The HSR folks posted this on YouTube about a month ago, and I somehow missed it. 24 Hours of Daytona winner Jim Pace narrates as Jochen Mass hauls butt around Daytona in the rain, aboard a classic Porsche 911 from the IROC series. You couldn’t have a pair of better instructors than these two.
While I have known to be a bit of a crotchety guy in the last couple of years, for some reason my overly critical attitude doesn’t often make it into my writing. Not sure why, perhaps I just like to give people the benefit of the doubt rather than throw hard working people under the bus. With the announcement that IMSA is making some procedural changes, perhaps the time has come for me to weigh in on the disaster that is the Tudor United Sportscar Championship.
First off, I must say that I was excited about the so-called merger of the American Le Mans Series and Grand Am, even if it was a not so thinly veiled buyout situation. There are some pretty talented people on both side of paddock, so I was anticipating that they would pull it off.
Two races in, the organizers have done many things well. I was at the Rolex 24 and the crowds were truly impressive, certainly much larger than last year. From what I have heard, the crowds at Sebring were equally large. The field is jam packed full of top level teams with some spectacular machinery. Two of the biggest problems in auto racing these days seem to have been overcome. While there was limited television coverage, depending on where you live, the online stream of Sebring was better than any television coverage I have ever seen, even though it did seem to crap out for an hour or so around the 11th hour.
The problem is that the things the series has screwed up are equally as fundamental as having fans and competitors, so much so that they could very well be starting to lose both already. [Read more…]
The first Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge is in the books following an exciting race at Daytona that saw fierce battles and lots of contact. The fifth caution period of the race came out with just 12 minutes left in the race and the race finished under yellow. The Turner Motorsport BMW of Bill Auberlen and Toronto driver Paul dalla Lana too the checkers first.
It was a tough race for some other Canadian competitors as John Farano, Frank Blanchet, Michael Valiente, Ashley McCalmont all crashed out, as did the Theetge brothers. Blanchet’s co-driver Damon Sharpe went back out after the initial incident and then was crashed out by two other cars.
For the second year in a row, I am fortunate to be on site for the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona. This year is more special than usual, as it is the first event of the new Tudor United SportsCar Chaampionship.
Without a specific assignment from my daily gig at Wheels.ca, I am pretty free to go where I want, when I want, so this is going to be a pretty laid back weekend. Yesterday I spent a bit of time shooting along pit lane, but spent most of my morning with Mazda’s Director of Motorsport, John Doonan, discussing the team’s decision to test their cars in public, under racing conditions. I’ll have that interview up soon. I also spent some time hanging out with my buddy, Canadian Indycar star, James Hinchcliffe. Now I know what it is like having guys like me sticking cameras in your face all the time!
Here is a bit of a gallery from my travels yesterday.
Daytona was a bit weird for me, as it was the rare time that I have been at a race without photo credentials. That meant that I didn’t have my go anywhere access, but my media creds still offered unlimited access to the pits, unlike some other series. As Sunday rolled onwards and teams packed up and went home, the empty pit stalls became perfect spots to shoot the action in the pits. I decided to stitch together some stop action footage and through in a soundtrack of the on track action. I hope you like it!
The past 12 months have been just a crazy ride for me as I have traveled around the world covering events for Wheels.ca including bucket list events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Goodwood Festival of Speed and just this past weekend I went to Daytona Beach to cover the Rolex 24 for the first time. Just an incredible year!
To get my full report on the 24, click here to read my live blog from the race complete with tons of images. The long and the short of it is that Chip Ganassi Racing won their fifth Rolex 24 in ten years. Toronto’s AIM Autosport pulled off a great third spot on the podium in the GT class and west coast Canucks, Bullet Racing, scored second place in the new GX class.
Head past the jump to see a rather huge gallery of images from the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
40 years after Mark Donohue won the Rolex 24 at Daytona, his son David has won the 2009 running of the event at the wheel of the #58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley along with team mates Darren Law, Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia. The emotional victory came following an exciting race where the top 4 finishers were within seconds of each other on the same lap.
Grand Am press release after the break
Following up his work with Team No Hot Wire earlier in the weekend, Will Faules scouted out the pits and paddock of Daytona to bring our readers some great behind the scenes images. He even got a few pit babes!
Slideshow after the break