The 2011 American Le Mans racing season gets underway in earnest this weekend with the 12 Hours of Sebring. The endurance race run on Floridian tarmac is one of the most iconic in the world, and always draws a mouthwatering array of racing machinery. This year's event will be no exception, the latest Le Mans Prototypes scything their way through the myriad 911 GT3s and more.
The first practice sessions saw the new Audi R15+ TDI topping the charts, followed by the Peugeot 908 and Aston Martin Lola B08. PR1 Mathiasen M/Sport's Oreca FLM09 topped the new LMPC class in practice, quickly followed by the new Signatech Nissan LMP2, while Risi Competizione's new Ferrari 458 GTC was the quickest of the GT sportscars.
With so many cars on the grid – and many of them looking rather similar, especially in a speeding blur – you'll need a good spotter's guide if you're watching to tell the difference between them. Fortunately, SpotterGuides.com has hooked us up with the pages we've placed in the gallery below in full resolution for your reference.
Actually watching the race this year will be a new experience for many, as the round-the-clock event won't be covered live on TV in its entirety. Instead a new deal with ABC and ESPN provides a mix of televised and online coverage: You'll be able to watch the full race online (as well as Friday's qualifying sessions) on ESPN3.com, which you can also stream through your XBox.
ABC will air a recap from 12:30 to 2 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), which ESPN2 will show again on Tuesday, March 22. Those outside the U.S., meanwhile, will be able to watch live on americanlemans.com.