Up To Speed: Two Days to Green at Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring

Thursday, Jul 16 738
Here we go again!
 
Three IMSA-sanctioned series are hitting the famed, 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway circuit, beginning Thursday with a pair of practice sessions for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge in preparation for Friday’s Advent Health 120. Live coverage of that race is available via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.
 
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, meanwhile, hits the track for the first time Friday night with an hour-long practice from 6-7 p.m. ET ahead of Saturday’s two-hour, 40-minute Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring.
 
Saturday’s schedule includes Round 2 of the 2020 IMSA Prototype Challenge season with an hour and 45 minutes worth of racing beginning at 11:50 a.m. and airing live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. Cadillac Grand Prix qualifying will be streamed live on IMSA.tv beginning Saturday at 1:55 p.m. ET with IMSA Radio commentary.
 
NBCSN has live television coverage of the Cadillac Grand Prix beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio also will cover the action live on IMSA.com with race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio (Sirius channel 218, XM 202, Internet 972).
 
Hawksworth, Telitz Looking Forward to “Respecting the Bumps”
As much as they enjoy racing at Daytona International Speedway, Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz were looking for a change of scenery. They’ll find it this weekend at Sebring International Raceway.
 
“As much as we love Daytona, quite frankly we’ve been there so much already this year testing and racing and whatnot,” said Hawksworth, who will share the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 with Telitz in Saturday’s Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring. “We’re ready to shift to another circuit. Of all the tracks on the calendar, Sebring is definitely one of the best.” 
 
So far during the redesigned WeatherTech Championship season, Daytona has been the only venue. The 2020 calendar opened with the Rolex 24 At Daytona before the Coronavirus pandemic forced changes. The season resumed July 4 with the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona.
 
That left two drivers eager to race somewhere else.
 
“I’ll be honest. I’m really looking forward to driving at a racetrack that’s not Daytona right now,” Telitz said. “I love Daytona. Not trying to knock it, but I’m excited to get a little variety in the 2020 season. … We had great results at Daytona a couple of weeks ago, and there’s no reason we can’t have a repeat performance.”
 
Sebring International Raceway’s 3.74-mile, 17-turn circuit provides a unique challenge to drivers in the GTD class. The length, changing surfaces and difficult turns require technical skills and focus. 
 
“It’s very technical, a really long lap,” Hawksworth said. “It’s one of those circuits that’s over two minutes a lap for a GTD car. I always enjoy those tracks -- a lIttle bit more technical, a little bit more to them. I’m super stoked to get back down there."
 
Hawksworth leads the WeatherTech Championship GTD standings by three points over Telitz. The pair won the GTD class in the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona on July 4, finishing 14th overall.
 
But this weekend’s race only counts toward the WeatherTech Sprint Cup standings for the GTD class and not the full WeatherTech Championship. With their Daytona victory earlier this month, the No. 14 duo shares the early lead for the Sprint Cup.
 
“It’s awesome to be part of such a competitive team and being able to go out and get a win in our first run together,” Telitz said. “That just makes it more fun, obviously. Winning is fun. So as long as we keep winning -- or even if we’re not winning -- we’re going to have fun.”
No. 55 Mazda Duo Looking to Stay Hot
Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell want to get something started.
 
They won the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona on July 4, and now they want to put together a streak of victories. Their win in the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda RT-24P DPi pushed them into a tie for second place in the DPi standings, and now their sights are on Saturday’s Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring.
 
A run of victories would be new -- and welcomed.
 
“It’s something we haven’t had in the past,” Bomarito said. “That’s something we haven't experienced since I’ve been with the program. Last year we had a very strong second half of the season, and we’re starting off this year with a couple of strong races.”
 
To continue the positive start, Bomarito and Tincknell will have to conquer a Sebring that’s unlike what they’re used to seeing. Instead of the typically pleasant March weather that greets them for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, they’ll be facing hot, humid and possibly wet conditions.
 
“It is going to be way different,” Bomarito said. “Mid-July, Central/South Florida -- it’s going to be crazy hot and humid. … It’s hot during the day, and you can almost guarantee afternoon thunderstorms, a bit of a dump of rain then it dries out really quick. That’s going to be something I’m pretty sure we’re going to be dealing with.”
 
Scattered storms are forecast during Saturday’s 2-hour 40-minute race, and racing in the wet isn’t something with which Tincknell has much experience in the Mazda DPi.
 
“It’s pretty treacherous,” Tincknell said. “I haven’t had many laps at all in the wet. … With rain, it will be a few new experiences for me.”  
 
And, on top of all that, it’s a sprint, not an endurance race. That could make the race more, not less, difficult.
 
“It’s going to be just as hard as the 12-hour race in March on the drivers physically,” Bomarito said.
Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network. 

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