Launched in 1999 by entrepreneur and motorsport enthusiast Don Panoz, ALMS represents North America’s premier endurance category. Sharing its technical regulations with the Le Mans 24 Hours through a partnership with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, its season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring stands out as the most prestigious event on the calendar. This year the race also plays host to the World Endurance Championship, which begins its new era alongside ALMS at the Florida venue. It marks a fitting return for the revived series, with Sebring’s second running in 1953 having hosted the inaugural world championship sportscar race.
This year’s event, which runs on March 17, sees the 12 Hours celebrate its 60th anniversary, further adding to the prestige of securing victory. But claiming top spot won’t be easy: drivers must take on a 5.95 km, 17-turn circuit that winds across a former airfield, its surface formed of irregular concrete and tarmac sections that provide a stiff challenge for cars and competitors alike.
Following Peugeot’s withdrawal from endurance competition Audi are strong favorites to dominate this year – but Sebring is never short on surprises. This was certainly the case 12 months ago, when privateer outfit ORECA triumphed with a factory supported Peugeot 908, defeating the big guns to take an unlikely triumph.
ALMS – Round One, 12 Hours of Sebring: Saturday 17 March, live from 2.15pm.