Rolex 24 Cosmograph Daytona 50th Anniversary

The 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona was heralded as the most anticipated sports car race in North American motorsports history. But the event may have even exceeded those lofty expectations.
 
 
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March 23, 2012 - PRLog -- Time is Ticking - Collectors have 24 hours to win the world's rarest watch.
By Emmanuel Lupe
Photography by Stephan Cooper / Rolex & Grand-Am

The 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona was heralded as the most anticipated sports car race in North American motorsports history. But the event may have even exceeded those lofty expectations.

Daytona International Speedway looked to sports car racing in its bid to live up to "The World Center of Racing" when it ran the first event, now known as the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 1962. Spectators rubbed shoulders with competitors throughout the weekend in GRAND-AM's fan-friendly environment. The Daytona International Speedway infield reached its spectator infield camping capacity at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. General consensus: It was the largest crowd in the history of the event, with various attendance estimates by media members on hand ranging from 60,000 to 80,000.

The event buzz included the 50 Years of Champions celebration, in which 29 of the winning cars from the past paraded through the streets of Daytona Beach to the speedway, where they were reunited with 50 champion drivers. The race field included stars from NASCAR, open wheel, Formula One and international sports car racing.

"It was gratifying to see all the famous cars and drivers from the past coming together with the exciting new cars and many of today's top competitors," says GRAND-AM President Tom Bledsoe. "It was fantastic to see the new Daytona Prototypes and GT cars mixing it up at such an intense level for the entire race. It was a pleasure to see all the international drivers and media coming to support the Rolex 24, once again showcasing GRAND-AM racing to the entire world."

More than 100 members of the international media reported on a field, including drivers from 28 different countries and five continents. The race was covered and streamed live in the United States by SPEED and SPEED.com, along with worldwide coverage from Motors TV. Motor Racing Network teamed with motorracingnetwork.com to expand its broadcast coverage to 18 hours, with the racing broadcast supplemented globally by Radio Le Mans.



The racing was outstanding, with both classes going right down to the final lap. Ford scored an overall podium sweep reminiscent of its historic victory in the 1966 Rolex 24, while Porsche topped a record 44-car GT field that featured nine manufacturers, including new exotics from Ferrari and Audi built specifically for Rolex Series competition.

Michael Shank Racing's new-generation Ford/Riley prevailed in a battle that featured 49 lead changes among 22 drivers. NASCAR's AJ Allmendinger and INDYCAR's Justin Wilson joining DP regulars Ozz Negri and John Pew in accepting the trophies and coveted Rolex Daytona Cosmographs after the race. Andy Lally, the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year, celebrated his return to the Rolex Series by joining Magnus Racing teammates John Potter, Richard Lietz and Rene Rast in dominating in the GT class.

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Tags:Rolex 24 at Daytona, Rolex 24, rolex Cosmograph Daytona, Grand-Am Racing, Emmanuel Lupe, Jetset Magazine
Industry:Automotive, Event, Entertainment
Location:Scottsdale - Arizona - United States
Subject:Features
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