Saturday January 29 will be the start of the 60th edition of the Rolex24 Daytona. With impressive numbers.
Photos : SUSA / Icon Sport
Who said that the health crisis had a negative impact on the economy? In Florida, it seems almost never to have existed. No restaurant or hotel imposes the mask. Its port is at the discretion of each, and therefore as much to say right away that everyone does without it…
Around the circuit, on this weekend, the streets are rather quiet. The weather is very bad, the rain is torrential. The place was already full the previous weekend, during the Roar, this 1h30 race which allows define the order on the starting grid of the Rolex 24. And what a grid! This year, the IMSA championship and the 24 Hours of Daytona welcome 61 registered, a record since 1974! 19 car manufacturers are involved, which is also a record. In the world, no series knows such a success. And it’s not over : Daytona is one of the four great American classics, along with Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans. A “championship within the championship”, in which the 48 entrants in the Michelin Endurance Cup participate, but also the Mazda Cup, which has 31 drivers.
France well represented
All this little world, 140 cars in total, generates incredible crowd movements and business for their suppliers. The most French and the best placed of all is undoubtedly Michelin, which brought to Daytona… 19,000 tires to meet all demands between the weekend of the Roar and that of the race. This is unheard of, even when Sebring and the WEC were meeting. Next door, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and their 8,000 tires seem like a small event.
Another highlight: the number of French drivers registered at Daytona. They were 16 in 2021, they are 13 this year. It’s a good proportion, and it represents real chances of victory in all categories.
Good business for Michelin
For Tony Ménard, Director of Michelin Motorsport for North America “Motorsport in the United States, and more particularly the IMSA championship which we sponsor and of which we have been the sole manufacturer since 2019, represents great potential. First of all, we sell a lot of tires there, but also because we invite our customers there and work on our image. The championship is perceived as technological, and the arrival of the LMDh, the first hybrid series, at the start of 2023, is a real sign of modernity. This is why there are so many manufacturers involved, and so many opportunities for us to get closer to it. Finally, IMSA has a type of visitors that we would call CSP+ in Europe. These are people who can afford high-end tires, and who are interested in the modernity of automotive technology in competition. »
For this weekend when the rain should give way to the sun, but where the cold could settle, the Daytona Speedway should receive around 80,000 people in its giant stands, which surround the famous bank. In the infield, the large green space inside the circuit, the “RV”, these giant and luxurious caravans, are legion. The 211 existing pitches have all been rented, which is also a record, while all the camping places are otherwise occupied.
In order to experience the Rolex24, feel its unique atmosphere and discover this spectacular circuit, you can go to automoto la Chaîne. The start of the race will be given live on Saturday January 29 at 7:30 p.m.
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