Sebring preview 2020
SEBRING, Fla. – The months-long wait is over. It’s finally time once again for racing.
The 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge will resume this weekend at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. with the Advent Health 120.
And co-drivers Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson and the and the JDC-Miller Motorsports team couldn’t be more thrilled to be back on the track. The two-hour race in the heart of the Sunshine State was originally scheduled for March 19 but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m really excited to get back racing after more than six months on the sidelines due to COVID-19,” said Johnson, “It’s great to get back to doing what I love, especially at Sebring International. It’ll be a short two days of track activity, but I am ready to win it with Stephen Simpson.”
Preparations for race day will kick off on Thursday with two afternoon practice sessions. Qualifying for the TCR class is scheduled for Friday, July 17 at 10:25 a.m. ET with the race to follow in the afternoon, going green at 2:30 p.m. ET.
The race on the 3.74-mile track will be streamed live, flag-to-flag on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio will commentate throughout the weekend on RadioLeMans.com.
Officially debuting a brand-new version of the Universal Coating No. 54 Audi RS 3 LMS TCR car, Johnson and Simpson and the JDC-Miller Motorsports team opened the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season in successful fashion in late January, racing to a third-place finish at the BMW Endurance Challenge at renowned Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
A year ago at Sebring, a mechanical issue with the Universal Coating No. 54 Audi RS3 LMS TCSR car hampered the team’s efforts, and with the time it took to complete the repair, the team lost around 16 laps and ended up finishing 12th.
“I am very excited to get back in the car,” said Simpson. It’s been a long time since we were there. We did well the last time we were, at Daytona.
“I am looking forward to getting back to it. It’s likely going to take a lap or two dust off the rust. But we have been doing a lot of preparation — studying track maps and doing video reviews –over the last couple of months. I think we are as prepared as we can be. I know we will have a good car. The team has been working hard. We have high expectations and will be looking for another podium finish.”
The weather forecast on race day in Sebring is calling for mostly sunny conditions in the morning, then increasing clouds with scattered thunderstorms later in the day. Temperatures are expected to reach the high 80s.
The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge travels next to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. on July 31-Aug. 2 for the third round of the restructured season. The Road America 120 goes green on Saturday, Aug. 1 at 4:45 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary.