The Rolex 24 at Daytona is, as history defines, one of motorsports’ crown jewels. As one of America’s most prestigious races, and as one of the most important endurance races worldwide, it has stood as a beacon, calling to racers throughout the world with a hunger for victory. Mazda’s first entry into the renowned race as a factory effort came in 1978 with this 13B Rotary-powered RX3.
Street circuits hold a certain allure. As race engines echo off of the buildings that once lined your daily commute, race flags pepper the city skyline with color. For a weekend, the city transforms and fans line each block to catch a glimpse as their favorite drivers scream by. Street corners where pedestrians once waited become split second apexes before the long straight down a back street.
In many ways, the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona International Speedway elicits the same emotions as the first days of school. After a long, cold winter absent of racing and cars, we all converged on the Florida beach town to kick off the racing season. I saw familiar faces as I made my way through the paddocks and into the photographers’ room. The smell of race fuel flooded my mind with memories backed by the throaty exhaust notes echoing through the row of garages.
Sportscar racing is fraught with rivalries: they stand as the ultimate motivation in a sport where bragging rights reign supreme. Ranging from the likes of Ayrton Senna vs. Alain Prost, and Jeff Gordon vs. Dale Earnhardt, or even Big Foot vs. Grave Digger, it’s these iconic rivalries that bring new fans to the sport and fuel the flames of competition.
As Shark(Nose) Week begins, it’s important to start with a bang. The E9 CSL’s successes were pivotal in helping to define BMW’s brand as a whole; without the devastatingly fast touring coupe, BMW’s sport-luxury trademark approach to motoring would likely never have seen the success it has today. As for what an E9 CSL actually is, let’s paraphrase the basics.