Tag Archives: Rolex 24 at Daytona

Rolex 24 hours at Daytona the debrief

Endurance racing is my favorite form of Motorsport. This year’s Rolex 24 had the potential to be very special because in the middle of last season one of my Canadian colleagues put me in touch with an IMSA official and a prospect of a real job (even if it was on a part-time basis) to work events that I really love as a race official. I had my fingers and toes crossed even as December rolled around but the job did not materialize… The 2018 season though seemed to be off to an exciting start with lots of “new” cars/teams/drivers joining the series, so I scrambled to book my flights and went as a volunteer instead.

For the race I got my pit lane assignment directly across from folks whose team I was hoping to join. But instead of doing something important with a real impact on the competition, I spent five days trackside spectating. It was excellent entertainment being so close until the race rolled around when it became pretty obvious that much of the previous year will repeat itself and Cadillacs will dominate. The excitement wore off.

The most interesting racing was in the GT Daytona field so I paid special attention to that battle. In prototypes the lead car was several laps ahead of second place at one point. And in GT Le Mans Fords ran away with pace Corvette couldn’t match, they too were several laps ahead. It was sad to watch the BMW M8’s be so uncompetitive. And the Porsche RSR team didn’t seem to have it’s kamikaze pilots from last year. Oh well!

At the end of the race records were broken, champions were crowned, and Rolex watches handed out as prizes. Who cares though? The predictability of the outcome made things boring. Hey, at least the weather was good!

Luckily, the 24h wasn’t the only race of the weekend. I feel like I got my money’s worth going on this trip from the two support series. The Ferrari Challenge folks put on a grand battle, and with 40+ cars on the grid it was awesome to see the series alive and well after seeing it’s sorry state in Connecticut last time I volunteered for it at Lime Rock.

Similarly Continental Tire Challenge rocked! I loved the battles there in all the classes. Nice to see TC R cars slide in so well into the grid, though a little sad not to see Miatas in ST class.

So in conclusion it was a good trip for a good clean race. A bit disapointing because of lack of excitement but I departed satisfied. And since I’m having trouble finding paid work, it’s likely this event will be one of my last times volunteering until I get the means to afford it again in the future. Too bad I wasn’t good enough to be hired by the series so I could continue doing what I really like to do, but such is life…

Rolex 24 at Daytona 2017 the Debrief

Rolex 24 at Daytona is my first major event of the 2017 season. The race itself was the second trip to Florida this year because I decided to participate earlier in the month of January for the “Roar before the 24” pre-race which was super exciting. The difference for the race for me was my role: I worked as pit & grid marshal.

Pit & Grid is an exciting position which I had first experienced while in New Zealand working a V8 Supercars race on the streets of Hamilton before they moved it to the Pukekohe permanent circuit. It was fun because it was so different, and because of the general proximity I had to the cars. There we were warned to watch our toes because the V8’s drivers would totally run over us on their way to their grid position. For the Daytona 24 hour event our services were not needed on the grid, or in the pits for that matter. I worked on the cold side of things in the paddock, making sure cars could leave the garages and enter or exit pit lane without running over someone else’s toes. So our job was really to be a spectator marshal. And after serving in this role at Pocono Raceway last year for an IndyCar event with Team Pocono, a race that doens’t normally use marshals, it was a preview into a role I totally would love to work more often.

I have made a ton of other posts already showing off the photos I took during some ad hoc grid walks (runs) and the up-close-and-personal look at the Mazda DPi cars which I really wanted to do. Or the acute gout attack that I got post-race that I am still recovering from more than two weeks later. So I’m not going to babble on about that. But I want to reinforce just how much this race was enjoyable this year, partly because of my assignment I think. The amount of cars was great. The amount of brand new cars was fascinating. And the crowds of spectators that came out to celebrate this event was very much impressive. I loved every moment of it!

I think this experience will effect my desire to work IMSA events again this season… perhaps as soon as March with a return trip to Florida to work St. Pete Grand Prix and Sebring 12 hour.

So stay tuned….


I’m also eager to come up with another international trip for this season, my goal is to marshal in a country where I haven’t marshaled before. This would be the big #16 and as always Asia is at the top of my list, I’d love to do Macau Grand Prix for the first time. But also Azerbaijan with Baku Grand Prix isn’t out of the question. But perhaps Latin America will finally make a list. I’d love to go to Brasil to to a Grand Prix there… or even better one of their Supercars events. Stay tuned for sure.

Rolex 24 at Daytona, Tudor United Sports Car Series debut

Tudor United Sports Car Championship got off to a good start with the Rolex 24 at Daytona last weekend. I realize my last post left a lot to be desired but instead of removing what I felt about the weekend personally I wanted to focus on the series itself and how good the racing was. For one, the fields were huge. Not just the Tudor Series but the Conti Challenge as well. The Ferrari Challenge was as always entertaining, and things were going impressively smooth. I wanted to link to the loooong /Drive /Shakedown video for some excellent chatter and interviews with Leo Parente’s post-race debrief:

The things that affected my outlook on the race personally were a combination of factors, starting from the weather (it was miserably cold) to the people I was hanging out with, down to the people in charge of my assigned post (corner captains) which resulted in me getting kicked out of my station in the 23rd hour. I know I owe a lot of apologies to people I have offended at the event, but after working nearly the whole 24 hours non-stop there were aspects of other people’s behavior that got to me. It would be nice if there was a standardized training offered to the marshals in attendance so that instead of having fifty people doing their own thing, we’d have everyone focus on the same approach to the task. But that may be a lot to ask.

But back to racing and the series at hand. I was massively impressed with how open the paddock was for us to walk around. I have gotten quite a lot of good footage from the pits and the paddock using my GoPro that I’m going to put together in a short video soon. But overall I felt extremely welcome at Daytona. Like previous Rolex events we didn’t really walk away with much Tudor mementos, instead Mazda came by and offered some goodie bags, there was an Central Florida SCCA social with swag giveaways but nothing Tudor branded, at least none that I saw. It would have been nice to walk away with something from the inaugural event, that other places around the country didn’t get. Though I have a feeling we are more likely to have that happen at Sebring or Long Beach. We did of course get our usual Rolex 24 patch, which was nice.

daytona grid

I was hoping that the Le Mans P2 cars would be stronger than the Daytona Prototypes. With the balance of performance it seemed that the balance was quite off, with the first six positions of the race held by DP’s at the end of the race. Muscle Milk’s Nissan P2 was running a respectable 5th but was obviously struggling against the much faster DP’s. Luckily, GTLM cars were significantly faster than the GTD cars, which was expected. With the amount of blue flag time I got volunteering at turn 3 I could really appreciate the speed differences. Though I can already see people having an issue with similar cars in both GTLM and GTD categories when it comes to blue flagging, especially if those people had less exposure to the two series in the past. The hardest to distinguish were the Ferrari’s in LM and D, as well as the SRT Vipers, even though they’re different colors, in the right light conditions they look identical from the front.

I noticed that the same incidents appeared differently depending on where one was observing it from. For example the first lap spin of the PC car looked different to me observing it from behind than to someone watching the cars head on. In that moment, and potentially in the cloud of dust that was created, I lost sight of GTLM cars being overtaken by GTD cars and it was quite surprising to me how they came around in that order on the second lap. I had a good view of the big crash involving a DP Corvette and a GTLM Ferrari, but others on my station reacted differently to it. I have a feeling that the last lap controversy for the victory in the GTD race was again left to the interpretation of the marshals which resulted in controversy. I think if most of us walked around with GoPro’s and somehow those cameras broadcast to Race Control, decisions about incidents would be far more accurate. Maybe one day this will be a reality.

Daytona 24 Hour Spotter Guide released

One of the most important marshal aides leading up to an event has been released by IMSA… the Spotter Guide! While I have always been a huge fan of Andy Blackmore’s ALMS spotter guides over the years, they have gotten even fancier now with the merged series, and I’m so glad they produced them.

spotter guide daytona 24

The spotter guide allows marshals to identify a car when car #’s are not clearly visible, this is done using the livery of the vehicle or in some cases even driver’s helmets. So behold the new spotter guide available for donwload here: http://www.spotterguides.com/ (spotter guide download link: http://www.spotterguides.com/tudor-uscc/)

Thanks Andy for a job well done! See you at the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona. Cheers!

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

Rolex 24 Daytona day 1

First day of racing, three emergency calls with cars hitting ARMCO right where I was standing, sending me to run for my life three times. The fourth time I ran with a fire extinguisher to a car that burried itself in the tire wall near the end of the Continental Tire Challenge race.

Big impacts at turn 5 today:
#93 BMW (Grand-Am GT) when I was on comms
#23 Ferrari (Ferrari Challenge) when I was on blue
#74 Civic (Grand-Am ST) when I was on blue, but took over double yellow while my partner went to get a drink, soon I dropped the doubles in favor of waving yellow and standing white. Driver was extricated.

Daytona plans finalized

Another 4am post, but man do I love it when things just fall into place.

I have just finished organizing the logistics behind my next marshalling event at the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona in January. While I have already posted about the fantastic car rental deal that I got from Orlando Airport, tonight I have booked my flights to actually get there. And it will involve a lengthy bus trip and two new airports to add to my flight map.

Thanks to some heads up on FlyerTalk.com I noticed that while NYC to Florida rates are still up there (South Florida is often referred to as the sixth borough of New York City) there was a tremendous deal from Washington D.C. $50 each way, all taxes included.

So I booked it, DCA-MCO-DCA for $99.60 all in. I will have to stay in Florida an extra day since the cheap flight was only available on Tuesday and I’ll be finished by Monday, but an extra day in Florida in the dead of winter is not a bad thing 🙂 Luckily I managed to force a reservation change on my Advantage car rental, it took about ten tries hitting submit on the reservation “modify” screen, but it went through, $66 base weekly rate that came out to $105.90 for the full rental period, same charge with the extra day as when I first booked it, nice!

Now how in the world would I get to DC from NYC? Its a 4 hour leisurely drive after all, right? Well yes, but that’s where my old employer comes into play. I booked a $1 Megabus seat in each direction, $2.50 with the online booking fee, all in. It will likely cost me more on the local bus to get to Manhattan and to take the Metro from Union Station to Reagan, but who cares? With $208 final price tag for transportation, I’m still spending a good $100 less than what it would have been to fly more directly. And I get all this adventure along the way.

Now all I have to do is source out some CouchSurfers to show me around Washington DC when I arrive in the middle of the night before my flight, as well as find a couch to crash in Daytona. But I’ll leave that for later. Got a trip to Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia to plan first. I love this logistics stuff!

Rolex 24hr at Daytona application

The application for the 24 hours at Daytona, 12 hours at Sebring and St. Pete Grand Prix has now been open on the Central Florida Region SCCA web site: http://www.cfrscca.org/?page_id=1766

I have applied for the 24 hours of Daytona, the Sebring and St. Petersuburg races, as interesting as they are with American Le Mans Series, Indycars and World Challenge, the dates clash with Formula 1 in Australia and Malaysia on those same weekends in March. Looks like Grand Am is the only one I’ll be able to swing this year. Though I’ve heard rave reviews about Sebring! Wish it was on another weekend 🙁

Some of the interesting terms and conditions as well as prerequisites include:

1 PURPOSE: As all of the Event Organizers have continued to reduce the number of credentials provided to the club for staffing purposes, the CFR staffing team has a limited number of positions to fill. Due to the diminishing number of credentials available, turn assignments will be based on qualifications, experience, ability, attitude, dependability, and willingness to do what is necessary to make the event safe and successful. These workers must be willing to work during their assigned shifts EVERY day of the event as well as performing the duties assigned to them. Workers will be required to attend ALL flag meetings and MUST comply with the organizers’ supplemental regulations.
2 EVENT SPECIFIC: To help F & C assignments for the each pro event, all potential F&C personnel MUST complete and return the Central Florida Region Pro Race Worker Application form. This form is event specific therefore a new form MUST be completed for each Pro event that CFR is charged with staffing.  Events included are (1) Rolex 24 at Daytona (January 24-27. 2013), (2) Sebring 12 Hours (March 12-16, 2013), and (3) St Pete Grand Prix (March 21-24, 2012).
3 THIS APPLICATION IS FOR INDIVIDUALS ONLY — ALL MEMBERS OF A GROUP MUST SUBMIT AN APPLICATION INDIVIDUALLY FOR CONSIDERATION.  To eliminate delays in the processing of applications, ALL questions must be completed. Application acceptance may be delayed if pertinent information has to be requested.
4 NATIONAL/DIVISIONAL LICENSE HOLDERS: National and Divisional F&C license holders or other equivalent license holders (based on organization) in good standing with their own regions/organizations and in good standing with the CFR F&C Specialty team, will be given first consideration.
5 REGIONAL LICENSE HOLDERS: Regional F&C license holders or other equivalent license holders (based on organization) may be considered with the approval of the applicants home region/organization F&C Specialty Chief.
6 REVIEW PROCESS: Your application will be reviewed by the CFR Staffing Team. You will receive written notification of your status from the Event Flag Chief. Please be sure to add CFRProrace@gmail.com to your allowed senders to ensure receipt of any and all emails regarding the application process.
7 PRIORITY: The first priority will be to properly staff ALL turns. Therefore, it is important to be aware that we cannot and will not be able to honor all turn requests. Turn assignments will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis. Once a turn is determined sufficiently staffed, the next critical turn will be addressed. Due to the limited number of credentials, we are no longer able to justify overstaffing one turn while understaffing others. Assignments may be changed throughout the event based on the circumstances and needs of the specific event.
8 REGISTRATION: ALL workers must present current membership and license in order to receive event credentials. DUE TO LIABILITY ISSUES, THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS.
9 ABUSE OF CREDENTIALS: Credentials are for working personnel only. For example, if you have committed to working all days of the event, then fail to report for any of the assigned shifts without the notifying the CFR Flag Chief, your credentials may be revoked for the remainder of the event and may include possible exclusion from future Pro Events that CFR is charged to staff.
10 WAITING LISTS: Applicants not selected in the initial assignment process will be placed on a waiting list. If a position becomes available due to a cancellation, the next applicant will be notified in writing by the Event Flag Chief
11 GENERAL SCHEDULING/FOOD SERVICE CONCERNS: For the 24 Hour event, each station is divided into 3 teams. Each team will work 4 hours on/8 hours off. The actual shift assignments will be made by the Corner Captain. Thursday and Friday schedules will also be determined by the Corner Captains.
12 DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION SUBMISSION: Friday, January 4, 2013, 6:00 PM EST is the deadline for the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Friday, February 22, 2013, 6pm EST is the deadline for the 2013 Sebring 12 Hours.  Friday, March 1, 2013, 6pm EST is the deadline for the 2013 St Pete Grand Prix.
13 DEADLINE FOR CONFIRMED PARTICIPATION: For the Rolex 24 at Daytona the deadline is Friday, January 11, 2013, 6:00 PM EST.  For the 2013 Sebring 12 Hours it is Friday, March 1, 2013, 6pm EST.  For the 2013 St Pete Grand Prix it is Friday, March 8, 2013, 6pm EST.  The applicant MUST CONFIRM participation by the cut off date. Failure to do so will result in loss of their position on the roster. The Event Flag Chief will the assign the next available worker on the waiting list. ”
If you have read and understand the above rules and policies, click ACCEPT (below) to continue to the application process.