Ultimate Test Of Man & Machine
2017 Rolex 24 at DAYTONA race report
Rolex’s connection to Daytona dates back to the early 20th century. Daytona Beach is a city on Florida’s Atlantic coast and is world renowned for hosting iconic NASCAR races. The long, flat and firm Daytona Beach played host to 14 land speed records in the early 20th century, five of which were set by Sir Malcolm Campbell, including his fastest official record of 276mph in 1935 at the wheel of his mighty Bluebird with a Rolex on his wrist. The partnership was formed in 1992 and Rolex became the Official Timepiece and Title Sponsor of the 24-hour Daytona classic, further strengthening the link between the race and the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona watch.
The 25th year of partnership sees No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac Dpi-V.R winning the 55th edition of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, completing 659 laps of the famous Daytona International
Speedway. Ricky Taylor took the chequered flag first after a taxing 24 hours ensuring that his teammates, Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli and NASCAR legend, Jeff Gordon, and himself were awarded the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA trophy and a customised Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. This is one rare motor sport event in the world that tests the true limits of man and machine against the clock.
Every second counts, and Ricky Taylor truly demonstrated the meaning of it: “After an intense race in tough conditions, it is such a relief to stand in Victory Lane as winners of ‘The Rolex’. We take part in this race with the dream of winning the 24-hour marathon but also of one day putting a Rolex Daytona on our wrists. It really is the ultimate reward in motor sport and a reminder of our success. I’m very proud to be added to the accomplished list of Rolex 24 At Daytona winners.”
Hurley Haywood, five-time winner of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, waved the green flag at 14:30 local time on Saturday, 28 January, officially marking the start of America’s famous race.
The Cadillac Prototype trio of the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing, #10 and #5 Mustang Sampling Racing set the pace at the start before a favourite #31 suffered steering issues at the eighth hour. As night falls, rain began and the weather conditions made the track treacherous. Even as Sunday morning crept in, extreme weather conditions extended the race by twohour for safety car periods.
The final league of a race is always the most exciting and this is no different. Counting down the final minutes on the Rolex clock, the race headed for a thrilling battle as leading Cadillacs #10 and #5 took the lead. Throughout the 24 hours, #10 successfully withstood the challenges and won the rivals in term of skill and endurance. It took the chequered flag by a mere 0.671 seconds from its sister car.
Hurley Haywood, one of the greatest endurance racing drivers of all time said,
“This Rolex 24 has been one of the most challenging races we have seen here in Daytona, which makes the win even more rewarding. Racing for 24 hours puts extreme demand on both teams and drivers and pushes them to the absolute limit, so there is no question today that the race winners have earned their speciality engraved Rolex Daytona watch – the experience is something that stays with a driver forever.”
#66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing took the winning spot in a competitive GT Le
Mans class having battled with a close
#911 Porsche GT Team while holding off
#62 Risi Competizione. #38 Performance
Tech Motorsports emerged victory in the Prototype Challenge (PC) title and #28 Alegra Motorsports the GT Daytona (GTD) class.
Only 41 of 55 race starters made it to the finish, which proves the punishing nature of the two-lap test of the clock. This 3.56-mile circuit demands a unique combination of resilience, skill and awareness, as well as reliability and performance, proving that everyone who finishes after 24 hours is a winner too.