SEBRING, Fla. (March 14, 2023) – Events at Sebring International Raceway generate an annual economic impact of $603,219,914, according to a study conducted by the Florida State University Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis.
Headlined by the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, which is an internationally recognized IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event held each March, and more than 300 additional days of on-track activity, the annual impact on the Highlands County community includes the creation of $195,993,451 annually on direct and indirect wages and $69,072,432 on state and local taxes. While the Sebring track has fewer than 20 full-time employees, annual activities at Sebring International Raceway create 7,139 full- and part-time jobs locally, and the Raceway specifically creates 79 full-time equivalent positions for individuals working events each year. The Raceway annually employs more than 300 people part-time in February and March for the famous 12-Hour event.
The research was led by Dr. Julie Harrington, the director of the FSU program who holds a doctorate in Economics and an MS in Fisheries from Auburn University and has an extensive background in economic, econometric/statistical analysis and natural resources. Sebring International Raceway is owned by IMSA Properties, which itself is a wholly owned subsidiary of Daytona Beach, Fla. based NASCAR. NASCAR also owns Homestead-Miami Speedway and One Daytona, a premier lifestyle and entertainment center featuring retail, dining and entertainment venues, two hotels and luxury apartments. It is located directly across the street from Daytona International Speedway.
In total, NASCAR properties have an impact far exceeding $1 billion on local economies and the State of Florida.
“More than 300 days of annual activity including the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring help our local economy thrive through hotel room nights, restaurants and retail stores, in addition to enhancing our community image,” said Sebring International Raceway President Wayne Estes. “In addition to many Fortune 500 companies who partner with us, the Raceway has great local partnerships and is proud to utilize local contractors and vendors who do work at the facility helping create jobs, taxes and the resources necessary for all of us to enjoy the tremendous quality of life that is found here. We take our responsibility as local corporate leaders seriously and are proud that events here have such a great impact on the area.”
Known around the world as one of the most coveted trophies in sports car racing, and one of the most engaging and knowledgeable fan bases in all sports, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring helps create demand for track days by sports car enthusiasts, corporations who host customer activities, and automotive manufacturers and professional racing teams who use the facility year-round for testing, research and development, driver training and more.
As a result, Sebring International Raceway has many corporate partnerships that contribute to the impact on the local economy, led by ExxonMobil which for 28 consecutive years has been the title sponsor of Sebring’s largest event, as well as two significant Highlands County partners – Alan Jay Automotive Network and AdventHealth Sebring, Lake Placid and Wauchula.
In addition to the 3.74-mile Raceway itself, IMSA Properties also owns Seven Sebring Raceway Hotel overlooking the circuit’s legendary Turn 7. Seven Sebring Raceway Hotel features 123 rooms, two restaurants including a luxurious bar, and hospitality facilities accommodating large banquets or corporate retreats.
“Since 1950, the City of Sebring and the Sebring International Raceway have had a long standing, unique relationship,” said Sebring Mayor John Shoop. “In the beginning, the race was operated by a local civic organization and throughout the years, it expanded into the entire community getting involved. Today, with the Raceway attracting both small and large events most weeks of the year, it has become the largest single economic engine for the community, bringing in thousands of visitors for historic racing experiences. The tradition carries on today as it has for over 70 years being the oldest road race in America. The “Race” has put the City of Sebring on the map, not just locally but also internationally.”
The Raceway occupies a portion of Sebring Regional Airport (an active airport for private and commercial traffic that was originally built as Hendricks Army Airfield, which was a World War II training base for the United States Army Air Forces).
“As home of America’s oldest endurance racing facility, we are proud of the continued financial impact that the Sebring International Raceway has and continues to have on our local economy,” said Kathy Rapp, former Highlands County Commission Chair. “For more than 70 years, the Raceway has attracted racing enthusiasts and new businesses to our area which has significantly helped to bolster our local businesses, provide employment opportunities and added significant funding to our local tax base.”
Sebring International Raceway hosted its first race on Dec. 31, 1950, a six-hour event, and the inaugural 12-hour race March 15, 1952. In 1959 Formula One held the first championship-recognized United States Grand Prix at Sebring, and the track also was the site of the first FIA World Endurance Championship race in 2012. It continues to host the FIA WEC 1000 Miles of Sebring the day before the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.