The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2013 was held January 26-27 on the 12-turn, 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway, a combined track made up of portions of the NASCAR tri-oval and an infield road course.
The 51st running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona put on a tremendous finale, maintaining tension right up to the last. Pre-race favorites in the Daytona Prototype class, Chip Ganassi Racing’s #01 BMW/Riley, took the checkered flag as the Rolex timing hit the 24-hour mark. The script may appear pre-written, but such was the nature of the contest that Juan Pablo Montoya, driving the final stint, did not have an impregnable lead until the last five minutes, when he passed the #10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP on lap 706. In the GT class, the #24 Audi R8, of Audi Sport Customer Racing AJR, took the honors, and the GX class win went to the #16 Porsche Cayman of Napleton Racing.
The #01 drivers, Americans Scott Pruett and Charlie Kimball, along with team-mates Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya and Mexican Memo Rojas, were jubilant. Pruett’s fifth overall win in the Rolex 24 At Daytona puts him alongside Hurley Haywood in the record book. Haywood was one of the first to congratulate Pruett, who was predictably emotional: “It’s just an incredible day all the way around, winning with these guys, and then at the end of it to have Hurley there was a very special thing.”
Team principal, Chip Ganassi, celebrated his fifth overall win in ten starts at the Rolex 24 At Daytona: “I am very, very proud and especially because every single one of them has been with the same crew, same team. My hat is off to our guys in Indianapolis who put this car together. They are in charge of the preparation and worked very, very hard.”
In the GT class the battle was every bit as fierce, even if the outcome was decided some 40 minutes earlier when Felipe Albuquerque took a decisive lead by staying out on track while the #69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD pitted: “When they put me in the car, no one really believed we could win. We were one lap down with two and half hours to go. I just drove every lap like qualifying. I didn’t care about the car, about the tires, about anything. I was flat out.” Co-driver, Dion von Moltke put Alburquerque’s drive in perspective: “Two hours ago we thought we were out. Felipe got in the car and put in one of the most amazing drives I have ever witnessed.”
For Napleton Racing, the GX win concluded a period of two and a half months of working 24/7 to be on the start line for the class’ debut at the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Driver David Donohue paid tribute: “For us it was a race of preparation. Our team did a superior job when this program was conceived in building this car and making it reliable.” Co-driver Shane Lewis pointed to just how reliable they had been: “If it wasn’t for some pit-lane violations and a couple of minor on-track incidents we would have had the cleanest run that I think anybody has had at the Rolex 24 for a long time.”
The 52nd Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona will be held over the weekend of 25-26 January 2014.
Photographer Mark Coughlin documented the racing action at the 2013 running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, offering the following 110 images that highlight the endurance race and the heritage vintage car racing exhibition.
Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2013 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture)
Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2013 – Daytona Prototype Results
1. BMW Riley – Chip Ganassi Racing, 709 laps (Overall Winner)
2. Corvette DP – VelocityWW + 0.67s
3. Ford Riley – Michael Shank Racing + 0.67s
Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2013 – GT Class Results
1. Audi R8 – Albuquerque/Jarvis/von Moltke/Mortara 678 laps
2. Audi R8 – Baas/Basseng/Rast/Stippler + 1.476s
3. Ferrari 458 Italia – Assentato/Lazzaro/Longhi/Stanton/Wilkins + 15.533s
Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2013 – GX Class Results
1. Porsche Cayman – Napleton Racing 635 laps
2. Porsche Cayman GX.R – Bullet Racing – 10 laps
3. Porsche Cayman GX.R – Motorsports – 21 laps
Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2013 – In Numbers
– 57 cars started, 30 cars were still running after 24 hours
– Distance driven by winning DP car #01: 709 laps/2, 524 miles
– Average speed of winning DP car #01: 105.167 miles per hour
– Laps led by winning DP car #01: 421
– Most laps led by any single driver: 205 by Scott Pruett in #01
– Winning margin in DP class: 21.922 seconds
– Fastest lap: 1:41.177/126.669 miles per hour in lap 293 by #02 in DP
– Longest period under caution: 1 hour 45 minutes due to fog
– 5th win in 10 attempts by Chip Ganassi Racing
– 5 overall wins by Scott Pruett matches the record of Hurley Haywood
[Source: Rolex; photos: Mark Coughlin]