Ausstria's Hans Stuck is the only active three-time overall winner (1975, 1986, 1988) of the event and will be driving for BMW Team PTG in this year's race with co-driver Boris Said. A Lap of Sebring International Raceway By Hans Stuck Going...
Ausstria's Hans Stuck is the only active three-time overall winner (1975, 1986, 1988) of the event and will be driving for BMW Team PTG in this year's race with co-driver Boris Said.
A Lap of Sebring International Raceway By Hans Stuck
Going down the pit straight is a good place to pick up the maximum concentration you need to go through turn 1. I can't think of any more difficult corner on any race track in the world. First it's the speed (fifth gear), second it's finding the right way through. Entering the corner is like using all the width of the famous Champs Elysee in Paris, because so many different lines are possible. At the end, everything has to be at the right spot because it goes down to a sort of a funnel and not much room is left.
The following slow left and right section in second and third gear is not much of a problem, not like the long following left-hander where it's always a problem to put the power down at the beginning. At the exit it is difficult to avoid the curb.
From then on ... put the pedal to the metal, going to a flat-out right-hander under the spectator bridge up to top gear. Most of the time you hit heavy traffic and drive a sort of slalom through the other competitors approaching the best place for outbraking -- if you have enough speed -- at the hairpin. Braking is fabulous there! Good grip, no problem if you brake too late, because it has enough room for little mistakes. At night there are many spectators on the left side who want to watch the red hot brake discs shining through the wheels.
From there, full acceleration through a flat-out right- and left-hander almost up to top gear and braking into the new infield right-hander in second gear. From there, careful acceleration with lots of power oversteer through a couple of sweepers, arriving with heavy braking to a third-gear right-hander with changing grip levels depending on different lines. If drivers have a tendency to spin their car, it mostly happens here.
The next left-hander in fourth gear is pretty flat out and you have to stay on the far left side to get the car straight for braking into the slow right-hander afterwards. This right-left-right new section is more of a pain than driving pleasure but once you are through there, you can hammer down the back straight approaching the famous last turn.
I have never seen so many different lines that all worked more or less! You just have to find the latest possible point to hit your brakes, always keeping in mind not to lock the almost-unloaded front right wheel and to avoid flat-spotting your tires. Once you make this, hit the apex and wait for the big bump in the middle of the corner. Only very few drivers are able to set their shock absorbers so that this bump does not affect their car too much. Put the power down, for sure after the bump, and then let the horses play down to turn 1 again.