Grand Marshal, Honorary Starter Named for Rolex 24 At DAYTONA
For the 59th annual Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, Pierre Fillon will serve as the Grand Marshal while Dano Davis has been named the Honorary Starter for North America’s most prestigious sports car race set for Jan. 30-31.
“Pierre Fillon and Dano Davis are important figures in the history of motorsports, so we are honored to welcome them to be a part of the 59th running of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA,” said Chip Wile, President of Daytona International Speedway. “Pierre has been pivotal to the continued growth of endurance racing through his leadership of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, and Dano has succeeded professionally from the boardroom to the race track throughout his storied career. We look forward to welcoming these two titans of motorsports to be a part of the historic legacy of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA.”
Fillon, who will give the command for drivers to “Start Engines,” has been President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) since in 2012. As President, Fillon participated in the creation of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). He also a key to the partnership with IMSA to create the LMDh regulations, which will be able to compete for overall victories in both the WEC and IMSA. The ACO organizes world-renowned races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours Motos motorcycle race, Le Mans Classic and more. The organization is also behind the FIA World Endurance Championship, the European Le Mans Series and the Asian Le Mans Series. Originally from Le Mans, France, Fillon joined the ACO in 1995 and became a board member in 2003.
Davis, who will wave the green flag to get the race started, dedicated 36 years of his professional career to Winn-Dixie. He began his career as a part-time employee in 1968 and rose to president of the company in 1982 and retired as chairman in 2004. He grew up passionate about sports cars and racing. In 1984, a friendship with Bob Snodgrass led to the duo racing vintage and historic cars in HSR and SVRA until 2003. After purchasing the Brumos dealerships in 1990, he brought the team back to professional racing in the IMSA Supercar Series, winning the championships from 1991-1993. Brumos returned to full-time racing in 2000 in the GRAND-AM Daytona Prototype class. The team succeeded with first and third place finishes in the 2009 Rolex 24 At DAYTONA. In 2011, Brumos began competing in GT Racing and won the GT Championship the same year. Brumos officially retired from racing in 2013.
First staged in 1962, the iconic race will open the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. It will allow fans to witness THE IMSA event that pushes the boundaries of motorsports competition from both high atop the frontstretch seating area with a bird’s-eye view, as well as the infield to see the twists and turns of the 3.56-mile venue from a closer standpoint. Transportation services will be provided to get fans to and from both destinations.
Safety protocols will be implemented to aid in the wellbeing of the limited number of fans in attendance.
Two-day admissions to the storied, twice-around-the-clock Rolex 24 are just $68 with kids 12 and under free. Guests will safely experience a host of sights and sounds that include a fireworks show, the Ferris Wheel at the Boardwalk, entry into the infield UNOH Fanzone, and a host of fun exhibits and displays. Single-day tickets are also available on Thursday ($10 - includes on-track practices) and Friday ($30 - includes on-track practices and the BMW Endurance Challenge 4-hour race). To learn more on all Rolex 24 admission opportunities, including a limited number of RV camping spots, fans are urged to quickly call 1-800-PITSTOP or log onto www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.
Continuing tradition, fans will also see world-famous drivers from across various racing disciplines who are gearing up for the ultimate test of man and machine that demands precision, speed, reliability and strategy while requiring the greatest of skill and focus. From the NASCAR ranks, reigning NASCAR Cup Series Champion Chase Elliott, who won the NASCAR Cup Series DAYTONA Road Course event last summer, will make his debut in the Rolex 24. He will be joined by seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and two-time DAYTONA 500 winner Jimmie Johnson, who returns for his eighth start, along with Austin Dillon, the 2018 DAYTONA 500 Champion, also making his initial start in the coveted event.
Some of the world’s finest race car drivers who also are scheduled to compete include two-time Indy 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande, who were champions of the 2020 Rolex 24, along with former Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen and former Rolex 24 winner Richard Westbrook. Wayne Taylor Racing, which has won the last two Rolex 24 titles, will be back to attempt a trifecta, featuring three-time Indy 500 victor and 2020 WeatherTech Championship DPi champion Helio Castroneves, 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, two-time WeatherTech Championship titlist Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, a victor of the Rolex 24 in 2018.
All Rolex 24 At DAYTONA entries will return for the traditional Roar Before the Rolex 24 test session Jan. 22-24 that includes Saturday’s Scouts of America 145 IMSA Prototype Challenge as well as a new feature – Sunday’s Motul Pole Award 100 qualifying race. Results from that event will set the starting grid for the Rolex 24 the following week.
As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Rolex 24 will be conducted in accordance with enhanced safety protocols and procedures to provide a safe environment for guests, IMSA competitors, employees and the local community. All guests will be screened before entering the facility and will be required to wear face coverings while maintaining six feet social distancing throughout their visit.
For a schedule of on-track activities and protocols, logo onto www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest news and updates.
Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.
Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.
Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network.
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