An undiscovered gem for motorsports and car enthusiasts is sandwiched between the February NASCAR Daytona 500 and the March IMSA 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race. Sebring International Raceway hosts the little-publicized Spring Vintage Classic races by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), paired with the opening of the Trans-Am racing series.
Sebring International Raceway is best known for the famous international endurance race, The 12 Hours of Sebring, which is the U.S. counterpart to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Expect huge crowds during that well publicized event, but other events offer plenty of legroom. At the spring SVRA event, $35 buys four days of racing; pit access; a car show; fireworks; plus free, dry camping. Pitch a tent or park an RV or rented minivan right next to the track, or under the shade of nearby oak trees draped with Spanish moss.
The SVRA event is packed with Corvettes of all ages. The pits are open, so you can inspect the race cars up close and talk to the drivers and car owners. Bring comfortable shoes because spectators can walk around the inside or outside of the sprawling 3.7-mile track to find uncrowded spots to watch the action from any angle.
The 2015 SVRA event was part of a double-header. After watching the many heats of vintage sports car racing, the grand finale was modern Trans-Am racing. This year had big news with Amy Ruman driving a Corvette to secure the pole position in the TA class on Friday and beating all challengers again on Sunday in the feature race. This was one of most hotly contested Trans-Am races ever with a record-setting field of 69 cars.
It’s rare to find a value like this in motorsports, and Florida’s March weather makes this a great destination for the winter-weary. In fact, stay a little longer for the entirely different experience of The 12 Hours of Sebring. Spectators this year witnessed Chevrolet power winning the event overall for the first time in 50 years – when the Chaparral took the checkered flag in 1965.
Bill Treffert’s #24 1960 Corvette put on one of the most exciting battles, racing for the lead with a pair of Porsches. The Corvette prevailed, taking first in class.
At Sebring, there’s plenty of room to tent camp or park a vehicle under shade trees or right next to the track.
During the lunch break, spectators can drive their own cars on the fabled Sebring course for a number of laps. Just sign up before and pay a small fee.
Sebring’s 3.7-mile road course provides hundreds of spots for close-up viewing of the racing from every angle.
The gorgeous 000 Grand Sport replica was one of the many vintage Corvettes to carry its driver to the podium.
C3s were well represented, many with a racing past. They sound just as ferocious in the present.
Sebring’s very long grandstand provides a shaded second floor. It’s a great viewpoint for catching pit stop action and the checkered flag.
The staging area becomes very busy as the Trans-Am cars line up and drivers make final preparations.
Amy Ruman drove the #23 Corvette to secure the pole position in the TA class on Friday and she beat all challengers again on Sunday in the feature race.
This was one of most hotly contested Trans-Am races ever with a record-setting field of 69 cars.
What’s better than a racing weekend at Sebring? Bill Treffert thinks it’s a weekend racing with your daughter and son. SVRA events are family friendly for spectators, too.
Chevy-powered race cars like the Robbins-Jefferies Special made the point that Corvettes weren’t the only fiberglass-bodied cars providing excitement on the track.
Rain dampened only one race – but it really poured. Some very determined drivers of open cars plowed on despite having no effective wipers and minimal windshields.
There’s a lot to see in the pits, from internal details of race cars to vendors, such as Heacock Classic Car Insurance.
The SVRA event added a car show for 2015 behind the grandstand. As a nice bonus, the cars entered in the show could drive the track at lunchtime for free.
The individual pit setups are as varied as the race cars. Tractor-trailers with huge attached tents occupy the high end of the range.
This is about as crowded as it gets at the SVRA event at Sebring in March.