SEBRING — For local race fans it literally is Christmas in July, as Sebring International Raceway announced that a limited number of Florida fans will be allowed to attend next month’s Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring. But there are going to be some strict safety guidelines in place for those who do attend.
Tickets will go on sale Wednesday at noon and must be purchased in advance. RV passes are for Friday and Saturday, July 17-18, while spectator tickets are for Saturday only. RVs can have a maximum of six people and tickets begin at $230 for two people and increase to $310 and $390 depending on the number of people. Saturday’s spectator tickets are $40 and children 15 and under are permitted free with a paying adult.
IMSA and Sebring Raceway have had the opportunity to learn a bit from how NASCAR is doing things and will also get to draw some information from next weekend’s IMSA race at Daytona. The two-day RV pass and one-day ticket for spectators in cars is what NASCAR did for Talladega and how IMSA is handling the July 4 race at Daytona.
Although Sebring Raceway has some unique challenges to conquer what the other tracks may not.
“What makes us different is the absence of reserved grandstand seating,” said Sebring International Raceway President and General Manager Wayne Estes. “At the NASCAR races, guests in grandstands have been required to wear masks in the grandstands, and their seats were assigned to create distances between “family” groups, considered anyone entering in a single vehicle. Our grandstand is our fence line.”
RVs will park in Green Park or Hendricks Field Park, which some people may know better as the flagpole area, while cars will park in the Midway. Fans will be required to undergo a quick medical screening before admission to the track. If one person does not pass the screening/non-contact temperature check, the vehicle will be denied entrance to the track.
“During this phase of reopening sports events, RVs are allowed in one area and spectators are allowed in another,” Estes said.
Estes said for the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring the track is essentially being broken into three “bubbles” — the IMSA bubble, which is the paddock, pits and race circuit; the RV bubble, which is Green Park and Hendricks Field; and the spectators in cars bubble, which is the Midway.
Entry to the track will be staggered, with times permitted to enter printed on the tickets, and both cars and RVs must be parked 10 feet away from each other.
“Here at Sebring, as long as that group stays together in its own vehicle, next to its own vehicle, 10 feet away from the nearest neighbor, we will not require masks,” Estes said. “When people line up on the fences, however, they will be required to wear masks. If people in RVs venture away from their RVs, they will be required to wear masks.”
Masks will be required when visiting the concession stand or restrooms, where social distancing guidelines will be enforced.
While Sebring International Raceway and IMSA will do everything they can to provide a safe, inviting experience for fans to watch some of the best sportscar racing in the world, it’s a two-way street. They also need fans to do their part in following the guidelines being put into place for the welfare of themselves and their fellow racing enthusiasts.
“Distance and compartmentalization are keys to allowing spectators back into sporting events,” Estes said. “We know there will be some confusion and we will do our best to work with everyone, but it is critical that guests understand their responsibilities to ensure everyone follows protocols so that we can move to the next phase.
“We have three IMSA WeatherTech races in nine months here at Sebring, and we know everyone wants us to continue moving forward. It must be done in steps. Only after completing the current phase do we move to the next phase.”
Tickets will be on sale at sebringraceway.com, where fans will also find a complete list of all the policies and procedures for the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring.