International Sports Car Racing Day Date in the current year: March 16, 2024

International Sports Car Racing Day Motosport fans around the world celebrate International Sports Car Racing Day on the third Saturday of March each year. The holiday coincides with the 12 Hours of Sebring, one of the three sports car racing events that make up the Triple Crown of endurance racing.

Sports car racing is a form of motosport which utilizes two-seat sports cars with enclosed wheels. It is one of the many forms of auto racing alongside open-wheel racing, touring car racing, production car racing, stock car racing, one-make racing, rallying, time attack racing, drag racing, off-road racing, kart racing, and historic motosport.

A sports car is a car whose design is optimized for dynamic performance. The term was coined after World War I, but the first cars that can be considered sports cars had been produced before that. The 1903 Mercedes Simplex 60 hp, for example, is widely regarded as a “sports car years ahead of its time”.

Sports cars became popular in the 1920s, and it was only a matter of time for sports car racing to begin to take shape. The 1923 24 Hours of Le Mans is considered the first sports car racing event even though back then the cars used in different types of racing were nearly identical. Sports car racing emerged as a distinct form of motosport after WWII and got its own championship sanctioned by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the World Sportscar Championship, in 1953.

Today, most sports car races are endurance races. An endurance race is an automobile race that runs over a large amount of time (typically between 3 and 24 hours) or a particularly long distance in order to test the endurance of drivers and the efficiency and reliability of their cars.

The three endurance racing events that are considered the most challenging and thus form the Triple Crown of endurance racing are the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona, and 12 Hours of Sebring. As of 2023, only nine drivers won all three races: Hans Herman, Jackie Oliver, Hurley Haywood, A. J. Foyt, Al Holbert, Andy Wallace, Mauro Baldi, Marco Werner, and Timo Bernhard. None of them was able to win all three races in the same year.

The 12 Hours of Sebring is held at Sebring International Raceway near Sebring, Florida. The track opened in 1950 on the site of a former US Army Air Forces airfield. The first race was held at the track on New Year’s Eve 1950; this day is widely regarded as the birthday of the 12 Hours of Sebring, although the first “official” 12 Hours of Sebring race was held on March 15, 1952. The race is normally held during the third weekend in March, although in 2020 it was postponed to November due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Saturday of the 12 Hours of Sebring weekend has been observed as International Sports Car Racing Day since around 2013. You can celebrate this amazing holiday by learning more about sports car racing and motorsport in general, attending a sports car race if you have a chance, throwing a 12 Hours of Sebring watch party for your friends and family, and spreading the word on social media with the hashtags #InternationalSportsCarRacingDay and #SportsCarRacingDay.

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International Sports Car Racing Day, international observances, sports car racing, endurance racing, 12 Hours of Sebring