Saturday marks the start of IMSA's annual season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, which means sports car racing fanatics are preparing to stay awake for a full day on-end to see who walks away with a high-class timepiece. Part of that prep might mean sim racing, given the fact most folks will never know what it's like to hustle around the 3.56-mile track at record speed. Luckily, that's where iRacing and CXC Simulations come in clutch with a walkthrough of the roval courtesy of Scuderia Corsa driver Jeff Westphal.
This video of Westphal at Los Angeles-area sim arcade Base51 shows what it's like to hit the Daytona sports car course in a Ferrari 488 GT3. Since he drives a Weathertech-liveried Prancing Horse in IMSA's GTD class IRL, he's pretty familiar with the high-speed circuit—and high-speed machinery.
Every lap at Daytona gets off to a challenging start with Turn 1, which transitions from the track's 18-degree banking straight into a wide-radius left-hander. A quick series of turns involving two sizable curbs leads to the Horseshoe—a particularly packed spot when several classes of traffic are on-track at the same time.
It's largely flat-out through Turn 4, though Turn 5 is a strong right-hander. A short straight delivers drivers into Turn 6, and then they exit onto the banking. GT cars can reach speeds of 170 miles per hour or more here, with prototypes nudging 200 mph as they approach the Bus Stop chicane.
At last, it's back to the banking and onto the start/finish straight before doing it all over again...for 24 hours. The all-time record for laps completed at the Rolex came in 2018 when Mustang Sampling Racing ran 808 laps in the No. 5 Cadillac DPi V.R, equaling 2,876.48 miles.
You can find peace in knowing that iRacing hosts its own Rolex 24 each year, and it's open to sim racing teams from all over. Understand, though, that you'll be on the hook for a full day—just like the real racers.
As for IMSA's 2020 season, the Rolex 24 will begin at 1:40 p.m. ET Saturday and be aired on NBC. Coverage for the full 24 hours will also stream online in case you're a glutton for sleep deprivation but expect a paywall in there somewhere.
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