For the past 52 years, Daytona Speedway has been home to the Rolex 24 of Daytona, a high endurance race for high performance cars. The race typically sees teams of four drivers consists, who are considered “gentleman drivers,” and one car from either the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series or the American Le Mans Series. While the event has featured a number of different names since its start in 1962, the challenge has remained a renowned endurance race.
The 24 hour race is an experience like none other. While other endurance events, such as the Le Mans of America, are in the summer, the Rolex of Daytona takes place in the winter, making for a longer night. Both the drivers and their vehicle must withstand 24 hours of high speed endurance, both mentally and physically, to be the first across the finish line.
This year is Ferrari’s third year hosting their own booth within the field, and the second year that they’ve participated in the race since the event’s name was changed to The Rolex 24 of Daytona. Sitting at turn one of the Daytona Speedway was a set of two story tents owned by Ferrari. Inside these tents sat employees of Ferrari USA and the General Managers of every Ferrari Dealer in the United States with their honored guests.
The booth’s ground floor boasted a display of four incredibly rare vehicles: one of three Ferrari 250 GTs, Alonso Massa’s F1 racecar, a Ferrari FF and the not-yet-available Ferrari 458 Speciale. Walking up the stairs, guests were greeted by a multilevel room filled with gourmet foods and an open bar. Between the two tents was a beautiful furnished balcony that brought you so close to the race you could practically feel the air shift as the cars blasted by.
The race ended on Feb. 26 at 2:10 p.m. Sadly, during the race there was a brutal accident when one of the vehicles lost power and was struck at an extremely high speed by another car, causing both drivers to be rushed to the hospital. The race ended with the Level 5 Motorsports No. 555 Ferrari 458 Italia in first place, though it was a close call with the Flying Lizard Motorsports No. 45 Audi R8; the uncertainty arose when the judges were unclear as to whether or not foul play was present. If you have the race waiting for you on DVR, then we apologize for the spoiler, but it was an amazing turn of events to behold.
We send our best wishes for a quick recovery to Memo Gidley, who broke his back in the accident during the early stages of the race, as well as to his family and teammates.