IN HIS OWN WORDS: DARREN LAW
As one of America's leading and most experienced road racers, Darren Law is more than qualified to speak on the challenges of Sebring International Raceway. Law will drive at the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, the 100th American Le Mans Series race, with Flying Lizard Motorsports and Porsche in GT2. It is especially appropriate to ask Law about Sebring as he was on the grid for the 12 Hours in 1999, the first race of the Series. Time flies when you're having fun, right Darren?
Looking back to Sebring in 1999
"It's amazing how much the American Le Mans Series has grown in recognition around the U.S. and around the world. Back then I just wanted to go racing. Now it's come to a more professional level, has more manufacturer involvement than it did back.
Sebring as the Series and season debut
"It helps from a legitimacy standpoint. Sebring is one of the four biggest endurance races in the world. It's important to be there to kick off the season and the Series. It's not just the teams that here in the States but also around the world that want to show what they have."
The times, how they've changed
"The cars have advanced so much from that first race as far as suspension, electronics, mechanics...pretty much every facet. I don't remember the lap times back then but I'd guess we're probably almost 10 seconds a lap. (Ed. Note: the GT pole time in 1999 was 2:10.370; the quickest practice time in 2008 was a 2:01.184.) Back then I never would have thought GT cars would be able to do the types of times we are doing now.
"And it's not just the cars but also tire technology. Even driver training has changed. I work out every day to stay in shape. Overall, every time we go to Sebring it blows my mind how far things have progressed."
Sebring's enduring challenge
"For sure it's one of my favorites. One, there is a lot of history. Number two, it's also very challenging. It's a long course and very hard to turn a good lap. There's not a single corner on that track that if you don't get it right, there is a big consequence. On one hand you have to nail 17 corners to get a good single lap time, and then do it for 12 hours makes it that much more challenging."
When someone mentions Sebring...
"Probably one of the highlights for me was last year when we finished second and the team car won it. That was really special for me. I've only been there as a competitor. Of course I had watched when I was younger and knew about the track and how tough it was. It hasn't changed much over the years, that's for sure."
The American Le Mans Series will open its 11th season with the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 21. SPEED will televise the race live from 10 a.m. to noon and 2-11 p.m. ET. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.