Improvements In the Works for this Sebring Legend
The words “Green Park” conjure many thoughts for Sebring fans, maybe as many different thoughts as there are attendees for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Named campsites that endure year after year. Parties that begin Wednesday and don’t end until folks are run out on Sunday. Incredible food, and people willing to share. Unbelievable temporary structures. Loud country music. Loud rap. Loud classic rock. Young people cruising, trying to attract the opposing gender. All long-standing and much loved traditions.
When I arrived a little more than two years ago, mentions of Green Park frequently were met with rolling eyes, followed by a legendary story or three.
Also, I sensed a feeling of lack of respect for the Green Park guests. In the past, not making any facility improvements centered on beliefs that Green Park people would damage or destroy anything built between Turns 5 and 10.
I couldn’t disagree with that position more. I believe respect begets respect, and the track must respect all of its guests. I firmly believe Sebring fans will take pride in a facility built especially for them.
Having visited Green Park during the 64th and 65th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, I saw a bit of what had been advertised, but more striking to me was the presence of Sebring’s real race fans, the people who lined the fences, walked the walkways along the track, and perched on the viewing mounds.
These fans followed the battles among the GTLM cars, knew the drivers in the DPi Cadillacs, expressed joy that IMSA moved from the Daytona prototypes to the DPi cars, and could recite more classic Sebring moments – on track moments – than anyone but Ken Breslauer, Sebring’s official track historian.
Regrettably, I also saw that our venue had neglected Sebring’s greatest fans for far too long. After seeing the condition of the restroom building near Turn 6, new Sebring management set a course to give back to the Green Park fans some of the love they have shown to the track for so many years, decades in fact.
The 52-year old Green Park vehicle bridge will be replaced after the 2018 race.
Changes are coming to Green Park, but changes with careful consideration to the people who love what the acres of grass and trees and viewing mounds mean to them.
It begins with a totally new restroom and shower facility that replaces the small, badly outdated, barely functional building. ADA approved entry points, new LED lighting inside and out, showers with hot water, stalls with privacy doors that fully open, and an overall clean, fresh environment await Green Park’s faithful.
A new dump station will be located next to the restroom to enable fans to service their motorhomes.
While we didn’t replace the other Green Park restroom near the exit of the Hairpin, we have added some upgrades to improve it just a bit.
And coming to Green Park after this year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours will be a new two-lane vehicle bridge with a pedestrian walkway that will replace the aging one-lane structure at Turn 5. NASCAR’s Board of Directors in December approved the capital funding to enable IMSA and Sebring Raceway to build a bridge worthy of Sebring’s greatest fans.
So, as you cross that bridge for the last time in March, be aware that it will be the LAST time you cross that bridge.
We are working out the final details on the bridge construction with engineers now, but the ideas that are flowing are bound to please Green Park’s guests who have had to wait for a “cold track,” or wait for the red light to turn green, or wait for the long line of cars and trucks awaiting the opportunity to cross.
While we make these improvements for Green Park’s fans, we would like to hear from them to know what they want, and more importantly, what they don’t want changed in Green Park.
We are exploring opportunities for more services, but we never want to lose the flavor of the Green Park experience.
Still, we know the fences need addressing. Traffic patterns need work. Roadways need attention. Fans need more places to see the on-track action.
While IMSA brings a jaw-dropping entry of cars and drivers, it is the responsibility of Sebring Raceway’s management to give the fans a better facility to see that show.
The 2018 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring – with the return of Penske and Joest, and P2s from Europe joining an already great DPi, GTLM and GTD lineup – is shaping up to be the greatest Sebring race in many years. Our job simply is to provide the setting with facilities and service so that IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship fans can enjoy the event fully.
March 2018 is going to be spectacular. And if you want to witness it with some of Sebring’s most knowledgeable fans, be sure to visit Green Park.