Thursday, February 17, 2005

Daytona 24

Thanks to a well times business trip I was able to attend the Daytona 24 Hour sports car race a couple of weeks ago. What an event. The Daytona track is spectacular - no wonder NASCAR types flock to the place.

I arrived on Friday to watch the GrandAm race. The M3s did well against a gaggle of new Mustangs in GT and the Turner Motorsport boys finished a strong third in ST. The ST win went to TC Klien in a Z4.

I bought a scanner from Racing Radios saturday morning and got a list of frequencies to listen to the chatter between race control, cars, spotters, and crews. It is the only way to go for endurance races. I should have bought one sooner.

The 24 started a few minutes late and the first hours saw the demise of a number of competitors. Sadly both PTG BMWs were out by 9pm. I stayed until about midnight and returned at 9am to watch the finish.

I have driven in a couple of 6 hour endurance races and can't say enough about competitors in the 24. While the drives suffer mightily, it's the mechanics who really bear the load. To watch machanics laying a steaming pools of antifreeze at midnight is truely a sight to behold. Their dedication is endless.

I scored some cool race schwag at the event, including a genuine race used rear wing end-plate from Jacques Villeneuve's 1997 World Championship winning Williams FW19 Formula One race car. It has some crash damage so I believe it is from the Canadian GP where he crashed into the wall hard on lap 3. The only other crash that year was in Monaco. Pictures show that only the front of the car was damaged in that crash.

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