Rolex 24: The Action After Dark

At Daytona, Ford struggles, fans consume copious beer.

It’s after 10 p.m. and the track at Daytona is hot. And so is the action in the infield. We’re eight hours into the Rolex 24 at Daytona—American endurance racing at its best—and the story so far is: It's a good night for Ford! Also a tough night for Ford.

Trading leading spot in the race is No. 2 Ford EcoBoost Riley Daytona Prototype, with IndyCar champion Tony Kanaan in the cockpit, and the No. 9 Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype, with Marc Goosens at the helm. The order keeps shifting, the end is impossible to predict.

The big story this weekend is the return of Ford Motor Company with an all-new Ford GT racecar—and that car’s underwhelming performance thus far. Two Ford GTs are entered, No. 66 and No. 67 (to celebrate the anniversary of the previous Ford GT racing car’s legendary Le Mans victories in 1966 and 1967). These new cars are currently running 45th and 48th, respectively. Not what team boss Chip Ganassi was hoping for. Leading the GTLM class is the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette with Jan Magunussen driving.

As far as the crowd goes... This is the Daytona International Speedway, kids. The party is always wild. There’s nothing quite like this event anywhere in the world. Touring the infield, we found thousands of fans cooking up all kinds of cuisine—and most of it edible. An ocean of beer has been consumed, and there’s no sign of any letup with over 15 more hours of action to come.

Here’s a few photos to give a taste of the 2016 Rolex 24. More on the way.

A.J. Baime
A.J. Baime
A.J. Baime
A.J. Baime