Eighty-six thousand four hundred Eighty-six thousand four hundred seconds, 1,440 minutes can feel like a lifetime for the drivers of the Daytona 24-hour race. The 24 Hours of Daytona took place 24 Hours of Daytona took place on Jan. 27 through Jan. 28, the weekend before the start to the regular NASCAR season.
The Daytona 24-hour race takes place at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. The race has been sponsored by Rolex since the year 1991, which has led to winners of the race receiving a special Rolex Cosmograph. The Daytona 24-hour race is different from others because it is more of an endurance race. The goal of the endurance race is to run the most miles in the set time limit.
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The race is composed of 59 cars divided by four different classes. 10 cars raced in the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class, 13 cars in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), 12 cars in the GT Daytona Pro (GTD Pro) and 24 cars in the GT Daytona (GTD). Each team in each class has four drivers competing for them. The rules of the race vary for each class. The drivers that are in the GTP and GTD Pro class must log in at least two hours at the wheel before switching drivers. Meanwhile, the drivers in the LMP2 and GTD class must log in at least four hours and 30 minutes before switching drivers.
A true testament to racing is what can be said about the Daytona 24-hour race. Drivers are challenged in many physical and mental ways during the course of the 24 hours. Not only are drivers pushing themselves to their limit when entering this race but also pushing the limit of the car. Within the first hour of the race, fans were able to witness the crash of none other than Misha Goikhberg, who drove the Forte Racing Lamborghini into a tire barrier. Shortly after, three cars from the LMP2 class slid off the course but thankfully remained unscathed. However, the Lexus car driven by Mike Conway crashed with another LMP2 car as they were entering the infield.
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After crashes and safety cars, the race continued on smoothly for the remaining 22 hours, that is up until the last 31 minutes of the race. Felipe Nasr, who drove for Porsche that weekend, overtook Tom Blomqvist during a pit stop under the yellow flag. He was able to fight off many obstacles that were thrown his way and ultimately win the race for the Porsche team. The win ended a 55-year drought for the team owner Roger Penske.
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Nasr was not the only winner that day. In the LMP2 class, the Era Motorsport took the victory which consisted of drivers Dwight Merriman, Ryan Dalziel, Connor Zilisch and Christian Rasmussen. In the GTD Pro class, Risi Competizione took the victory with their drivers Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Daniel Serra and Davide Rigon. Finally, in the GTD class, Winward Racing took the victory with their drivers Russell Ward, Philip Ellis, Indy Dontje and Daniel Morad.
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The 24 Hours of Daytona might have come to an end, but it is only a matter of time before drivers revisit the iconic speedway when the NASCAR season comes along on Feb. 4 and continues until Nov. 10.
Edited by: Kendall Merriett
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