The 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona

There was nothing small about this past weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. It was the 50th anniversary for the twenty four hour race and with that brought out a huge field of 59 starters. In those cars were many new entries to the series, possibly the most anticipated being the new Daytona Prototype models. It wasn’t just the field that was big though, as Daytona saw a record breaking number of spectators and in fact sold out infield camping.

As expected, the race was a dog fight from the start and the biggest upset came in the first hour when the Suntrust sponsored DP Corvette was forced to withdraw with mechanical problems.

After twenty four hours of wheel banging racing the Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley came across the line with a well fought win. The top three cars finished on the same lap and were all Ford powered. The fourth place finisher in DP was the Ganassi BMW which had gearbox problems in the closing stages of the race ruining their hopes of a podium finish.

In GT it was a Porsche 1-2-3 with Magnus Racing taking the win over the famous Brumos entry. It was a disappointing weekend for the Mazdas with the highest RX-8 finishing 6th in GT. Out of the new Audi R8s the highest finishing Audi was 31st in class.

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PHOTOS BY:┬áKevin Abel – KABELPHOTO

One of the attractions in 2012 was the collection of past Daytona winners, such as this famous Gulf Porsche 917.

More classic race cars in attendance.

 

Another past winner seen here is the Dodge Viper ran by the famous French squad Oreca. It won overall in the 2000 Rolex 24, a rare occurrence for a GT classed car.

The GT field had a tight start into turn one.

As night fell sleep was not an option as the racing never died down. Here is a great look at some of a team's equipment for a race at this level.

Night racing is beautiful and there is a lot of darkness in Daytona. Here the new APR entered Audi R8 soldiers in the night.

The rotaries have always been a fan favorite when the sun drops, it's not too hard to figure out why.

One of the new Ferrari 458 entries, this one from Risi Competizione. This car went on to finish 5th in class, the highest finishing Ferrari.

A Camaro dicing it up with a couple Porsche entries.

A GT class Mustang with glowing rotors.

The number 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley was in contention for the win the whole race with a stunning driver lineup including famed Audi driver Allan McNish. They went on to finish second after a true wheel to wheel fight with the race winning car.

The overall win went to the 60 car of Michael Shank Racing with their Ford Riley. It was a hard fought effort and a very well deserved win for the team.