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WEC Sebring

Sebring pit entry changed for WEC opener after Prologue crash

Pit entry at Sebring has been changed for the World Endurance Championship season-opener following concerns expressed by drivers and an accident at the end of last weekend’s Prologue.

Pitlane entry

The FIA has reverted to the arrangement used for the last edition of the Sebring 1000 Miles in 2022 in the wake of the events of the official pre-season WEC test.

A revised entry to the pitlane was introduced for the Prologue on Saturday and Sunday: the cars entered the WEC pits situated on back straight on the outside of the exit of a fast curving left-hander known as Bishop Bend.

This has been changed in advance of the start of practice on Wednesday so that the cars now bleed off the track on the outside of the kink between Turns 15 and 16.

Concerns about the pitlane entry used for the Prologue centred on the speed of the section and the fact that prototypes routinely overtake slower cars around the outside.

Those fears were brought into focus when David Heinemeier Hansson crashed his Jota ORECA-Gibson 07 when he made contact with Thomas Flohr’s AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.

The accident happened late in the final session of the Prologue when the Ferrari moved to the right to enter the pits just as the LMP2 driver was lining up to pass.

The pitlane entry the WEC will use for this weekend

The pitlane entry the WEC will use for this weekend

Photo by: Gary Watkins

Heinemeier Hansson said: “He was going at full speed on the line and then braked to go into the pits.

“It doesn’t seem sensible to me to have the pit entry where you are doing 250km/h [155mph] in sixth gear.

“There were some issues with what we had before but you are in third gear doing 120km/h [75mph].”

The reversion to the previous layout has been welcomed by Toyota’s Sebastien Buemi, who told Autosport: “I find it much better to go back to what we had last year. It’s not perfect because the pit entry is a bit on the racing line.

“But what we had at the Prologue was very dangerous because you had the entry at a place where you do not normally brake, which meant you had someone braking on the racing line.”

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Ferrari driver James Calado added: “I think it’s the correct move and it is good that the race director has taken our opinions on board.”

The initial concerns raised by the drivers after the first day of the Prologue resulted in an extension of the white bleed line into the pitlane.

The additional pits on the back straight, also known as the Ullmann Straight, were built in 2019 for the first running of SuperSebring weekend when the WEC races on the eve of the IMSA SportsCar Championship 12-hour race.

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