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This month, Rolex 24 at Daytona celebrates its 60th birthday and marking its diamond jubilee as one of motorsport’s most fable races and is the world-famous Swiss watchmaker’s 30th year as title sponsor. The last weekend of January will see over 60 cars competing against the clock on one of America’s hallowed grounds for motor racing.

Since the mid-1930s to the 50s, the old oval Daytona Beach-Road Course was highly instrumental in the formation of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and the course became venue for 15 world land speed records as well. Then in 1959, William France Sr. decided to build a new 4-kilometer (2.5 mile) permanent racetrack to become the Daytona International Speedway. Its inaugural edition of the historic endurance race took place in 1962 and started as a three-hour race that soon became the 24-hour endurance race of today.

As part of the forthcoming 60th anniversary celebrations, the speedway will honor its previous champions, including Mario Andretti, Hurley Haywood and Scott Pruett, including the race cars that carried them to victory.

Scott Pruett, five-time overall winner of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, says :”The testament of time is present in various aspects of the Rolex 24. For me personally, having raced there on 24 occasions, and having won it many times, the excitement never grows old. Now celebrating the 60th anniversary, reliving the legacies that looped this track, I keep coming back to the Champion’s Creed: ‘It’s all about the watch’. Rolex and the 24 hours at Daytona are synonymous, as they continuously stand the test of time, showcase perseverance and hold fast to tradition.”

The challengers for the race is an interesting and exciting combination of rookies and decorated champions from across motor sport disciplines. At the front of the five-class field, the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class will see the increase to seven entries for its final season, before it makes way for the Le Mans Daytona h (LMDh) category. Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson also returns to the all-star #48 Ally Cadillac Dpi-V.R., alongside reigning FIA World Endurance Champion Kamui Kobayashi and 24 Hours of Le Mans winners Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Rockenfeller.

Also, Chip Ganassi Racing recently confirmed their pair of Cadillacs, with the #01 car featuring multiple race winners Renger van der Zande, Sébastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon, with current IndyCar champion Alex Palou completing the line-up. The Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class will see IndyCar’s young frontrunners Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta join last year’s podium drivers Devlin DeFrancesco and Eric Lux aboard the #81 DragonSpeed ORECA 07-Gibson. Both GT classes will run identical specifications, with the new Fédération de l’Automobile (FIA) GT3-based GT Daytona PRO (GTD PRO) class replacing the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category for this year’s championship. TR3 Racing and Lamborghini are teaming up with entries in the GTD PRO class and the GT Daytona (GTD) class, with both cars featuring previous Rolex 24 winners.

This race produces exacting test of skill and endurance that pushes drivers and their cars to the limit, having the teams race through about 800 laps for 24 hours. Winners of the race get to receive the coveted a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona watch.

Endurance racing legend and nine-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Tom Kristensen who’s also a Rolex Testimonee,, says :”In design and presence, the watch is more than just a name; it’s an identity that reflects a successful race and a successful time in a driver’s life. When you get to the top step of a podium, you see your teammates for the first time in the 24 hours and, together, you are full of the happiness, joy and relief. It’s a really important moment and the watch means a lot to the winners of these races.”

In main photo: Daytona Beach circa 1955

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