Sebring news 2005-03-04

RACEWAY UNVEILS NEW CLUB SEBRING SUITE Sebring, FL -- Sebring International Raceway has announced the completion of the new Club Sebring suite in preparation for the 53rd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, ...

RACEWAY UNVEILS NEW CLUB SEBRING SUITE

Sebring, FL -- Sebring International Raceway has announced the completion of the new Club Sebring suite in preparation for the 53rd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 16-19.

Twice the size of the previous Club Sebring, the prestigious suite overlooks the pits and front straight of the historic 3.7-mile circuit.

"Club Sebring is without question the ultimate ticket in American sports car racing," stated Sebring President and GM Tres Stephenson. "It has sold out every year since 1991. The demand had grown to a point where expansion was necessary. Race fans will be very pleased with the new suite and its added amenities."

Club Sebring includes admission all four days, beverage service, reserved paddock parking, and catered meals on Saturday. The suite includes live television feed and timing & scoring monitors. A limited number of Club Sebring tickets are still available. For more information visit sebringraceway.com or call 800-626-7223.

RAHAL NAMED SEBRING GRAND MARSHAL

Bobby Rahal will serve as Grand Marshal for the 53rd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 16-19 at historic Sebring International Raceway.

A recent inductee into the Sebring Sports Car Racing Hall of Fame, Rahal's motorsports career covers a wide range of accomplishments, including wins at both Sebring and the Indy 500.

"For me, Sebring was really the most important victory of my career, and that is no way a knock against Indy. It's just that growing up, Sebring was so important to our family. My parents first took me to Sebring in 1958, and my dad drove there in 1969, 70 and 71. Sebring always meant so much to me, and winning there was really an emotional experience."

A field of 40 cars will take the green flag at 10:45 am Saturday, March 19, kicking-off the 2005 American Le mans Series. America's premier sports car race attracts the world's finest road racing teams. Past winners at Sebring include Stirling Moss, Phil Hill, Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren, Al Holbert and Juan Manuel Fangio.

As a college freshman in 1972, Rahal headed for Sebring during spring break and volunteered to work on a pit crew for a car co-driven by Milt Minter. Just four years later, he made his first Sebring start, driving a Chevrolet Monza with Jim Trueman.

In 1982, teamed in a Chevrolet March with Trueman and Mauricio DeNarvaez, Rahal won the pole position and then drove to a second place finish, despite losing third and fifth gear early in the race. "That was an incredibly tough race," recalled Rahal. "We just kept going and nearly won it."

In 1986, while practicing in a new BMW prototype, he experienced one of the worst crashes of his career. After the rear bodywork and wing flew off during qualifying, the car flipped several times in the air and was destroyed. "It just suddenly snapped loose and then it got real quiet. Someone said I got about 30 feet in the air. I wasn't hurt, other than getting a mouthful of sand," joked Rahal.

Fortunes changed dramatically the following year. Rahal co-drove a Porsche 962 with Jochen Mass to victory after a thrilling duel with Al Holbert's Porsche, adding his name to the list of legendary drivers who have won America's greatest sports car race."

Gates open at Sebring on Wednesday, March 16, and remain open 24 hours a day through Saturday.

-sir-

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