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
Jackie Chan Racing
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.
Sunday Fun Day… Finally things turned around for me. I finally got my preferred station assignment to work Turn 4, which meant I could visit the paddock and take in all the new stuff on display this season.
Apparently IMSA will be following SRO specifications for GT4 machinery. And there’s lots of it here: Mercedes-AMG GT4 and Audi R8 GT4 joining an established field of Aston Martin GT4, Porsche Cayman GT4, and Mustang GT4.
A whole new series previously previewed in a competing series last year with Pirelli World Challenge: the TCR cars. We had a number of Audi RS3 LMS and a single VW Golf GTi TCR.
Here’s the pix:
Oh yes, another new addition to the GS field BMW M4
Lots of German silver cars in this growing field previously dominated by Mustangs and Camaros.
Greetings from freezing-cold Daytona. Starting temps in the 30’s every morning has been brutal. Worse than previous year’s Roar. What makes this one even more miserable and disappointing is the fact I haven’t gotten a chance to work with my buddy John in Turn 4, instead I’m getting punished at Turn 7 for some reason. Very nice people working there but it’s not why I signed up to work this event.
Luckily John and i managed to get to the paddock Saturday evening during the dinner break. Most cars were torn down but I got a few good shots of the Penske Acuras.
Hopefully I’ll get a better opportunity to check out the Joest Mazda’s on the last day tomorrow, Sunday.
Lots of prototypes for this event with a healthy field of GT’ s as well. Lots of new stuff too!
The old Spirit of Daytona Multimatic LMP2
Jackie Chan Racing LMP2’s
New BMW M8 vs. Old M6
Fingers crossed for another paddock visit tomorrow, or the $300 bux spent on this trip was poured down the drain.
Seven years in this hobby, fifteen countries worked in on multiple crews from flagging to rescue services, to pits, grid and start/finish… and all that means absolutely nothing to people in HR at NASCAR/IMSA. How incredibly disappointing?
And so I’ve reached a point where the dilemma isn’t choosing which weekend to volunteer between IMSA and PWC or Trans Am or Indy… but whether I should find a new hobby because this one is getting way too expensive to continue, especially without any income. And yet I’m addicted to it. Another rejection for a paid gig, and I quickly signed up to volunteer for the Roar and Rolex 24 at Daytona. I’m looking forward to the 50+ car field… many new additions, new teams, new drivers. It’s exciting even when it’s not sustainable, ugh!
Ironically I’ll spend the Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas at the track instead of with family in New Jersey. Oh the choices we make…
The question remains: How the hell do you get a job in Motorsport?
In all this time, and at all these different venues, I’m been completely and hopelessly unsuccessful at achieving even the most modest goal.
We’ll see what 2018 brings. I’m still hopeful. But probably not for too long.
The news of this team going kaput is terrible… not shocking, but just sad really. I used to follow SpeedSource from when I started marshaling in the US. Back in 2013 they raced the Mazda RX-7 firebreathers in GrandAm, the cars that now made their way to Australia (ironic as I’m sure there is similar local talent, including Mad Mike in New Zealand, home of the four rotor Mazda’s).
I used choose races to go to specifically to root for the Mazda diesel-powered GX cars that were just introduced… they kind of sucked but ended up on the podium because frankly no-one else raced in GX class. There were a few Cayman’s if I remember correctly, and the only car that was worse than them was the Lotus Evora.
When they shoved the diesel engine into their Lola’s the results were similar. It was a bit pathetic to watch LMP2 prototypes race so slowly. Things improved with the petrol AER engine, but the cars were so fragile even if they were fast… you look at them sideways and they would break down. Yet I was cheering for them!
I’m sure the Lola’s could have any engine the new buyer chooses for them to be competitive again on the club or even historics racing level… The Mazda6 GT cars don’t need to be propelled by a diesel either. But it’s a cool piece of history on sale here that I hope I’ll see again at a track in the future… or even in a museum somewhere.
Merry Christmas folks… buy yourself a perfect present: Race Car!
PS. I will have to do a follow up write-up on all the Skip Barber liquidated Miata race cars one day. I know there’s one “small” team in Cummings, Georgia area that is restoring 15 of them to their racing glory… maybe I’ll get to visit them in the future to take some photos… maybe I’ll see them at VIR or Road Atlanta in action. One man’s loss is another man’s gain, or however that saying goes. And these liquidation auctions are precisely that.
I want to express my gratitude to the men and women I worked with over the past three consecutive Florida races, two of them back-to-back and especially our Chief of Pit & Grid Marshals Scott Lucas. Thank you sir!
What an incredible opportunity this has been. It’s definitely a first in my seven years of marshaling that I found a team that welcomed me as well as these folks. I am so grateful!
Needless to say I would love to be back and work with them again, and I hope they will extend more opportunities to me in the future.
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.
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!
Acura NSX GT3
Aston Martin Vantage GT3
Audi R8 LMS
BMW M6 GT3
Chevy Corvette C7.R
Ferrari 488 GT3
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.
Greetings from Daytona International Speedway, my first event of 2017 season volunteering during Rolex 24 weekend. First up is the support race to the 24 hour enduro, which in itself has become somewhat of an enduro race… the BMW Endurance Challenge they called it where all of the familiar machinery from years past and some new additions raced on Friday for four hours, significantly longer then their previous 2 hour 45 minute events.
I was volunteering with the Pit & Grid CFR team which for this event was responsible for “crowd control” in the paddock. Being so close to the garages and pit lane was heaven, but unlike all the previous times I flagged this event and took a million pictures, I noticed that this weekend I hardly took any. In fact for the support race the only pix I took were during their grid walk just before the race.
Super happy to have had this opportunity, though a little bummed out that the Mazda MX-5’s didn’t do so well… anyway, here’s the photos I took in pit lane:
This series has turned into something quite exotic, much like their competitors Pirelli World Challenge… this year the McLaren GT4 joins the top “Gran Sport” class alongside the new Porsche Cayman GT4 that was added last year. It ain’t Mustangs vs. Camaros no more. I love what this series has turned into. Also love the fact they are still racing NC Miatas! Makes me feel like I have a fairly “current” model back home.
Greetings from Daytona Beach, Florida my second visit here in two weeks, this time for the actual race: the Rolex 24 at Daytona the IMSA 2017 season opener.
This time my role has changed. Not flagging this year somewhere on the inner road course, instead I’m in the paddock working as “spectator marshal” making sure VIP’s and competitors/teams don’t crash into each other. Instead of flags I’m using the whistle a lot.
So far I’m loving this role!
The weather was perfect today, even got a little dunburn. It is supposed to dip into the freezing territory starting tomorrow. But we’ll manage… stay tuned for more.