Tag Archives: Daytona 24 hour

It was Tough to be a Mazda Fan at Daytona 24 Hour this Race

I had high hopes for Mazda Motorsports DPi team this weekend. Team Joest showed so much potential at the Roar. And then 2017 repeated itself… deja vu all over again.

Right off the bat one of the cars had a hard time leaving the Le Mans style grid in pit lane. Remarkably IMSA allowed the car to retake its position on the sighting laps before the green flag started the race.  At one point (first full course yellow if I remember correctly) the car ended up in P1 briefly because it didn’t pit like the rest of the leading pack… but things fell apart quickly. I remember thinking, well at least it’s only tire failures which Mazda could easily blame on Continental Tire like Wayne Taylor Racing did, but long before the race ended there was an engine fire that took one of the cars out. Both would DNF from this year’s Rolex 24, much like last year.

What a shame!

The owners lounge in the fan zone  was similarly disappointing. I remember when they were generous… I remember collecting Mazda swag long before I bought my Miata. It encouraged me to develop enthusiasm for the brand. This year it was purely for show if you looked from the distance. Inside the fancy display you got some pictures on the walls with a nice Die-cast Model of the original Cosmo which you couldn’t even purchase. If you got a red wristband after registering as a Mazda owner, the lady behind the podium offered you a Mazda lanyard and a coffee mug. If you got a black wristband you only got a lanyard.

Why so stingy Mazda?

I hope with the money they saved on fans they could buy some better reliability. If that doesn’t work maybe their money is better spent slapping a Mazda sticker on a Cadillac powered Dallara like the Spirit of Daytona team… though their car failed to finish also, so clearly success isn’t guaranteed.

Hopefully things turn around in the future… It was obvious to see that Mazda Motorsport didn’t come to Daytona 24 to win it.

Rolex 24 at Daytona 2018 Grid Walk Pics

What an amazing experience this year’s Rolex 24 hours at Daytona was for me. Got to work in pit lane and was well positioned to do the grid walk just before the race. Here’s some of my pics:


I’m happy I got some close ups of the GT Daytona cars, the only true race of the weekend. The other two classes were a disappointment with runaway winners laps ahead of the competition. More on that later.


Roar Before the 24 Pit Lane Preview

This year’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 was much bigger than last years… why? My guess would be because of Fernando Alonso… and maybe a gaggle of other Formula 1 drivers, along with a whole fleet of new Prototype and GT cars on display.

I’m thrilled to have had an opportunity to visit the pit area for WeatherTech Sports Car Championship practice, and I can’t wait for the proper enduro at the end of the month. It will be fantastic.

Here’s a few pix:

The elusive Team Joest Mazda


Hold on…

Jackie Chan Racing

Keep holding…

Hopefully… with a little bit of luck… this will be my view for the Rolex 24 in pit out.

Also hoping the weather is like this, warm and sunny.

With no Miatas racing in IMSA any more, it’s nice to see an RF at the Team Joest garages.

Post Card from the Rolex 24 at Daytona Grid Walk

The 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona was a blast for me! I got to see all the cars up close and personal and spend a good chunk of the race in the paddock shooing people out of the way of speeding cars and crew that kept those cars going for the duration of the race.

Unlike previous times I volunteered to work pit & grid which for this event turned out to be more of a “crowd control” role in the paddock across the gate from pit lane… anytime cars left the track to go to the garages or returned to the track after a repair during the race I had work to do, making sure the spectators don’t get run over… or a car doesn’t lose time unnecessarily because of pedestrian traffic. That was fun!

Also unlike previous times where I would just barely get a chance to sneak into the paddock to take some pictures, I hardly took any even though I was in the paddock the entire time. I almost missed the grid walk because it was so busy before the race. But my boss was really cool and when the announcer called to clear the grid, I ran out there to snap some shots. My goal was to get the Mazda MRT24-P DPi’s which were a hell of a way down the Le Mans style pit lane past the GTD, GTLM and PC fields. I did manage to snag some shots of them, but because they started playing the national anthem I didn’t bother going all the way down to P1 spot to catch a photo of the Cadillacs. Touche…

Here’s the pix:

The variety of cars was absolutely outstanding… much like the previously mentioned fields in the Pirelli World Challenge… but of course this series also sports the uber quick prototypes. I have to admit besides the Mazda’s, the GT field was my favorite!

The variety:

  • Acura NSX GT3
  • Aston Martin Vantage GT3
  • Audi R8 LMS
  • BMW M6 GT3
  • Chevy Corvette C7.R
  • Ferrari 488 GT3
  • Ford GT
  • Lamborghini Huracan GT3
  • Lexus RC F GT3
  • Mercedes-AMG SLS GT3
  • Porsche 911 GT3 R and RSR

The PC field remained unchanged and to be honest those cars are getting old, I’d be OK not seeing them return the following season. The prototypes were dominated by Cadillac DPi’s which was pretty disappointing. Mazda’s DNF’s were super disappointing too. Though I was quite happy to see the Spirit of Daytona / Visit Florida P2 finish third. That was a fluke especially since that car started from the back of the prototype grid. I’m super happy though to have had this opportunity to see the cars so up close and personal. Best time at Rolex 24 ever for me.

Oh yeah… and I got to watch both the start and the finish from pit lane along with all the teams and official IMSA photographers.

Mazda RT24-P DPi at the Roar before the 24 Daytona Int’l Speedway

Mission Accomplished!

My goal for this 1,000+ mile Road Trip in my MX-5 Miata from NJ to Florida was to get some close-up shots of the new Mazda RT24-P DPi at the Roar before the 24. It almost looked like it wouldn’t happen. Every time we would visit the paddock during lunch or at the end of day, both Mazda’s would be in pieces… I wanted the whole car. So we tried again on the very last day… instead of going to the CFR SCCA compound for lunch we rushed to the paddock and snuck into the Mazda pits where a few photographers crammed into the back of the minivan they were going to use to drive on track and take pictures of the Mazda’s following them… that didn’t happen. We talked to one of the crew who told us that the #55 Mazda was called in for tech inspection, so we started making our way back to that area when we saw one being towed. Not sure what happened at inspection but they pulled it into the garage and it didn’t return for the afternoon practice session. At the end of the day we again rushed back to the paddock after watching #70 car practice, and caught it just in time after it was parked in it’s garage and one of the crew started removing the rear engine panel off. I made a comment that no matter how we tried we just couldn’t seem to catch the car in once piece, the crew member looked at me, stopped walking away, and put the panel back so I can take some pictures. Wow! What a nice gesture!?! He let us come into the garage and get some good selfies there. Thanks so much SpeedSource employee!

Here’s the pix, finally:

A perfectly executed 5 point turn 🙂

I’m really thankful for this opportunity, and look forward to watching the team do well in this year’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship!

First impressions of the car? I love the body styling. It’s all brand new. Instead of the bug-eyed look of the previous gen Lola, this one has much sleeker surface, almond-eyes, nice RX-hues to it all over. But the power house sounds exactly the same as the old one. Reliability issues remain similar. Both cars took a while to come out to practice and just as quickly went back into the garages. When they were running both were very quick. For the longest while in one practice session #55 was quickest. #70 was right behind it. The #13 Rebellion Racing prototype took the top spot away but the Mazdas were solidly quick. They did not get nearly as much track time as the Cadillac DPi’s did and that’s what makes me think that they will continue dominate while the Mazda’s will challenge them for pole position at most races, faltering back due to reliability during the races. Sucks but that seems to be the reality. I’d like to be proven wrong. Good luck SpeedSource & Mazda Motorsports!

Postcard from Rolex 24hrs of Daytona

Its race day.

I just finished an 18 hour doubleshift. Couldnt sleep so volunteered to work the night shift as well. Time went by quickly especially when another car, #68 Porsche smashed into our station sending us running for cover.

Before the race I picked up a neat debris souvenir. A little nap and ill go back to work the end of the race 🙂

My first 24hr race wasnt bad at all.

daytona 24 debris

daytona 24 souvenir

daytona 24 debris ferrari