Forty-seven cars, 24 hours, on a 3.5-mile course. IMSA’s Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway is the Golden Corral buffet of racing. You want it, they’ve got it. A world-class lineup of drivers from multiple disciplines, four different racing classes, night racing, pit stops, fan zones, camping, concerts, throwback liveries, and mouth-watering Daytona Dogs.
The field of purpose-built sports cars took the green flag at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and didn’t stop racing until the checkered flag waved at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Teams are comprised of 3–4 drivers that swap out every couple hours. During their off-time, drivers can do anything from cat-nap in their infield motorhome to participate in interviews with lowly journalists. After their breaks, it’s back in the car for another high-speed stint.
In addition to usual offerings, the 57th running of this endurance race had rain. Biblical downpours. Pools of standing water often caused cars to hydroplane. Between accidents initiated by a wet course, only about 14 hours of the 24-hour race were run under the green flag. Conditions got so bad that eventually the race was halted and subsequently stopped 10 minutes short of the 24-hour mark.
Wayne Taylor Racing captured the overall victory in its Cadillac DPi. The team boasted an impressive roster of drivers including Fernando Alonso, an F1 champ who lived up to the hype and made the final pass for the lead.
I stayed at the track for the entire, sopping-wet affair. Lucky for me, the rain truly let loose during the second half of the race, long after I put my camera away. Check out 24 moments of this spectacular 24-hour race.
Oliver Jones broke the Daytona road course track record during qualifying in this Mazda DPi. The previous record was set by P.J. Jones way back in 1993. Both Mazda teams were plagued with mechanical issues about halfway through.