This weekend marks a monumental moment for endurance racing, as the 2023 international motorsport season officially launches with Rolex 24 At DAYTONA. This legendary twice-around-the-clock contest has been supported by Rolex since the 1960s, a testament to the incredible feats of speed that Daytona International Speedway has become synonymous with.
The event kicked off last weekend with the Roar Before the Rolex 24, giving the drivers and teams a chance to familiarize themselves with the 5.73 kilometer (3.56 mile) tri-oval circuit. After three days of qualifying, it was the reigning champion, #60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06, driven by Tom Blomqvist, who snagged pole position in the final seconds.
This year’s Rolex 24 At DAYTONA is sure to be an exciting one, as renowned manufacturers such as BMW and Porsche return to the top category and the pioneering Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) cars make their highly anticipated debut. This transatlantic agreement will enable the LMDh machines to compete in championships and competitions across the globe, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the world’s oldest and most iconic endurance race.
“The transatlantic relationship we now have in endurance racing is very important to the sport and its future; it shows comradery, respect and development. This year has brought a number of changes, with advancements in technology and engineering, alongside many new teams and drivers entering. That is what Rolex and motorsport are about – always improving and breaking down the boundaries of possibility.”
– Nine-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen
The 61-car grid includes some of the most esteemed drivers, such as Scott Dixon – a three-time overall Rolex 24 winner and IndyCar legend – and Brendon Hartley, the reigning 2022 FIA World Endurance Champion and 24 Hours of Le Mans 2022 winner. Additionally, Romain Grosjean is making his American endurance debut in the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD Pro) class following his retirement from Formula 1®.
The deep-rooted alliance between Rolex and motorsport began in the 1930s with Sir Malcolm Campbell’s World Land Speed Record attempts, and has continued to grow over the decades. As the Title Sponsor of the 24-hour race since 1992, Rolex recognizes those who triumph at this demanding course with a specially engraved Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona.
The 61st edition of Rolex 24 At DAYTONA starts at 1.40 p.m. local time on Saturday 28 January and is sure to be an event to remember. With the most sustainable, hybrid technology cars and some of the world’s best drivers in the field, it’s shaping up to be a thrilling contest of speed and endurance.
Image credit: Rolex