New technologies triumph at the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona

New technologies triumph at the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona

30.01.2023: After a thrilling 24 hours, the #60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 took victory today at the 2023 Rolex 24 At DAYTONA the first champions of this new era of endurance racing.


After a thrilling 24 hours, the #60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 took victory today at the 2023 Rolex 24 At DAYTONA – the first champions of this new era of endurance racing.



The scene of many extraordinary and legendary contests over the decades, Rolex has supported competition at Daytona International Speedway® since its inception in 1959, before becoming Title Sponsor of the twice-around-the-clock event in 1992.


 


A record-breaking crowd watched as the Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) cars made their debut at the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA on Saturday. Part of the revived Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class, these pioneering machines demonstrated speed and precision among the 61-car grid.



When day turned to night, strong winds made for challenging conditions on the high-speed straights and steep banking of the speedway. As morning broke an uninterrupted stint of green-flag racing saw driver and machine in perfect harmony, testing these new cars to their limits. However, as the Rolex clock counted down to the final hours of the race, a series of caution periods contributed to a dramatic final few laps.


 


Having emphatically started and finished the race, while also securing the fastest lap, Tom Blomqvist took the chequered flag behind the wheel of the #60 car at 1.40 p.m. local time this afternoon (Sunday 29 January). In recognition of the skill and composure required to triumph at this motor sport marathon, Rolex awarded the winners with a specially engraved Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona in Victory Lane.



Reflecting on their second consecutive win and the dedication of his teammates, Tom Blomqvist says: “This race is so special and that’s mainly because of the watch. Ask any driver and they will say it’s the dream to win a Daytona. I have to thank my team; they have done a phenomenal job with this new car and were so good with our strategy, staying calm and relaxed throughout. The feeling on the last lap was incredible, nothing beats it.”




 


The entrants in all five categories at this year’s event put on a masterful display as they negotiated North America’s beloved 5.73 kilometre (3.56 mile) tri-oval circuit. The Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class saw highly-competitive racing, with the #55 Proton Competition Oreca LMP2-07 Gibson securing victory by a remarkable 0.016 seconds.


Having led for the closing two hours, the #17 AWA Duqueine D08-VK took honours in the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) category. In the Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) classes, the #79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 prevailed in GTD Pro, while the #27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 raced to their first GTD class win.


 


The 2023 Rolex 24 At DAYTONA launched the Swiss watchmaker’s motor sport season, ahead of what is a milestone year for racing around the world. Having put on a memorable display in Daytona, the LMDh cars will now compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans later this year, an event which Rolex has partnered since 2001.



Hurley Haywood, five-time overall winner at the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA and three-time overall winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, says: 
“This year’s race was the first of a whole new generation of race cars and while there has been teething problems, in general these cars have proven to be fairly reliable. I think the future of endurance racing is really strong and I’m looking forward to seeing these new cars run on a full-time basis as they go on to race at the centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”




 


ROLEX AND MOTOR SPORT



Rolex’s close ties with motor sport date back to Sir Malcolm Campbell’s World Land Speed Record successes in the 1930s, when he became the first driver to break the 300 mph barrier (483 km/h) at the wheel of his car, Bluebird. Since then, Rolex’s presence in motor racing has grown steadily, its support extending to revered endurance events, such as the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship. In 2013, Rolex became associated with Formula 1®, the pinnacle of motor sport, having supported Rolex Testimonee Sir Jackie Stewart since 1968.


The three-time FIA Formula 1® Drivers’ World Champion has been joined by fellow high achievers from the world of motor sport: Tom Kristensen, the record nine-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Mark Webber, the multiple Formula 1® race winner and 2015 FIA World Endurance Champion, and Jenson Button, 2009 FIA Formula 1® Drivers’ World Champion. Most recently, Jamie Chadwick, current Indy NXT driver, three-time W Series champion and the sport’s most exciting young female talent became part of the Rolex family. The brand also has a global appreciation for classic automotive events steeped in elegance, beauty and tradition, including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and the Goodwood Revival.




Virgine Chevalier, photos Rolex




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30.01.2023 / MaP

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