The Rolex 24 at Daytona kicks off the 2013 sports car racing season tomorrow at 12:30 PM Pacific Time. Begun in 1962 as the 3 hour Daytona Continental and expanded in 1966 to its current 24 hour format, the Rolex 24 has been a premier international sports car race since its very beginning.
Rolex 24 Class Structure
The Rolex 24 is part of the Grand-Am series and runs to its class structure. Historically, Grand-Am has had two classes: DP (Daytona Prototype), a prototype class and GT (Grand Touring), a production sports car based class. This year, beginning with the Rolex 24, Grand-Am has added the GX class to accommodate cars and manufacturers that do not fit neatly into either DP or GT. For the Rolex 24, the GX class has entries that include the Porsche Cayman and the diesel-powered Mazda6.
SoCal Racers At Rolex 24
At this year’s Rolex 24, Southern California is represented by following racers:
|Charlie Kimbal||DP||01||BMW/Riley||Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabates|
|Alex Gurney||DP||99||Corvette DP||GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing|
|Boris Said||GT||31||Corvette||Marsh Racing|
|Boris Said||GT||94||BMW M3||Turner Motorsport|
|Alex Figge||GT||51||Audi R8||APR Motorsport LTD UK|
|Jim Michaelian||GT||68||Porsche GT3||TRG|
|Patrick Long||GT||73||Porsche GT3||Park Place Motorsports|
|Kelly Collins||GT||80||Porsche GT3||TruSpeed Motorsports|
|Bill Auberlen||GT||93||BMW M3||Turner Motorsport|
|Joel Miller||GX||00||Mazda6 GX||Visit Florida Racing/Speedsource/Yellow Dragon Motorsports|
Rolex 24 – Race Day
Weather should be fantastic for the race weekend – sunny and low to mid 70s at Green Flag with no chance of precipitation thru Sunday. More info, including spotters guide and live timing, can be found here.
POST RACE UPDATE
2013 Rolex 24 DP Results
What a race! Both DP and GT races weren’t decided until the final minutes of the contest. The #01 BMW Riley of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, driven by Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Juan Pablo Montoya, Charlie Kimball, & Scott Dixon took the checkered flag of the 2013 Rolex 24 after an extremely strong – well frankly, dominating – performance over 709 laps. The Ganassi/Sabates BMW Rileys had been untouchable in open racing; the multiple cautions throughout the race kept it close. I’m sure there will be lots of discussion about balance of performance and the BMWs in the following days and weeks.
2013 Rolex 24 GT Results
A Ganassi DP winning the Rolex 24 is nothing new or unexpected. The performance of the Audi R8s in the GT race was both. If not for the Rum Bum Racing Audi running out of gas on the final lap, Audi would have swept the GT podium at Daytona. As it was, the #24 Audi R8 of Alex Job Racing, driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Oliver Jarvis, Edoardo Montara, & Dion von Moltke took the top spot on the podium with 678 laps on the books. At one point in the final few laps, any of the top three Audi R8s looked like they could have won the race – it was truly a nip and tuck finish.
2013 Rolex 24 GX Results
The new GX class was a tale of two cars: the Porsche Cayman and the Mazda 6. All three Mazdas dropped out early in the race due to problems with their new Skyactiv diesel engines; the last Mazda running, the #70 Speedsource car, dropped out after 51 laps leaving the GX race as a contest between the three Caymans. The #16 Napleton Racing Cayman driven by David Donohue, Shane Lewis, Nelson Canache, & Jim Norman took the checkered flag after 635 laps looking nearly as pristine as when in started the race 24 hours prior.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona was an exciting start to the 2013 sports car racing season, especially in the GT class where Audi, Porsche, and Ferrari all looked strong. In the DP class, the domination of the BMW Rileys could portend some balance of performance issues that need to be addressed. In the GX class, hopefully Mazda will sort out the engine issues and be joined by more makes to give the Porsche Caymans a challenge.
The Speed broadcast we not one of their best. Network coverage broke away during the night to show race reruns, reality shows, and infomercials. They also interrupted close racing in the last hour for commercial after commercial. I really was not interested in buying a pancake maker with 30 minutes to go in a close Rolex 24 race! On the positive side, the crew at Radio Le Mans did a fantastic job with a streaming audio broadcast throughout the race – notably a great call throughout the night with Rooftopray providing the video.
Of the SoCal racers, Charlie Kimball takes a watch home as part of the winning Ganassi/Sabates team. Better luck for the rest of the year for our hometown guys.