But at 7 p.m. Friday night, there will be a completely different roar in the infield of the historic road circuit: Music. It’s the debut of “Rock The Grid,” a concert for fans featuring three top acts – multi-platinum recording artist B.o.B, along with Leroy Sanchez and Baby Bash.
Rock The Grid is the vision of IMSA racer and team owner Jim Jonsin of Rebel Rock Racing. Jonsin is a Grammy Award-winning music producer whose credits include hits for Lil Wayne, Beyoncé, Usher, T.I., Pitbull and Eminem. The concert is backed by Continental Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Rebel Rock and IMSA.
“In my five years as a race team owner, driver or just camping out as a race fan, I’ve learned how amazing and diverse the crowds at these events can be,” Jonsin said. “Rock The Grid’s mission is to raise the bar when it comes to at-track entertainment and bring a fresh new generation of fans to motorsports.”
The idea for Rock The Grid actually goes back three years, said IMSA vice-president of marketing David Pettit, when Jonsin and IMSA officials began talking about the concept. Those talks continued, and Sebring seemed like the right place the debut the concept. “Jim came up with acts, and timing that fit and we decided to go for it. There was strategy involved, but it was also an opportunity we jumped on.”
“Rock The Grid is a tremendous addition to the IMSA space,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Continental Tire. "Jim Jonsin is a visionary and I know this vision stemmed from years of his participation in sports car racing as an owner, driver and fan. Continental Tire is proud to help bring this vision to life and provide additional entertainment value for our loyal fan base.
“At the same time, we're thrilled to help introduce our great sport to a new generation of race fans through the A-list talent lineup Rebel Rock has provided. Friday night is going to be memorable.”
For VP Racing Fuels, which has a long history in motorsports, Rock The Grid represents an opportunity to showcase products meant for a broader audience.
“VP is a high-performance, premium brand, and when we learned that IMSA, Rebel Rock and Continental Tire were bringing in premium acts to a performance sports car race, it was a perfect fit for us,” said Chris Wall, Chief Marketing Officer for VP Racing Fuels. “Sports car racing is one of the most exciting spectator sports in the world, so what better way to kick off the Twelve Hours of Sebring than a major concert the night before?
“VP has been intimately involved in racing for 40 years, but we have also launched a line of consumer products that have mass appeal. A venue like a concert is a perfect way for us to push our new Madditive fuel additives out to the general public.”
Rebel Rock artist B.o.B is an Atlanta-based rapper, musician and producer whose hits include “Airplanes,” featuring Haley Williams of Paramore, and the Grammy-nominated “Nothing On You,” featuring Bruno Mars.
Sanchez is a Los Angeles-based recording artist signed to Interscope Records. While recording his debut album, Sanchez has earned 500,000 Facebook likes and Instagram followers, in addition to 1.7 million YouTube subscribers. His cover of Adele’s “Hello,” has been viewed more than 25 million times.
“This all seems perfect for the whole spring break attitude of Sebring,” said IMSA’s Petit. “I think it will be a surprise-and-delight feature for the lot of fans.”