History of Sebring International Raceway
Before race cars started lapping Sebring International Receway, it was a United States Army Air Force base called Hendricks Field. It officially operated as an airfield from January 1942 until December 31, 1945. During its operation the base trained thousands of combat crews, primarily in B-17 Flying Fortress bombers.
Originally called the Sebring Basic Flying School, the base was renamed Hendricks Field in honor of Lieutenant Laird W. Hendricks, Jr., a Floridian and West Point Graduate who was killed in England while training Royal Air Force pilots prior to the United States entering World War II. This year marks both the 75th anniversary of the opening of the airfield and what would have been Lieutenant Laird's 100th birthday.
After the war, the military base was turned over to the City of Sebring. To this day, Sebring Regional Airport still operates just outside the track.
Sebring's motorsports history began with the running of the Sam Collier Six Hour Memorial Grand Prix on December 31, 1950. Founder and promoter Alec Ulmann then established the first 12 Hours of Sebring in 1952. The race quickly evolved into one of America's most important international road racing events.
Sebring International Raceway's legendary 3.74-mile road course still utilizes portions of the original Hendricks Field concrete taxiways and runways. In addition to the annual 12-hour classic, the Sebring race circuit is buzzing with various events over 300 days per year.