Issue link: http://digital.slmag.net/i/793509
Twenty-four hours after Hurley Haywood, five-time winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, waved the green flag at 2:30 local time on Saturday, January 28, to officially mark the start of America's famous race, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac Dpi-V R took the checkered one. The team, consisting of Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli and NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon, completed 659 laps of the famed 3.56-mile circuit that is the Daytona International Speedway. eir efforts garnered the team the Rolex 24 at Daytona trophy and a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona wristwatch. Fifty-five cars lined up at the start; 41 of those made it to the finish. Following the win, Ricky Taylor commented, "After an intense race in tough conditions, it is such a relief to stand in Victory Lane as winners of 'e Rolex.' We take part in this race with the dream of winning the 24-hour marathon but also of one day putting a Rolex Daytona on our wrists. It really is the ultimate reward in motor sport and a reminder of our success. I'm very proud to be added to the accomplished list of Rolex 24 at Daytona winners." e early favorite, #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac Prototype, set the pace early on, followed closely by the #10 and #5 from Mustang Sampling Racing, before suffering steering issues in the eighth hour. At nightfall, a combination of cold and rain made track conditions treacherous and demanded utmost concentration from the teams. Extreme conditions persisted into the early hours of Sunday morning, and two extended hour-long safety car periods underscored the true attritional nature of this test of endurance. With three hours remaining, and the track finally dry, the Prototype (P) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) winners were far from decided with multiple cars on the lead lap. Counting down the final minutes on the Rolex clock, the Prototype race went down to the wire with a thrilling battle between the leading Cadillacs; ultimately the #10 took the lead from the #5 with a legal and robust move into turn one with only moments to go. roughout the 24 hours, the #10 successfully answered everything its rivals, nature and time could test it with and deservingly took the checkered flag by only 0.671 seconds from its sister car. #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing secured the win in a very competitive GT Le Mans class, having battled until the closing minutes of the race with the second place #911 Porsche GT Team holding off #62 Risi Competizione. #38 Performance Tech Motorsports won the Prototype Challenge (PC) title, and #28 Alegra Motorsports took the GT Daytona (GTD) class. Rolex's connection to Daytona hearkens back to an even earlier time when Daytona Beach was considered the capital of land speed records in the early 20th century. e long, flat and very firm Daytona Beach played host to 14 land speed records in the early part of the 20th century – five of which were set by Sir Malcolm Campbell, including the fastest official record there of 276mph in 1935 at the wheel of his mighty Bluebird. In 1992 Rolex formalized this long-standing association with Daytona, and the Speedway becoming the Official Timepiece and Title Sponsor of the 24-hour Daytona classic, further strengthening the link between the race and the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona watch. After 25 years, the brand is now so closely tied to the event that motor sport aficionados simply refer to it as "e Rolex." sl Less than one second separated first and second place in the Prototype class at the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona JUST IN TIME Written by Andre James 54 slmag.net Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R #10, winner of the Rolex 24 At Daytona 2017 Prototype class. Photo by Stephan Cooper.