The Rolex 24 at Daytona is one of the most prestigious races in the world. It’s a 24-hour endurance race that tests both the drivers and the cars to their limits. The Rolex 24 at Daytona is held every year on the last weekend in January. This prestigious race always attracts some of the biggest names in racing. Rolex has been the event’s title sponsor since 1992, and the partnership helped make the race what it is today.
The History of the Race
Daytona Beach, Florida, has been home to racing since 1902 when the first race was held on the Daytona Beach and Road Course. The race was initially known as the Daytona Beach Road Race, and the organizers held it on a 4.2-mile (6.8 km) course along the streets of Daytona Beach. Unfortunately, the Daytona Beach and Road Course closed down in 1958.
In 1959, the race was moved to the newly-opened Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR founder William “Bill” France Sr. built the race track to host the races formally held at the Daytona Beach and Road Course. The Daytona International Speedway is a 2.5-mile (4 km) oval track that hosts some of the most iconic moments in motorsport history.
In 1962, the Daytona Continental – a three-hour endurance race – was held for the first time. The first Continental was won by Dan Gurney, driving a Lotus 19. This race gave birth to the racing rule that a car must cross the finish line by its own power to be classified as a finisher, which is still in place today.
In 1964, the race track was expanded, extending the format to 12 hours. Then, the organizers extended it to a 24-hour format in 1966, similar to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The first 24-hour race was held on February 4-5, 1966, and Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby won the event in a Ford GT40 Mk II. In the same year, Suzy Dietrich, Janet Guthrie, and Donna Mae Mims made history as the first-ever all-female crew to finish in an international 24-hour race. In the 1970s, the teams were expanded to three members.
In 1992, Rolex became the title sponsor of the event, and it was renamed the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The race has been held every year since then, and it continues to attract some of the biggest names in motorsports.
The 2022 Rolex 24 Daytona Race
The 2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona took place on January 29 and 30, 2022. The event celebrated the 60th running of the 24-hour endurance race since its inception in 1962. It also opened the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona is always a highly anticipated event, and the 2022 race did not disappoint. There was plenty of drama and excitement, and the racing action was top-notch.
In the end, the overall winner was Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian, who took home the Rolex 24 at Daytona trophy. The team’s drivers drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to victory, completing 761 laps around the Daytona International Speedway.
It was a close race, and the Meyer Shank Racing team had to fight hard for the win. With around three hours left in the race, they were still at the fourth spot. Thanks to Tom Blomqvist’s strong performance, they were able to move up to the first spot before passing to Castroneves.
During the final 30 minutes, Castroneves maintained the lead, blocking Ricky Taylor, his former teammate and two-time champion, from getting a second Rolex 24 Daytona championship in a row. With a final margin of 3.028 seconds, Castroneves stopped at the start-finish line and climbed up the catch fence.
This was Castroneves’ second consecutive Rolex 24 win as he was a member of Wayne Taylor Racing last year, which was also last year’s Daytona champion.
The Meyer Shank Racing team battled against some tough competition, but in the end, they came out on top and took home the prestigious Rolex 24 at Daytona trophy. This was their first IMSA win since 2020.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona is one of the most prestigious races in motorsport. It’s a true test of driver and machine and always attracts a big crowd.
For 2023, the Rolex 24 at Daytona will take place from January 26 to 29 and will feature new hybrid prototypes for the return of the iconic IMSA GTP class. Make sure to mark your calendars and catch all the action!
The Coveted Prize: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
While the Rolex 24 at Daytona is one of the most prestigious races in motorsport, the prize that awaits the winner is just as coveted.
The winning team receives the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, a special wristwatch specifically designed for racing drivers. The watch features a unique design with a tachymeter scale on the bezel, which allows drivers to measure their average speed.
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is also a highly accurate chronograph, resistant to water and shock. This makes it the perfect watch for racing drivers who need a timepiece that can withstand the rigors of the track.
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is a coveted prize, and it’s the perfect way to commemorate a win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
First introduced in 1963, this watch was named after the place where racing flourished. It has three distinct generations.
The original series was in production from 1963 to 1989 and had a manual-winding movement. This series had four-digit reference or model numbers and were produced in small quantities.
The first versions of this series were some of the rarest Daytonas. They didn’t have the Oyster features that enable water resistance, but later versions did include the Oyster features.
The most notable Daytona of this series is the “Paul Newman” Daytona. It was named after the actor who wore it every day after his wife gave it to him as a gift.
The second series was in production from 1988 to 2000 and had an automatic movement. This was the first series to have the Rolex caliber 4030, based on the Zenith El Primero movement.
This series had five-digit reference or model numbers and were produced in larger quantities than the original series.
In 1991, a special edition was produced as gifts for top Rolex directors. Referred to as the Chairman Rolex Daytona, only 10 of these watches were made, and they are some of the rarest Daytonas in existence.
The third series was introduced in 2000 and is still in production. It has an automatic movement with a chronograph function. This series has six-digit reference or model numbers.
The most distinguishable feature of this series is the new dial design. The manufacturer moved the running seconds sub-dial from the 9 o’clock to the 6 o’clock position. They also positioned the two sub-dials at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions.
When Rolex became the title sponsor of the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1992, they named the watch after the race and the place. It has been a part of the prizes given to the winners ever since.
The Rarest Daytona
The most iconic and collectible Daytona is the Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona. As mentioned above, it was named after the actor who wore it every day after his wife, Joanne Woodward, gave it to him as a gift when he decided to venture into automobile racing in 1972.
Only one out of 20 Rolex Daytonas was produced with the exotic Paul Newman dial. At the time, these dials made these watches slower to sell compared to other Rolex models. Because of this, the company only made limited Rolex watches for sale with this feature. It is estimated that only 2000 to 3000 “Paul Newman” dial variants were ever made.
In 1984, Newman passed on his Daytona to his daughter’s boyfriend, James Cox. Phillips Auction House sold the watch at auction in October 2017 for a record-setting price of $17.7 million, making it one of the most expensive Rolex watches ever sold at auction.
A Timepiece Worn by Speedsters and Winners
As one of the most iconic watches in the world, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is the perfect prize for the winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
It’s a watch that symbolizes the speed, precision, and endurance required to win this grueling race. It’s also a watch with a long history that will continue for many years to come.
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is the perfect watch for anyone who loves speed and winning. It’s a watch that is perfect for the race car driver, the professional athlete, and anyone who loves a challenge; it’s a watch worn by winners.
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona can also be available to the public. However, interested buyers often face a waiting list due to high demand and limited availability.
However, if you want your very own Daytona, you can find one here at Bob’s Watches. We have a wide selection of pre-owned Rolex Daytona watches available. Shop now and find your perfect Daytona.