SPEED readies 12 Hours of Sebring coverage Among the pantheon of the world’s most prestigious auto racing events, the 12 Hours of Sebring resides as one of its sturdiest pillars. This year’s edition, the 57th annual, should be another golden brick in that illustrative building, as a very attractive field of racers and manufacturers will open the 2009 American Le Mans Series season on SPEED with more than 10 hours of live coverage beginning at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 21.
SPEED will once again preview the new season with a live pre-race show on Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m. ET, followed by Project LMP1: Acura’s Next Challenge at 8 p.m., ET, an hour-long presentation chronicling the car manufacturers’ run-up to its Sebring debut in the LMP1 category.
Along with Acura, many premiere entries will be competing at Sebring this year; including BMW’s factory re-entry through Rahal-Letterman Racing and two brand new GT2 category BMW M3 racers, Audi’s new diesel-powered R15 LMP1 mount and Mazda’s innovative closed-top LMP2 machine.
“With Audi, Peugeot and Acura all bringing their latest LMP1 racers, this should be a phenomenal Sebring,” said Rick Miner, SPEED SVP of Studio Production & Operations. “The GT class always produces some of the closest sports car racing you will see. And as always, the largest contingent of international competition within any single United States motor sports event will make the field very competitive.”
Long-time sports car expert Leigh Diffey will once again lead the broadcast team with former Sebring competitors Calvin Fish and Dorsey Schroeder providing color commentary. On pit road and in the paddock, Chris Neville, Brian Till and Justin Bell will be offering all the latest news and information.
"Look for this year's 12 Hours of Sebring to be the most exciting and hard fought Le Mans-style race of the year,” said Marshall Pruett, SPEEDtv.com auto racing editor and long-time sports car racing expert. “It boasts the only appearance of the top three LMP1 manufacturers in the world - Audi, Acura, and Peugeot. Not even the 24 Hours of Le Mans can claim that.
“With a stacked LMP1 field, a new challenge from Dyson Racing's Mazda Coupes in LMP2, one of the final appearances of the thundering Corvettes in GT1, and a fearsome GT2 battle between Porsche, Ferrari, Panoz, Ford, Chevrolet and the returning BMW factory effort, the depth of the event is beyond measure,” Pruett added.
In addition, SPEEDtv.com is putting together its broad level of coverage and interactivity, highlighted by an online charity auction benefiting the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF; www.specialforces.org) through a selection of ALMS items including signed driving gear, signed body panels, books, print, posters, etc… All profit from the auction will be donated to the spouses and children of fallen US Specials forces soldiers.
SPEEDtv.com will also offer original content, including a live Sebring qualifying stream on Thursday, March 19 and a return of the popular Acura SPEED On Board pass, where three camera angles will provide fans a live two-screen experience for the race. Additional content will add two Web video features spotlighting the brand new Acura ARX-02A LMP1 racer and the yet-to-be unveiled Audi R15 TDi entry. Additional content will include narrated in-car video from multiple teams and drivers, live online chats, technical backgrounders and new feature installments from the historic annals of the IMSA Grand Touring Prototype era.
"SPEEDtv.com is going all-out once again with or Sebring coverage,” Pruett said. “We'll have a team at the track for the entire week, and have car, team, technical and historical features ready for our readers. Add in some exclusive web videos, photo galleries, Live Online Chats, and even a charity auction that all of the teams are helping with and this is set to be another memorable 12 Hour event for SPEEDtv.com."
Twelve Hours of Sebring Television Coverage
Thursday, March 19
|Twelve Hours of Sebring/ALMS Preview
||7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
|Project LMP1: Acura’s Next Challenge
||8 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday, March 20
|Truth in 24
||8 pm - 10 pm
Saturday, March 21
|Twelve Hours of Sebring (The Start)
||10 a.m. - Noon
|Twelve Hours of Sebring
||2 pm. – 11 p.m.