While some may still believe that Miami is built on tourism and party nights, it is quickly becoming a city that people move to for the racing culture. In fact, Florida has the 2nd largest concentration of motor sports enthusiasts in the country, primarily thanks to the success of NASCAR. Those who have followed the sport know that the speedway in Daytona Beach has been a popular spot for drivers and fans to gather, with several events held there each year.
However, with Daytona Beach’s sports pages increasingly focused on motorsport, it’s important to point out that there is more than one kind of racing in Florida. While NASCAR has certainly made a name for itself, there are actually quite a few racing series that take place around the state. Some of these are even sanctioned by NASCAR, making them official competitions.
Among the most popular street racing series in the country, the IndyCar Series was first held in 2003 and is now sanctioned by the IndyCar Association. While most events take place on a track, teams and drivers use various parts of the road to find speed. It is one of the few races where drivers actually compete against one another on public roads, with victories often decided by 10 – 15 seconds.
IndyCar races were first held in Florida back in 1960 and were later incorporated into the Daytona International Speedway. The modern day Daytona International Speedway was built in the 1960s and has been the home of the Daytona 500, one of the most important races of the year, since 1959. In 2005, the historic venue was destroyed in a tragic fire. Thankfully, the Daytona International Speedway was repaired and the fire did not destroy the valuable records and many historical artifacts that were inside. (Daytona International Speedway)
The Rolex Daytona And Mobil 1 Twelve Hours Of Sebring
While we’re on the subject of historic tracks, it’s important to point out that the Rolex Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours Of Sebring are two other huge events that take place annually in Florida. The Rolex Daytona is named after its founder, Rolex, and was first held in 1970. The race is named after the company’s famous Daytona watch and was originally contested by Porsches and other German cars. (Rolex Daytona)
Mobil 1 Twelve Hours Of Sebring is named after its main sponsor, the American oil company, Mobil 1. The race is held in Sebring, Florida and was first contested in 1960. While most other street races in Florida are one-hour events, this one is held over an entire day and was originally designed to be an endurance race. (Mobil 1)
The Porsche Grand Prix
Another important event to point out is the Porsche Grand Prix. This German-made car race was first held in Stuttgart in 1953 and is one of the most prestigious events of the year. The race is named after its main sponsor, the Porsche company. Each year, the race is held either at the end of March or early April, depending on the climate. (Porsche Grand Prix)
The Porsche Grand Prix moves around the country each year, with the 2018 edition held in Long Beach, California. This is largely due to the fact that the automaker, Porsche, is headquartered in Germany but also produces cars in North Carolina, so it makes sense that their cars would be raced at the end of their home straight. The 2019 edition will be held in Daytona Beach, Florida, which will be the 100th anniversary of the first Porsche Grand Prix held there in 1913. (Porsche Grand Prix)
The Grand Prix Of The Americas
Last but not least, we have the Grand Prix Of The Americas. This one is actually a series of races held throughout the year, with the first one, on May 5th of this year, being the longest. It’s name comes from the fact that it is contested across four North American countries: Canada, Mexico, United States, and Caribbean Islands, with several races taking place in each country. (Grand Prix Of The Americas).
The Grand Prix Of The Americas was first held in 1904 and has been held annually ever since. The oldest race, the Senior Grand Prix, was first contested in 1902 and was originally designed to be a handicap race, giving older models of cars an edge. (Grand Prix Of The Americas)
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The List Is Not Complete
While several important events take place in Florida each year, it’s important to point out that this is not an exhaustive list. There are actually dozens of other events, races, and leagues that are held throughout the year. Some of these are more well known than others, but it’s important to know that there is a strong racing culture in Florida, particularly around the areas of Miami and the Tampa Bay, with several tracks and events suitable for race fans to engage with.