Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
Sebring International Raceway 113 Midway Dr Sebring, FL 33870
Year Opened: 1950
Sebring’s Classic Race Weekend
Far removed from the chaos of the annual IMSA race weekend in March, the HSR Classic 12 “Pistons and Props” event features a whole different atmosphere. Held each year in late fall, this race showcases Sebring’s history and mixes in a little bit of air show with race cars.
Food & Beverage 4
There is no shortage of food vendors around the track at Sebring. From the main paddock and the ever-popular Track Shack (get The Beast…it is probably the best item you can eat at the track and is only known on the secret menu at Sebring) to the various drink and snack stops around the track, you never have to go too far to get something to quench your thirst or ease the pain of hunger.
The cost of everything is also what one may consider being moderately fair, as food and snack items range from just a few dollars to $12-$14 for bigger items at the Snack Shack. The event also invites several food trucks to the event as well, which are set up near the paddock area.
The Sebring facility is steeped in racing history; fans from around the world regard it as one of the best tracks for many reasons. The HSR weekend features a much more laid-back vibe compared to the IMSA 12 Hours, and everyone here seems to be here to have a great time. The track lacks many conventional amenities one would expect from a top-level racetrack, but makes up for it with viewing access and history. Access to Green Park is included all weekend, something not always open to smaller events.
Perhaps the highlight of the event is the historic warbird fly-in on Friday night. Here, vintage warplanes arrive from Sebring Airport and taxi down the track’s backstretch before being staged for the weekend in the pre-grid area. After this, fans are allowed into the grid to check out the planes up close until they leave Sunday morning.
There isn’t exactly anything around Sebring International Raceway, as it is located in the middle of nowhere. Sebring itself is a town located in the middle of Florida, at least an hour and a half drive from the nearest major city or population center. Thus, while the town of Sebring itself may have some shopping and dining, as well as a few hotels, you are likely better off camping at the track and staying there the whole weekend.
The fans at HSR weekend cross over from other events at Sebring, including IMSA and the SVRA & Trans-Am SpeedTour events. Trackside camping is popular all around the track, and as usual, several fans decorate their campers and campsites with lights and decorations. Thankfully, the craziness of IMSA weekend is nowhere to be found here, and a much more family-friendly atmosphere can be enjoyed because of it.
The roads in and out of Sebring aren’t exactly major highways, with the biggest road being US-27 running towards Miami to the South and Orlando to the North. There is plenty of parking at the track, however, and trams help take you from parking lots farther away from the main grandstands and paddock to points of interest around the track.
You never feel like you are too far from anywhere either, as there are several perfectly placed crossover bridges around the track to get you to points of interest throughout the weekend. Any fan can also come down to the paddock and get up close to the stars and cars of the IMSA series who are in attendance.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to HSR are much less expensive than IMSA’s 12 Hours in March – this means you get to enjoy the sights and sounds of the race cars of yesteryear without breaking the bank. Without a doubt, this is a great event to take younger fans to as well, and your access is much more up close than traditional races you may go to.
Taking in the race at Sebring has its perks for fans, with various autograph sessions held throughout the race weekend. In addition, fans also have the opportunity to get into the paddock area of the track free of charge, giving an up-close view of the teams as they prepare for one of the year's biggest races. Also, before the main event on Saturday, all the teams bring their cars out to the false grid before the race starts, and fans can come to see the cars and drivers up close next to the vintage planes before the cars head out onto the track.
The Pistons and Props event is a highlight of the Sebring calendar, and many local race fans show up to watch vintage racing at its best; the bonus of vintage warbirds only amplifies the value of this event. Like the HSR Classic 24 at Daytona, racecar fans of all ages can no doubt find something to get excited about here.