Rolex 24 At Daytona Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary
Rolex 24 At Daytona Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary

The year 2022 marks the diamond jubilee of the 24-hour sports car endurance race, Rolex 24 At Daytona. Held annually at Daytona International Speedway in Florida, this year, motorsports’ most fabled race will be held from January 29-30th, where we will witness a total of 61 cars compete against the clock. While the 24 Hour […]

The year 2022 marks the diamond jubilee of the 24-hour sports car endurance race, Rolex 24 At Daytona. Held annually at Daytona International Speedway in Florida, this year, motorsports’ most fabled race will be held from January 29-30th, where we will witness a total of 61 cars compete against the clock. While the 24 Hour Daytona turns 60 this year, Rolex also celebrates its 30th anniversary as the title sponsor.

 

Action at Daytona International Speedway in 2021.

 

Rolex 24 At Daytona: A History

 

Since the mid-1930s, the endurance race has captured the hearts and minds of spectators and

 

competitors. Until the 1950s, the oval Daytona Beach-Road was the venue for the first major automobile race of the year in North America. In 1959, Willian France Sr. (founder of NASCAR) decided to build a new 4km (2.5 miles) racetrack called the Daytona International Speedway. The new permanent racetrack featured designs that allowed higher speeds and gave the spectators and fans a better view of the cars while racing. It is currently the third-largest, single-lit outdoor facility. The inaugural edition of the endurance race took place in 1962, and it initially started with a three-hour contest which was later extended to 24 hours.

 

Daytona Beach in 1955

 

Rolex Partnership With 24-Hours Of Daytona

 

Rolex has been an avid supporter of the race since the early 1960s. It has named one of its

 

most iconic watches after the race. But the relationship between the two goes back even

 

further, when Sir Malcolm Campbell, the so-called King of Speed, set five World Land

 

Speed Records at Daytona Beach, the fastest in 1935, behind the wheel of Bluebird with a

 

Rolex Oyster on his wrist.

 

The national anthem plays before the running of the 2021 Rolex 24 At
Daytona.

 

Scott Pruett, five-time overall winner of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, says: “The testament

 

of time is present in various aspects of the Rolex 24. For me personally, having raced there

 

on 24 occasions and having won it many times, the excitement never grows old. Now

 

celebrating the 60th anniversary, reliving the legacies that looped this track, I keep coming

 

back to the Champion’s Creed: ‘It’s all about the watch’. Rolex and the 24 hours at Daytona

 

are synonymous, as they continuously stand the test of time, showcase perseverance and hold

 

fast to tradition.”

 

Scott Preuett performing Grand Marshall duties at the 2019 race.

 

60th Anniversary Celebration:

 

The diamond jubilee celebration of the Rolex 24 At Daytona race is underway, and there

 

are many aspects to look forward to. These include honouring previous champions, including

 

Mario Andretti, Hurley Haywood and Scott Pruett, as well as the machines which carried

 

them to victory. The 2022 24 Hours of Daytona is also set to act as the curtain-raiser for

 

the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The race was preceded by the popular

 

Roar Before The Rolex 24, where drivers would have the opportunity to familiarize

 

themselves with the circuit. This three-day event (January 21st-23rd) culminated into a

 

100-minute qualifying race to determine the starting grid of the main race.

 

The 2022 edition of the Rolex 24 At Daytona race includes a combination of new racers

 

and decorated champions from across the field of motorsports. The roster includes seven-time

 

NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson who returns to the all-star #48 Ally Cadillac Dpi-V.R., alongside reigning FIA World Endurance Champion Kamui Kobayashi and 24 Hours of Le Mans winners Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Rockenfeller.

 

Former Danish racing driver and Rolex testimonee, Tom Kristensen, wearing
his Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona.

 

The winners of the race will receive an engraved Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona.

 

Talking about his win over 24 hours, Rolex testimonee, endurance racing legend and nine-

 

time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Tom Kristensen, says: “In design and presence, the watch

 

is more than just a name; it’s an identity that reflects a successful race and a successful time

 

in a driver’s life. When you get to the top step of a podium, you see your teammates for the

 

first time in the 24 hours, and together, you are full of happiness, joy and relief. It’s a

 

really important moment, and the watch means a lot to the winners of these races.”

 

Image Courtesy: Rolex Watches

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