2004 – Robby Gordon tried again, but rain messed with Indy so Jaques Lazier finished that race for him while he went on to Charlotte.
      2014 – Kurt Busch ran both, winning rookie of the year at Indy, but falling out early in Charlotte

      So that’s 2 (does Donnie Allison count, different days?) prior to your hated TG, to 8 post TG/IRL. Who ruined what now?

    • Helmut

      September 22, 2017 at 7:42 am

      They were using a different car though for the second race as far as I understand (sorry, not into Indy racing). It might be possible for IMSA / WEC drivers to switch cars / teams, but it’s highly unlikely that a WEC team enters its car and their drivers in the IMSA race as an additional entry, possibly wreck their car, and then can’t gain points for the WEC race. The other way round it might make more sense, some IMSA teams additionally competing in the WEC race for fun, but it would still be unlikely that they use the same car.

      • Andrew

        September 22, 2017 at 8:04 am

        I doubt either IMSA or WEC teams would run the same cars. The BOP, tires, setups are all different. Corvette running a third car to test on WEC/LM Michelins with a mix of drivers I could see and expect it. Rebellion running an IMSA P2 and WEC P1/2, I would be surprised actually to not see that. DC Racing, again surprised if I didn’t see them. Some GTE-Am teams running two programs for Am drivers to have some fun in each possibly.

  3. Steve Norton

    September 21, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Man, we need some time to sleep! Start the next race @ 6 or 7 am or something. Corner workers need to sleep. Track clean up will take much longer than 2 hrs! Let’s use some common sense here

    • drunkenwildmage

      September 21, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      I would think they would work the track support personal like they would work them in a 24 hour race and so it I would think it shouldn’t be a problem.

  4. Juninho

    September 21, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    WEC/MEC 12 Hours of Sebring

    LMP1 (Michelin)
    LMP2 (Dunlop)
    GTE-Pro (Michelin/Dunlop)
    GTE-Am (Michelin/Dunlop)

    • Louis

      September 21, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      Woo glad that got settled. I was starting to stress out!

    • thomas

      September 21, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      What the hell is MEC?

      • Kappa

        September 21, 2017 at 3:37 pm

        Murican endurance championships

        • James

          September 22, 2017 at 8:03 am


      • Pierce

        September 21, 2017 at 11:12 pm

        Michelin Endurance Cup

        • thomas

          September 23, 2017 at 6:23 pm

          even then it makes no sense because his classes are not the IMSA ones

  5. Louis

    September 21, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Starting at midnight is a big mistake

    • tracer

      September 21, 2017 at 5:49 pm


    • Steven

      September 22, 2017 at 7:09 pm

      The 12 Hours of Bathurst does the same thing and it works fine for them.

      • Wayne Kerr

        September 22, 2017 at 8:06 pm

        12 Hours of Bathurst starts at 5am local time, during their summer months.

        Pretty big difference.

  6. Johannes275

    September 21, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Can’t you just start it at precisely the same time on Sunday after the 12h race? It’s better for the fans, and it won’t keep them from leaving.

  7. dave henrie

    September 21, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Not better for teams and fans that travel and have to be back at work on Monday Morning. This way they can view 24hrs of racing and still catch a flight home. I have been to only 1 24hr race at Daytona and I had to leave at about 9am on Sunday to make the flight connections back home to the Pacific NW. {got to meet a young John Dagys there}

    • Suggestion

      September 21, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      Use a vacation day on Monday.

      • Helmut

        September 22, 2017 at 7:43 am


  8. Robert

    September 21, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Personally..I love the WEC & I’m really excited there returning to Sebring..BUT..The idea of them running from midnight to 12 noon on Sunday …well I’m not for it..first of all people are beat & then the thought of watching a new race in the dark & Sebring is quite dark …it’s not Daytona ..I feel most will sleep during the 1500 miles race or head home..why don’t they run a 6 hr race like they do now & run it from 3 to 9..

  9. Robert

    September 21, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    On Friday afternoon

  10. Degner

    September 21, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    This one of the stupidest ideas I’ve heard. Another 12 Hour race after the Sebring 12 Hours?

    That’s a logistical nightmare, won’t attract more fans and most relevantly, why would the WEC not run with IMSA in the Mobil 1 12 Hours?

    I’ll tell you why. The ACO thinks the WEC is superior. That’s a load of BS. It isn’t. And the WEC doesn’t want that graphically illustrated by WEC teams having to face IMSA teams at Sebring.

    Tell the WEC to race w/IMSA in the 12 Hours or schedule their own race at Sebring on another date. This will be a spectacular yawn and failure for the WEC.

  11. Alianora La Canta

    September 21, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    WEC’s tried both of those, and neither works for it.

    In 2012, WEC tried being in the same race as ALMS (former IMSA) at Sebring. While the racing was very exciting (we’ll ignore the last lap of GTE-Pro), it was an administrative disaster, culminating in taking nearly an hour to do a mere 9 podium ceremonies. Further simultaneous races were impossible.

    Then WEC decided to do its own thing. However, it found audiences in the USA were too low for its sort of racing to be able to host a race independently of other series.

    Hence why WEC and IMSA are now teaming up to do a weekend involving separate races (much as happened between ALMS and WEC in 2013).

    • Degner

      September 21, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      No, actually, what the WEC tried was having a WEC race within the 12 Hours of Sebring with distinctions between the WEC classes and the IMSA classes. That was another idiotic concept driven by the ACO’s conceit and always destined to fail. That’s why there were 9 podium ceremonies.

      WEC teams should be welcome. Come over and race the 12 Hours of Sebring – IMSA’s race – and play by IMSA’s rules, just as any IMSA team that has raced in WEC has been required to do. Compete straight up – no separation between the two. You’re all on track together, you all race for the same prize in each category – NOT separate trophies.

      No face saving for the WEC or IMSA. May the best teams and drivers win. Tht’s what would make sense and excite fans.

      • Johannes275

        September 22, 2017 at 8:30 am

        That is way harder than you make it sound Degner.

  12. Davy

    September 21, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    So 8 events over two years. All so the worst and smallest class in the field can continue to exist. Better yet, it will be contested between useless paydrivers in “ginettas” and “bykolles” after Toyota take their ball and go home.

    Any chance the GTLM teams can break away and stage their own GT championship?

    • Helmut

      September 22, 2017 at 7:46 am

      There aren’t enough GTE / GTLM teams / cars that have the money to compete world wide, and accordingly, there wouldn’t be sufficient entries for their own world championship.

      • Andrew

        September 22, 2017 at 8:18 am

        Exactly that. Internationally, excluding LM, you have Ford and Porsche with BMW to commit next year. Corvette doesn’t, I understand why but outside of LM and US events they don’t really care. Ford is likely done after 2019 so ignore their desires for series layout along with Corvette. Ferrari doesn’t really have a factory team, they support teams and loan out factory drivers but a factory team seems beyond their concern. So you’re left with Porsche and BMW. Neither of them seem likely to put their money up for another series and miss out on LM. Even if Vette went worldwide, missing LM is a non-stater for them as well.

    • TF110

      September 29, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      ByKolles didn’t have pay drivers. You forgot about the SMP Dallara (1 or 2 lmp1’s) btw. That’s possibly 4 or 5 lmp1’s in addition to Toyota. They’ll get more fuel flow which = more hp and a bigger tank which = stint length. What championship would they breakaway to form when the 24hr of LeMans is part of the wec and the most prized sportscar racing event? lol It seems you didn’t think that post through!

  13. HB

    September 25, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    Why don’t they just let the WEC die? Global sports car series are much like an endless waltz. The three beats of overspecialized regulations, over spending, and death of the series continue on forever.

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