What You Need to Know About Rolex 24 at Daytona
Rolex has historically had a deep relationship with the world of sports, sharing many of the values that motivate athletes in their perpetual pursuit of excellence. One of these long-standing bonds is that with motorsports, hence its strong support for racing events such as Formula 1, FIA World Endurance Championship, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Rolex’s close ties with motorsports date back to Malcolm Campbell’s world land speed record successes in 1935, when he became the first driver to break the 300mph barrier (483km/h) in his car, Bluebird, in Utah, USA. At the time, Campbell had been wearing a Rolex watch and he went on to smash the world speed record nine times between 1924 and 1935, including five times at Daytona Beach in Florida. He later wrote a letter to Rolex endorsing the precision and durability of the watch, complimenting: “I have now been using my Rolex watch for a while, and it is keeping perfect time under somewhat strenuous conditions."
Over the decades, Rolex's alliance with motorsports grew and strengthened, which was something that three-time Formula 1 world champion and Rolex Testimonee Jackie Stewart observed. He said: "Few sports have ever been blessed with enduring relationships such as that of Rolex and motor racing. Rolex has always been a company that thinks long-term and fostered remarkable partnerships, and as such, has been part of tremendous moments in history."
That is why in 2021, Rolex marks the 30th time as the title sponsor of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the fabled endurance racing competition held annually at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.
"It is always with great excitement that the start of the motor sport season arrives with the Rolex 24, where attention to detail and the very highest standards of performance are fundamental to achieve success,” adds Stewart.
Success at the Rolex 24 At Daytona demands precision, concentration, endurance and of course, top-notch driving skills—the exact traits demonstrated by Portuguese professional racing driver Filipe Albuquerque as he drove to victory in the 2021 edition of the race in January. It was close competition as Albuquerque's Wayne Taylor Racing team edged out the Ally Cadillac Racing by merely 4.704 seconds to clinch the chequered flag.
Here are four interesting facts to know about Rolex 24 at Daytona.
1/4 How Rolex 24 at Daytona got its name
This year, Rolex celebrated its 30th edition as the title sponsor of the prestigious North American contest. Since 1992, the then-named 24 Hours of Daytona was changed to Rolex 24 at Daytona, when the watchmaker earned the naming rights as the title sponsor.
2/4 Who has gotten the most wins in recent years?
At the 2021 edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona , the No 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 DPi of the Wayne Taylor Racing team was crowned the victor with the collective mileage of 2,872.92 miles (4,623.52 km), making it the team's third consecutive year of winning the race.
Founded by Wayne Taylor, a renowned racer in his heydays, the team has seen five victories (2005, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021) in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. It also featured his sons Ricky and Jordan as part of the drivers' line-up in previous years.
This year's team had not only traded its Cadillac DPi-V.R for the Acura ARX-05 but also seen a refreshment in the team's line-up. Ricky Taylor rejoined his father's team for the first time since his participation in Rolex at Daytona 2017.
3/4 What is Grand Tour Daytona?
The GTD (Grand Tour Daytona) class vehicles can be characterised as production model cars that have been modified, strictly following the global FIA-GT3 specifications. The GTD class is home to leading car manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Dodge, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche. The GTD class is usually the most competitive class with the largest number of entries, with the leading vehicles constantly changing throughout the 24-hour race. With the increasing difficulty of completing laps and avoiding the faster vehicle as the race runs into the night, making it to the end of the 24-hour race is considered a victory in itself. The GTD class truly embodies the spirit of endurance of Rolex 24 at Daytona.
4/4 What do the winners of Rolex 24 at Daytona get?
Aside from the attractive prize money that comes with winning in the respective classes in Rolex 24 at Daytona, all winners receive the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, in recognition of the dedication and excellence required to take victory at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“The Daytona is one of the most legendary Rolex timepieces—it is the ultimate racing driver’s watch, closely associated with speed and endurance. The watch is inextricably linked with this iconic race, making it the greatest and most fitting honour for those who have the privilege of visiting Victory Lane" said Rolex Testimonee Jackie Stewart as he reflected on the prestige bestowed upon winning drivers when they receive one of the most sought-after trophies in motorsport.
Never been to the Rolex 24 at Daytona race? Watch here to soak in the atmosphere of the adrenaline-laced competition.
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