Roar before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway

“I am going to Daytona!”, I shouted shortly after hitting submit on the Daytona International Speedway website. I had just booked tickets for the “Roar before the Rolex 24” and I was excited that I was going to watch fast cars running on the famous Daytona race track. I had visited Daytona in 2012 (read about it here), but this time I was going to experience the atmosphere of the place, the engine noise and witness everything that takes place at an active race track. To say I was excited was an under statement!!

So the day FINALLY arrived and since we are from the UK, we had purchased “Will Call” tickets. These were easily collected from the welcome desk on arrival.

Daytona International Speedway is known for it’s NASCAR racing, but today we were going to see suped-up road going sports cars, which participate in the Rolex 24. The tickets we had purchased were for the “Roar before the Rolex 24” and are an amazing value at $15 each.

So what is the Roar Before the Rolex 24?

The Roar Before the Rolex 24 is the first event of the racing season at DAYTONA and its when drivers from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, arrive at Daytona and start testing for the Rolex 24 race. This is a chance for the public to view their favourite drivers during testing, in preparation for the race in three weeks time.

So what is the Rolex 24?

The Rolex 24 is a gruelling 24 hour endurance race taking place on the 3.56 mile Daytona course, which includes the banked track of the oval NASCAR circuit as well as the infield section. There are between 3 to 5 drivers for each car and the race distance is approximately 650 laps. I am a fan of the Le Mans 24 hour race which is held in France, so it was exciting for me to see how things are done for its Amercian equivalent.

Schedule for the day

Roar for the 24 was over two days and this is the schedule for the Saturday. As you can see it is a packed day, with so much going on for everyone.

So onto the cars!

There are many types of cars which take part in the Rolex 24. Here are just a few :

Lamborghini Huracan GT3

Audi R8 LM3 GT3

Lexus RCF GT3

Ford GT

Car number 10, is a Cadillac DPI driven by Max Anglelli, Jeff Gordan, Jordan Taylor and Ricky Taylor. This was the winner of the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Completing the race in 659 laps. The results of the Rolex 24 can be seen at : Results for the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona

 

About the day

Visitors to the Roar before the Rolex 24, can spend the day wandering around the track and observing the cars during the test sessions. What struck me was the noise of the cars, as the sound echoed around the track. Since I was a novice at visiting race tracks, it had not occurred to me to bring ear defenders and my hearing was significantly reduced by the end of the day!

The public have access to much of the track areas and have fantastic views.

 

 

Footage from the 2017 Roar before the Rolex 24

Here is some of the video footage I took during my visit.

Drivers forum

At lunchtime, a driver forum was hosted where the  drivers were interviewed and asked questions by the fans. It was here I learnt that Bruno Senna, the nephew of the Formula 1 legend Aryton Senna, was going to be racing at the Rolex 24. I was somewhat awe struck since I had followed his formula 1 career from 2010-12. Bruno Senna is sat on the far left in the photo below.

There was also a chance for fans to visit the pit garages and meet the drivers.

AND Finally

I had a fantastic day soaking up the atmosphere at Daytona – the place was buzzing and the vibe was infectious. It was great to see so many fans turn up, on a day when the weather was more like the UK  than Florida. Yet the rain did not dampen their enthusiasm, as they watched their heroes  practice. It was also pretty cool to say motoring clubs turn up to this event, some were driving Mini Coopers and Ford Mustangs.

I can’t wait to go back, but next time I really must see a NASCAR race. That is going to be truly awesome!

 

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  • Cat

    So cool you got to go! The cars are great, and I can’t even imagine doing a grueling 24 hour race. Awesome post 🙂

    • Sam H Travels

      The drivers only do a few hours at a time before they swap to a co-driver, but I can imagine it’s very tiring ! A lot of concentration !

  • Alexei Gaynanov

    Wow, a really awesome experience at one of the world’s most iconic race tracks! I am very jealous and would love to see the event and explore the areas within the track. Some fantastic photos here too!

    • Sam H Travels

      Thank you! I really did feel like I was somewhere very special whilst I visited.

  • Shona Grant

    Great pics, it wouldn’t have been easy getting the shots with the cars on the track.

    • Sam H Travels

      Yes they were moving quite fast !

  • Annalise’sAdventures

    I remember when I was really young I saw a picture of my parents at a 24 hour race and I thought it was ridiculous. Now that I’m older I see the appeal so much more and would love to go. I’m so glad you got to experience this!

    • Sam H Travels

      Lol, yes as a kid I think I would also find this very dull !

  • This looks an awesome day out! I would absolutely love to go here and see those supped up cars roaring around the track for sure. My favourite care is the Bugatti Veyron and I had the chance to see and hear one roar around a small track a few years back – it was amazing! You definitely need to return for the NASCAR racing – OMG what a day that would be! Thanks for showing us this wicked day trip, pinned for future reference for sure! #feetdotravel

    • Sam H Travels

      You have excelllent taste Angie as I also love the Veyron. You are so lucky to have seen one actually moving, I’ve only seen one in a showroom in Berlin! I hope some day I will be able to post about my NASCAR racing experience 🙂

  • That looked an interesting day out, good to get to hear the drivers talking too! #feetdotravel

    • Sam H Travels

      Yes it was definitely something different to what I have ever done before !

  • 1AdventureTraveler

    What a great adventure at Daytona Race Track. I have never been but I think just the excitement of the engines roaring would be fun. Make sure to bring your ear plugs next time. Great photos and thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Pack Your Baguios

    I bet that was a blast. My best friend is a huge Nascar fan. She’s told me how loud it is. I’ll have to see for myself sometime!

  • Scarlett Begonias

    I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never been to Daytona to see the racing after living in FL for 28 years. I did see a very sad version of it in Tennessee one year with old-fashioned cars that were on their last limb. Your day looked way more fun! Glad you got to enjoy it 🙂

  • Tracy McConnachie Collins

    This looks like a great day out! I was brought up in a racing driving mad family so this is right up our street!

  • I’m a big motorsport fan so would have loved to check this event out. There’s a good selection of cars and a pretty good view of the track.