Fast Eddie’s Final 2016 Adventure

Sebastian Vettel making donuts at the Daytona International Speedway. [Photo by Thomas Murray]

Sebastian Vettel making donuts at the Daytona International Speedway. [Photo by Thomas Murray]

By Eddie LePine

The 2016 racing season is coming to a close and all the championships have been decided. It has been a busy year for me, starting with the Rolex 24 at Daytona, then Sebring, Long Beach, the FIA-WEC at Austin and Petit Le Mans, with a number of other events sprinkled along the way.

What better way to end the year than take in two events in one weekend here in Florida? I went to both the HSR Classic 12 Hours of Sebring and the 2016 Ferrari World Finals at Daytona International Speedway the first weekend of December.

Saturday was spent at the historic Sebring circuit, where HSR put on a superb weekend of racing for vintage cars, with a format of one hour endurance races for different groups, one after the other, to pay tribute to the 12 Hours of Sebring. It was pretty cool, and great to see cars like the Lola T70, Ford GT40 and Ferrari 365 GTB racing one another into the night. There is nothing quite like the sights and sounds of these machines at speed at Sebring. Seeing them run again was like time travel and you could imagine the classic battles of the past. The overall Classic 12 Hours was won by a Lola T70, with another T70 finishing second, followed by a Ford GT40 in third.

I wasn’t around for the finish, as at about 4:30am on Sunday morning I was on Route 27 heading north to Orlando and then on the Interstate 4 to get over to Daytona for the Ferrari World Finals. One nice thing about leaving so early in the morning was that I didn’t have to put up with the usually terrible traffic, as any regular visitor to Sebring and Daytona knows so well.

Daytona was fantastic, and in all my years of racing I have never seen so many Ferraris in one place at one time. The highlight of the day for me was seeing Ferrari Formula One cars run on the high banks at Daytona – that has never been done before, and it was spectacular. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were on hand to pilot the Ferrari F1 cars and the show was spectacular.

I attended the press conference with Vettel and Raikkonen and of course the subject of newly crowned World Champion Nico Rosberg’s retirement came up. Both said they respected his decision to go out on top. Me, I wouldn’t have wanted to race another year with Lewis Hamilton as my teammate, so I can understand Nico’s decision.

The Ferrari event, which featured over 20 Ferrari Formula One cars, also set a World Record for the largest Ferrari car parade – with 1000 cars taking laps at Daytona at the same time.

All in all, it was a very busy weekend and one that I will remember for a long time.

See you down the road.

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