DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The campaign to display historic winning cars of the Rolex 24 At Daytona continues with Daytona International Speedway officials securing two of the cars that propelled racing legend Dan Gurney to his place in the storied history of America’s most prestigious sports car race.
The Arciero Racing No. 96 Lotus-Climax 19B that captured the inaugural Rolex 24 in 1962 as well as the No. 98 EAGLE GTP car designed, built and campaigned by Gurney’s All American Racers team that captured the 1993 Rolex 24 At Daytona crown will be available for fans to see as part of the display of past overall winning Rolex 24 At Daytona cars at the 50th anniversary of the twice-around-the-clock challenge on Jan. 28-29.
They will join the previously announced Preston Henn Porsches that captured the 1983 and 1985 Rolex 24 At Daytona in the display. Additional participating cars will be announced in the coming months as more champion cars are secured to be part of this one-of-a-kind display.
“When you think about the history of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, you can’t help but admire Dan Gurney and the achievements that he made in this grueling and challenging race,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “At the 50th Rolex 24 At Daytona, fans will be able to revisit that history with both of these race-winning machines, which will be an integral part of this unique display.”
Gurney captured the inaugural running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona back in 1962, which was a three-hour race known as the Daytona Continental.
The Californian held a one minute, 40 second lead in the final moments of the race when the engine blew. In order to win the race, Gurney realized he would have to cross the finish line after time expired. If he crossed the line before the three hours were up, he would have to run another lap, which he was unable to do.
Gurney waited on the high groove of the 18-degree banked tri-oval and when the watch struck three hours, he coasted the final five feet to take the checkered flag and the win.
“The flagman was perched just up above me, and I was looking at my watch and he was looking at his watch and I was wondering whether in fact we had the kind of lead we though we had,” Gurney said. “In the end, he waves the flag, and I turned left and coasted down the banking and that was the win.”
More than 30 years later, Gurney won the Rolex 24 At Daytona with his All American Racers team and the No. 98 EAGLE GTP car driven by P.J. Jones, Rocky Moran and Mark Dismore. The team regained the lead for the final time in the race with 96 minutes left and completed 698 laps, 2,484.88 miles averaging 103.503 mph.
In addition to the victory, the No. 98 Toyota remains in the record books today with Jones’ record-breaking pole-winning lap of 136.520 mph, which is the all-time fastest lap by a sports car at Daytona.
The Rolex 24 At Daytona, the kick-off event to Speedweeks 2012 as well as the international motorsports calendar, showcases the world’s best drivers competing against each other lap after lap for 24 hours on Daytona International Speedway’s challenging and demanding 3.56-mile road course.
Tickets for the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona are on sale online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.