And the winner is… after 808 laps and approx. 4,630 kilometres the winner was determined on the evening of 28 January 2018: “Mustang Sampling Racing”-Team was ahead with its Cadillac Dpi at the 56th edition of the legendary “24h von Daytona”. A total of 50 vehicles took part in the three categories “Prototypes”, “GTLM” and “GTD”. Fernando Alonso’s guest start caused a sensation in advance, but in the end his team could only reach 13th place in the prototypes and 38th place overall.
Here you can see the winners with their Cadillac Dpi after the race:
The prestigious endurance race will be held non-stop for 24 hours (almost twelve hours a night) at the international circuit in Daytona, Florida. The world’s best racers come together and try to finish this cult race as winners – and win a Cosmograph Daytona, the legendary trophy of this competition. Rolex has supported the Daytona International Speedway since 1959 and has been title sponsor of the race since 1992.
“It’s all about the clock,” said Scott Pruett, one of the Rolex 24 At Daytona®’s most successful racers. In 2013, Pruett clinched his fifth victory… and win his fifth Cosmograph Daytona. Each one has the date, the race logo and the magic word “Winner” engraved on the back of the case.
By this time, five victories were the record of Daytona legend Hurley Haywood, who achieved his first victory in the race in 1973. In 2012, at the age of 64, Hurley Haywood ended his career as a pilot in the 50th anniversary race of the Rolex 24 At Daytona®. He became famous for his saying:“If you still have a little spark of energy left, then you haven’t done your job properly.” As Grand Marshal, Haywood – his cosmograph Daytona on his wrist – gave the starting signal for the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona® on January 28, 2017.
In 2017, Ricky Taylor and his team-mates Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli and Jeff Gordon won the coveted trophy.
Clock and race: a common past
Of course, the racing chronograph was named after the American speed paradise Daytona in Florida. Already at the beginning of the last century, famous for its speed records, some 80 official records were set on the sandy beach of Daytona between 1903 and 1935. The famous “measured mile”, a mile marked in the sand with a sign indicating some of the records, such as those of W. K. Vanderbilt and Barney Oldfield, was used to calculate the speed. Vanderbilt set the first world record in Daytona in 1904, at 148 km/h (92 mph). Barney Oldfield was crowned king of speed in 1910, after he managed 210 km/h (131 mph) in his “Lightning Benz”, which was “close to the absolute speed limit with which a person could ever move”, Oldfield explained.
In March 1935 Malcolm Campbell set the last official record at Daytona Beach and achieved the highest speed ever measured here. His legendary racing car “Bluebird” managed 531 km/h (330 mph) in the first run, but afterwards problems with running in the opposite direction led to a lower average speed. From then on, the land speed records were increasingly set in the Bonneville Salt Flats in the Utah salt desert, while the golden age of stock car racing began in Daytona.
A good two decades later, in the mid-1950s, the step was taken towards racing driver modernity with the construction of the “Daytona International Speedway”. Last but not least, the deterioration of the sand track on Daytona Beach was the reason for building a permanent race track with hard ground. In 1959, the fastest course in the United States at that time and one of the world’s first”superspeedways” was opened.
Built entirely for speed, the 31 degree elevated curves of the construction have a height difference of more than ten meters. This enormous angle of inclination enables the driver to steer the corners at high speed without being thrown off the track by centrifugal force and also offers the spectators the best possible view of the entire track.
The current models of the Cosmograph Daytona
The latest stainless steel version of the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona was presented by Rolex at Baselworld 2016, with white and black dial.
The black Cerachrom monobloc bezel is particularly striking (instead of an engraved precious metal bezel), which is extremely scratch-resistant, corrosion-resistant and UV-resistant due to its hardness.
At Baselworld 2017, Rolex expanded the Daytona range with three new 18-carat gold variants:
In this video you can see a comparison between the current stainless steel models and their predecessor:
Continuously updated article, originally put online in March 2017.