Sebring's first race was held on New Year's Eve of 1950. The Sam Collier 6 Hour Memorial race was won by Fritz Koster and Ralph Deshon in a Crosley Hot Shot that had been driven to the track by Victor Sharpe. This first race attracted thirty racecars from across North America.
The first 12 Hours of Sebring was held on March 15, 1952, and would grow to be a major international race. In 1959, the racetrack hosted the first Formula One Grand Prix in the United States.
For much of Sebring's history, the track followed a 5.2 miles (8.4 km) layout. In 1967, the Webster Turn right between the hairpin and the top of the track was removed and replaced with the faster Green Park Chicane, which was closer to the hairpin and allowed a flat-out run through a very fast corner to the top of the track and the runway, which made the circuit 50 yards longer. The circuit was also widened, and all these things were done after the 1966 12 Hours because 5 people were killed during the race, and the Warehouse straight was a dangerous section that ran right past buildings and warehouses, and a crash where a Porsche went into one of the warehouses and into a crowd led the organizers installing the chicane to move the Warehouse straight further away from the warehouses and buildings. In 1983, the track was changed to allow simultaneous use of the track and one of the runways. In 1987, more changes allowed use of another runway. Further changes in 1991 accommodated expansion of the airport's facilities, and brought the track close to its current configuration. The entire track could now be used without interfering with normal airport operations. In 1997, the hairpin was removed due to a lack of run-off, and replaced with what became known as the "safety pin". Gendebien Bend was also re-profiled to slow the cars' entry to the Ullman straight.
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