This year marked the 50th running of the 24 hours of Daytona and it attracted the largest crowd in history of the event, with various attendance estimates ranging from 60,000-80,000. The 44 car Grand Touring (GT) field that included 9 manufacturers also toppled the GT entry record. The fans filled the entire infield and watched as the cars logged a grueling 2,700 miles.
The Daytona 24 is known as one of the most demanding and challenging races in the motorsports community. Chevrolet Racing sponsored Camaro GT.R’s had an outstanding performance. Even with the Camaros’ much larger frontal area, they ran in front of the Ferraris, Fords, Audis, Vipers and Mazdas throughout the entirety of the race.
In the (GT) class the Katech Motorsports prepared LS3 engines performed flawlessly and propelled the #57 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro GT.R to a 4th in class finish, making them the top finisher for Chevrolet and placing 14th overall in the race. Driver of the #57, John Edwards stated “we cut our fuel close, didn’t have to splash at the end, but in the end we still couldn’t get around or catch up to any of the top three Porsches.” The #88 Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro GT.R made a hard charge at the end to pass the Mazda and grab the 9th finishing position in the GT class and 20th overall. It was a great start to the season for Chevrolet Racing.
The 24 hours of Daytona is a very different race because of its’ long duration, which makes it difficult to maintain momentum and carry the same level of intensity throughout the race. Throughout the 2012 season the Grand-Am series will hold one other Endurance event, the 6 hour race at Watkins Glen, the rest of this year’s races will be Sprint races less than 3 hours long. Porsches have dominated the GT class at Daytona for years, they are just better suited for the long straights and high banks of the race course. However, as the season continues there will be tighter tracks that will suit the Chevrolets better. The second event of the seasons is set for March 30-31, 2012 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.