Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona - 2018
I attended the Rolex 24 Hour race at Daytona last week, the third time I've been there. The weather turned out to be almost perfect - a little more clouds than I would have liked for shooting, but not to hot, not to cold, and the only real rain we had was Saturday evening, while we were in having dinner. My girlfriend came along - it was her first time, and I think she was more excited than I was. She's also a photographer (we met through a local camera club) so we talked about good spots to shoot from, and she got some really good shots as well. She's already talking about next year...
1 - Team Penske made its return to the Rolex with a pair of Acura prototypes. They had a few issues, but both were running at the end of 24 hours.
2 - Honda of America Racing Team (HART) is made up of Honda engineers from their Ohio plant working in their free time. This was the first time they have entered a 24 hour race, and also were running at the end. My girlfriend was really interested in these guys - she has an Acura wagon, and loved their story. Saturday morning, before the race, I convinced her to talk to the guys in the garage - she's a little shy. After chatting with several team members at their hauler, they gave her a team hat (which she wore for the rest of the weekend) and posed for photos with one of the drivers.
3 - Glowing brake rotors all around...
4 - Just like on the highway, the fast guys flash their lights when they want to pass you!
5 - Late night fireworks!
6 - Not the place you want to be 10 hours into a 24 hour race!
7 - Racing under the lights!
8 - The Ferris wheel is a familiar sight at the Rolex.
9 - Three classes, three wide into Turn 3 at 3:03am (I kid you not!)
10 - Two-time Formula 1 World Driving Champion Fernando Alonzo was one of the drivers for this team.
11- After 24 hours of racing, the Mustang Sampling / Action Express Cadillac DPi Prototype was first under the checkered flag.
One of the neat things about going to the Rolex is having a weekend infield pass, which gets you access to all the cool spots in the infield to shoot from, as well as the garage area (even during the race), as well as the grandstands. And with a 24 hour race (plus practice sessions and support races) you have plenty of time to explore those spots. And you never know who you will see - I bumped into or photographed Roger Penske, Fernando Alonzo, Bobby Rahal, Jeff Gordon, and a half dozen other well-know drivers. The folks camping in the infield are generally friendly, having fun, and always willing to share a beverage and a spot near their fire pit at 3am.