McNish Appreciates Sebring’s Toughness

Audi driver Allan McNish greatly respects the tradition of Sebring, as he explained on "The track is historic in every sense of the word. I have in my hand a DVD of the movie Speed Merchants from 1972, and it has Vic Elford and Mario Andretti racing throughout that season. If you look at Sebring from that video in 1972, you'd be hard-pressed to find any real differences on the track itself in 2011. And that's one of the great features about the track; I'm not complaining whatsoever. It's a compliment, actually."

"As it gets older, it gets bumpier and more worn, and I must say, those are the things that give it character and personality. I'd say Sebring gets grumpier each year like an old man; it doesn't like to be driven over as much as it did in its youth. Because of the bumps, you spend more time in the air at Sebring than at any other track, but again, there's nothing like it anywhere else in the world. That's one of the points I like about it. It's not like some of the tracks today that are perfectly manicured or don't present a serious challenge to the drivers. Sebring doesn't adapt to us, we have to adapt to it."

A three-time winner of America's greatest sports car race, he describes Sebring's daunting turn 17 as one of the toughest: "What a way to end a lap! You think you've done a good lap up until that point, then you've got this monster of a corner to negotiate. You flick into the right hander at about 290 km per hour, then you brake hard, down to about third gear.

You are trying to make your apex underneath the bridge but there's a bump to the left and one to the right. If you are absolutely spot-on, you miss everything, but your chances of doing that are about one in a thousand (I sometimes think it is easier to win the lottery than to get the line right though turn 17). On exit of 17 you get hard on the throttle, and then there's another bump. When the tires are old or not up to pressure, you have to be very careful because it can easily spit you off to the bad area on the left."

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