13th March 2017
The 65th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring takes place this weekend with Mike Conway returning to action in the #31 Cadillac powered Whelen Engineering Racing prototype.
The Sebring International Raceway first saw competitive racing in 1950, when the abandoned Hendricks Army Airfield in Florida hosted a six-hour race on New Year’s Eve and two years later changed to today’s ‘once around the clock’ format. In the 65 years that have followed the track has seen five layout changes to improve safety, reducing from the original 5.38-mile circuit in the 1950’s to the newest 3.74-mile layout. Previous winners at America’s oldest road racing track have included Brits Johnny Herbert, Anthony Davidson and Allan McNish; a list Conway wil be looking to add his name to this weekend.
The 33-year-old will once again join the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing team with Dane Cameron and Eric Curran for the 12 Hours of Sebring this weekend and the #31 will be looking to go one better than its 2nd place finish last year. Last year’s dramatic finale to the 12-hour race saw the #31 leading until the final 5 minutes when the #2 Honda passed it and won the race by a miniscule 2.9 seconds, ending the team’s chance of back-to-back victories!
The race gets underway this Saturday, March 18th, and will feature a 46-car strong entry list for the second round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Competing in the Prototype class, Mike and the Whelen Engineering team will go up against ten other prototypes when they travel to Florida this week and will be hoping for a better time than they did at the Rolex 24 hours in January.
The Rolex 24 hours saw Mike Conway commence his 2017 season and teamed with Dane Cameron, Eric Curran and Seb Morris, the strong driver line-up looked as if it had the potential to win the first round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. After qualifying on the front row of the grid in second place, hopes were high heading into the race. After leading the pack heading into the fifth hour, the #31 collided with a slower moving car on the high banks and this resulted in damage that cost the Whelen Engineering team 16 laps and ruled out any chance of victory, coming home that day in 14th place overall and 6th in the Prototype class.
Conway feels that the strength and pace that the team showed at Daytona bodes well for the weekend ahead and hopes that a few minor adjustments can have the team fighting at the front of the field.
“Daytona was a tough weekend for us. We looked strong all week but we were unlucky in the race and this time around we’ll be looking to convert the pace into a result! We’ve made some adjustments and there have been some changes with the balance of performance. I’m confident we still have the car to be at the front and challenging for the win.”
First Practice gets underway on Thursday the 16th of March with the 12-hour race commencing on Saturday at 14:40pm (GMT).