The 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona ended with the Konica Minolta Cadillac taking the checkered flag after 833 hard-fought laps, but the race is so much more than the finish. With four classes on the track at the same time, and “twice around the clock” endurance to contend with, IMSA endurance racing has a totally different flavor than anything else we’ve ever seen. Compared to NASCAR’s Daytona 500, IMSA’s Rolex 24 at Daytona brings in a much smaller crowd, so it’s easy to move from corner to corner and catch the action up close—or sit in the stands and see virtually the entire track from a single vantage point. We’re still recovering from our post-race exhaustion, but here are a few of our favorite shots that help capture what it’s like to see the race in person.
From the roof of the suites, almost the whole track is visible, and the view from the grandstands is almost as good. Lots of spectators tailgate in the parking lots and spend the race there, so you can easily move about the grounds.
The infield had several notable racing legends, including the number 14 Lowenbrau Special Porsche 962 that raced in the GTP class from 1984–88 powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six.
The “Spirit of Le Mans” 1976 Corvette raced in the IMSA GT Series. The gonzo widebody was developed by John Greenwood and proved to be a competent road racer, thanks in no small part to its Kinsler-injected big-block that produced somewhere around 1000 horsepower.
After an autograph session and prior to the race start, fans are invited to see the cars up close as part of the “grid walk.” Fans could also experience the track’s banking first-hand. There aren’t many professional races that allow that sort of on-the-ground involvement.
Digital panels on the race cars show their position in the class during the race, but when they pit, it tracks their overall position among all cars. It has to be harrowing as a crew member to see the number climb up as the field passes while a car comes in for fuel and new rubber. These two photos were taken seconds apart.
Corvette Racing’s pits have a two-story bank of monitors where crew chiefs can view video feeds, monitor vehicle standings and position on the tracks, and see live metrics from on-board the team’s race cars.
As expected during a night race, brake rotors glow as racers downshift and brake into the horseshoe in Daytona’s infield. The infield’s brightly lit Ferris wheel adds some color to the otherwise dark photos, and it’s especially nice when the cycling colors match the livery.
What’s your favorite race, or which are the ones that made your bucket list? Share your IMSA memories in the comments section below.