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The Rolex 24 At Daytona: The 'Shopper Preview

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On: Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 3:15PM | By: John Welch

The Rolex 24 At Daytona: The 'Shopper Preview

Twenty four hours is a long time to be driving a car, at part throttle. Wide open throttle, for nearly half a minute, and then brakes, hard, and then full left-hand lock and then full right-hand lock and then full throttle again, three times a lap, for twenty four hours; why, that is just plain stupid.

Or "awesomelybadass", depending how you look at it. The 'Shopper tends to fall into the latter category. If you do too, then maybe you would like to know what we were up to this weekend . . .

Okay, enough riveting suspense. The 'Shopper made it to the Grand-Am series season opener, the 2010 Rolex 24 at Daytona. This was a poorly-planned, confusingly executed expedition into the inner reaches of a fake auto-journalist's manhood, and his ability to stay awake and competently follow a race so astounding, so magnificent, that it had literally melted his rainsoaked brain into a fine gelatinous ooze by the end of the first hour. And this year was supposed to be borrrring. "Low car-count," people said. "Too much rain all the time," they complained. It's Florida in January, dummies! You're watching road-racing, rain makes it better!

There will be posts about the race, who won, who broke, and what happened in the infield, throughout the week. This post is just a small taste of the media we collected over the last three days. Before flipping through the image gallery, allow me to present some brief notes scrawled in a wet note-book during the race . . .

During the pace/warm-up laps:

- The car-count is smaller, true, but the level of "exotica" in Grand-Am has vastly improved over the last several years. The 2010 Rolex 24 field includes two Corvettes, a Ferrari F430, V10-powered BMW M6s, and of course, Steveson Motorsports new Camaros. The Daytona Prototypes are also impressively developed this year, the Ganassi BMW looking like it might even be competitive in the ALMS . . . okay, maybe that's a stretch . . .

- Favorite paint schemes: #44 Magnus Porsche GT3, followed closely by the Germany-meets-Brumos livery of the Action Express Racing Porsche Riley.

- SpeedSoucre-built 4-rotor RX8's sound similar to Stukka dive-bombers raiding London. Serious ear-splitting wail emitted by these spectacular race cars.

During the race:

- As good as the RX8's sound, the Turner/Dinan BMW M6 is Satan's own meat grinder. This thing is absolutely brutal, sounds as if it's murdering wild boars by the dozen underneath its long, menacing hood. When walking next to the safety fence on the front-stretch, the cars pass about fifteen feet away from you. When the Turner car passes, it literally tears the air from your lungs, as if someone pelted you right in the chest with a basketball. Quite the monster this Bimmer . . .

- The Turner BMW and Steveson Camaros are continually harassing each other. Watched many excellent battles between these two teams. Both teams are campaigning untested equipment, and fared quite well reliabilty-wise over the course of 24 hours.

- Daytona Prototypes are fun to watch, but sound a bit tame compared to some of the GT cars. Those Mazdas, geez, absolute screamers. There is something angry going on inside the sheetmetal of those glorified lawnmowers. Dempsey-car (our adopted code-name for the #40 SeattleRacing Mazda RX8) is especially pissed.

- Rain sucks. Racing makes rain much easier to swallow . . .

After the race:

- DEPRESSION. Complete depression. There are another two months before ALMS holds the 12 Hours of Sebring. That is a loooong time, sigh . . .

Check back all week for an in-depth, gonzo-style write up on the race and the wacky ess that happened to us during the race. Videos, images and joyful, unabashed, boy-like gushing on all things Rolex 24. For now, a teaser gallery . . .

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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