Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Sebring, COVID 19 and the Mean Green Machine...

Hey After all, it’s St Patties week, so where’s my green beer, Eh? Since I highly doubt that I’ll be able to find a bottle ‘O Guiness at my local grocery store.


Yep, I checked and they Don’t sell it in the single large bottle I prefer. Only El Stupidio Shaker Caps in Six Pack style, which you can Never get to Mix correctly…


In the Never ending IndyCar Off-season, for those of us Jonesin’ for some motor racing, this Saturday (March 20th) marks the 69th running of the venerable 12 Hours of Sebring Sports Car race.


And as we All know, the continuous Scourge ‘O COVID 19 has already effected multiple calendar changes worldwide, notably in the Hopes of being able to bring back the most needed Promoters Asset, i.e.; “Butts in Seats!” although International Travel Ban restrictions have seen the FIA Cancel it’s portion of what was Super Sebring weekend once again.


As the World Endurance Championship’s (WEC) 1000 miles of Sebring event won’t be run for a second year in a row. With the WEC calendar being further pushed back with the recent postponement of the Eight Hours of Portugal race at Portimao slated for Easter Sunday (April 4th) now commencing on May 1st at Spa Francorchamps. But if you’ve been reading No Fenders lately, then you already know that…


Hence the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship has also been affected with the changing of this year’s 24 Heurs du Mans date, originally scheduled for June 12-13 now being held on August 21-22, which caused IMSA to reschedule the Virginia and Petit Le Mans  rounds to October 9th  and  November 13th respectively. Since the Virginia race would have clashed wit Le Mans with rumours of Corvette Racing wishing to return to Circuit de la Sarthe this year.


But enough of everybody’s favourite Corona Virus News, Righto?As I for one am looking forward to gorging Thyself upon multiple hours of this year’s 12 Hours of Sebring and probably will do my same ‘Ol routine of watching, Err listening to the beginning via the fleeting NBC Sports TV Channel in order to hear Leigh diffey’s “Pipes.” And then the majority via IMSA.com and John Hindhaugh, Jeremy Shaw and Shea Adam on Zed Internet, since they manage to Broadcast the entire race sans Commercials, Just Sayin’, Can You Hear Me Now IndyCar and Comcast?


The best news for Sebring is the return of the #48 Allied Action Express Racing Cadillac Dpi VR and it’s All Star Cast of Drivers led by Jimmy Johnson. With Kamui Kobayashi, Simon Pagenaud and Mike Rockenfeller now confirmed for All four of the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds, i.e.; Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta


And Yeah, I’m Arse-sumin’ that the No. 48 will be running a white paint scheme and  not green, even if I teased Y’all with that Mean Green Machine moniker, since this is probably my favourite car on the grid since I’m a Huge Fan of Kobayashi’s! Along with having been a Fan of “Symone,” nee Pageantry’ (Pagenaud) since his Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports IndyCar days.


For the rest of current NTT IndyCar Interlopers, I can only Arse-sume they’ll be the same cast ‘O characters that participated in this year’s Rolex 24. With Scotty “Thee Iceman 2.0” Dixon aboard the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac.


“Joe cool,” akak Alexander Rossi should be part of the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura triumberant, as I’m guessing Hulio’, nee Helio Castroneves won’t be at Sebring. While his Arch Nemesis JPM, Monty’ or Juan Pablo Montoya should be part of the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura trio.


OOPS! Almost forgot le Hamburgular’, nee SeaBass’, aka Sebastian Bourdais who’ll Arse-sumedly be piloting the “Mach 5” (#5) Mustang Sally’, err Sampling JDC Miller Motorsports Cadillac in the Daytona Prototype International (DPI) Class.


Presumably Oliver Askew, fresh off winning the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) Class on his Sports Car Debut at the Rolex 24 will be back behind the wheel of the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier? Although no idea if Spencer Pigot will join him?


And will we see  Marco Andretti making his Sports Car return at Sebring in another LMP3 competitor with his cousin Jered Andretti? As Thars been much Scuttlebutt about Marco’s Sports Cars intentions, now that he’s only slated to run the Indianapolis 500 this year.


Although I’ll admit I just took a Flyer upon that speculation, since afterwards I’ve read Online in Racer that Jered Andretti and Tristan Herbert are running the #18 Andretti Autosport Ligier LMP3 entry in the IMSA Prototype Challenge (PC) Championship which only allows Silver and Bronze rated Drivers, for which Marco wouldn’t qualify for.


As Marco mentions he thinks the plan is to probably race the Watkins Glen and Road America rounds, but why couldn’t the Andretti Autosport crew leave the No. 18 at Sebring a further week’s time after the 1hr 45mins IMSA PC “Sprint” race March 14th and then contest the 12 Hours of Sebring? Which is just total speculation upon my part, meaning it probably won’t happen, eh?


Yeah, it was just wishful thinking upon my part, since the now revealed 2021 Sebring 12 Hours entry list doesn’t include this LMP3 trio. So presumably Marco’s implying the June 27th Six Hours Watkins Glen and August 8th Road America event…



Meanwhile, moving to the Saloons, Err Gran Torismo ranks, In the GT Daytona (GTD) category I’ll also Arse-sume’ that Colton “Big Shot!” Herta will return aboard the #96 Turner BMW M6 GT3 entry with Bimmer billy’ (Auberlen) and Robby Foley.


Ditto for Ed Jones, who co-drove the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo with former IndyCar Pilote Ryan Briscoe, albeit No idea if the 24 Hours of Daytona was a One-off’ for them?


Whilst I’m pretty certain that (Townsend) T-Bell’ will be doing Double Duty as a Colour Analyst and Chauffeur of Top Jimmy’s, aka Jimmy Vasser and Jame Sully’ Sullivan’s #12 Lexus RC F GT3 machine.


While I’m not sure if Thars an Xfinity Cup Lite’ race that clashes with Sebring? Which would preclude recent Lost Wages’, nee Las Vegas race winner A.J. Allmendinger from television Commenting duties. And probably see Kevin Lee filling the TV Booth instead, Groan!


As Always, Check your local listing for TV Times, as this will be your final chance to watch Sebring on NBC Sports Network. While I’ve got No idea if the opening portion of the race will be aired on Big NBC a la the Rolex 24?


2021 Sebring Entry list revealed

Having begun this No Fenders story before the entry list was revealed on Racer on March 10th, I did a pretty G-Damn Good job of Arse-sumin’ the potential Big boyz’ ranks, albeit There were just seven entries to ponder. As I got All of the top flight Dpi drivers correct with the exception that Mike Rocky’ Rockenfeller isn’t listed on the #48 AXR Cadillac entry.


Gar Robinson is back with the No. 74 Riley Motorsports LMP3 entry, since after all his Pappy’s involved, presumably financially wit the car number mimicking his 74 Ranch Resorts business. And Spencer Pigot is on the Driver Roll but not Oliver Askew, but Scott Andrews is listed instead.


Although I seemed to have totally Struck Out on the Saloons side, but that’s what happens when youre a S-L-O-W Typer and trying to poond out a story ahead of time. Strike One, or is it 2 or 3? You’re Out Tomaso!


Since the GTD #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GTE entry doesn’t feature Colton “big Shot!” Herta’s name paired with the Bimmer boyz’ at Sebring.


Ditto for Ed Jones and Ryan Briscoe, as I couldn’t find the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo entry listed at all.


But on the flipside, Team Hardpoint EBM has announced they’ll run a second Porsche 911 RSR the remainder of the season with an All le Femmes line-up. As the #88 will be campaigned by Thy Leggy Juan’, aka Katherine Legge and Christina Neilsen. With the third female Co-driver to be announced shortly for Sebring.


After repeatedly checking out my Zap-2-It’ TV Guide, it only lists the race’s start during a two hour window of 7-9AM Pacific and the ending of the race during a 3.5 hours  segment from 4-7:30PM Pacific, both listed on NBC Sports. (NBCSN) With the rest of the race going thou route of Ye dodo bird, i.e.; Streaming Buggers! So once again, Check Your Local listings…