DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2007) -- Dan Gurney, one of America’s greatest racing legends and winner of the inaugural Daytona Continental, now known as the Rolex 24 At Daytona, has been named Grand Marshal for the 46th anniversary of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 26-27 at Daytona International Speedway.
As part of his Grand Marshal duties, Gurney will give the starting command, “Drivers start your engines,” to kick off the legendary twice-around-the-clock sports car endurance race and will present the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Daytona Cosmographs to the Rolex 24 winners in Gatorade Victory Lane .
Gurney enjoyed a successful career as a driver, car builder and owner. As a driver, in 312 starts, he won 51 times and was the first driver to win in four major racing categories -- Formula One, NASCAR, IndyCar and sports car.
In 1961, Gurney won the inaugural Daytona Continental, a three-hour sports car race that has now become the historic Rolex 24. Driving on the 3.81-mile road course, Gurney, behind the wheel of the No. 96 Lotus-Climax 19b S 2500 car, won the Daytona Continental completing 82 laps and averaging 104.101 mph in what was the fastest sports car race ever run in the United States.
As an owner and car builder, Gurney’s All American Racers Toyota team set the Rolex 24 qualifying record for the 3.56-mile road course in 1993. Driver P.J. Jones set the mark that still stands today with a lap of 136.521 mph in Toyota Eagle Mk III.
The Rolex 24 At Daytona is the kick off event to the international motorsports calendar as well as the season-opening race for the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. A star-studded field of champion drivers from NASCAR, IndyCar and Champ Car face off against the best from Grand-Am Rolex Series on Daytona’s historic road course in the ultimate test of man and machine.