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12 Hours of Sebring? Prepare for an Action Packed Weekend

19 March 1999

Sebring, FL-March 18, 1999

The 12 Hours of Sebring is the marquee event of the week-end. However, what the week-end also involves is a tremendous amount of racing of other series. The Star Mazda Series, Ferrari Challenge, 3-Hour Street Stock, Barber Dodge and HSR (Historic Sportscar Racing) will also have races. The Star Mazda series is the beginning format for drivers to find out if they have the wherewithal to compete in open-wheel race cars. The series makes its first appearance at the Sebring facility. Powered by Mazda Rotary engines the drivers will challenge themselves and each other as they learn a new venue.

The Ferrari Challenge pits similarly prepared Ferrari 355s. Modifications to the cars are limited to safety equipment changes and small handling improvements. Considering the fact that the series is also utilizing very expensive race vehicles the need for smart driving is at a premium. However, judging by some of the previous races the concern for damaging their respective cars is usually thrown out the window at the start of the thirty minute sprint.

The Barber Dodge Pro Series is designed to provide a platform for the up and coming driver who is considering making the final big step into the professional ranks of either CART, IRL or Sportscar racing. The series utilizes similarly prepared Reynard (Open-wheel) racecars. The races last 30 minutes and have been known for many years as a series that can either springboard a driver or come to the reality that the next step up is not their.

The Motorola Street Stock three hour race is for, as the name implies, street stock cars with limited performance modifications. There are four classes in the series. It is another series that helps to showcase talent without breaking the financial bank.

So for the race fan, the 12 Hours is certainly the highlight of the week-end and deserves top- billing but it is not the only, so to speak, game in town.

David Treffer -- The Auto Channel