2023 Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona

I arrived at the Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona later on the Friday before the race. I had just driven from Charlottesville, VA. I had photographed a couple of cars for Broad Arrow’s 2023 Amelia Auction on my way from Indiana. With the detour to Virginia and then the longer-than-anticipated stint to Daytona from my shoot, I was already starting off the Race Week sleep-deprived.

Friday Michelin Pilot Challenge Race.

As soon as I got there, I walked into a nice sunset during IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge race. Got quite a few really good ones from the stands at the kink. You can see the number 42 Mustang lifting its wheel as he puts the power down out of the kink.

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I got back to the track early on Saturday morning after spending the night outside the track and loading up on provisions for the main event. I parked outside the track and was picked up by some friends where we rode into the infield where we would set up camp for the rest of the weekend.

Vintage and Past 24H Cars.

Before the start of the 24 Hour, there is an exhibition of vintage and prior 24-hour race cars. These are by far some of my favorite cars to witness. Even though they are not going at full blast, they are still exciting to watch blast around Daytona International Speedway.

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After watching the Vintage Exhibition we all made our way from our camp at the Kink to the Stands to watch the start of one of, if not, the greatest races of the entire IMSA calendar year.

Green Flag Drops

I had to battle the crowds to get through with my huge camera bag strapped to my back and then lug all that gear up I don’t know how many flights of stairs to get to, in my opinion, the best vantage point at Daytona to watch the green flag drop.

The sun dipped below the horizon during some heavy cloud cover so there wasn’t much of any sunset to get Saturday afternoon.

Into The Night

Since it’s held so close to the dead of winter, Nighttime at Rolex is one of the longest in the Endurance Racing calendar. Makes for lots of chances to fill up your memory cards with blurry Ferris Wheels. Below are some of the favorites:

Obligatory Firework Photo:

2023 Daytona Rolex 24 Hour Fireworks | Photo: Teddy Pieper

As the dead of night set in, I got into my tent around 3 am and slept for a couple of hours. I got up and shot across the lake a little waiting for sunrise, then made my way to be in position for the possibility of the clouds parting for at least a couple seconds.

Beautiful Sunrise & Battle Scars

And for a couple of seconds, they did part, letting in beautiful golden morning light. As the light spilled through small openings in the clouds it revealed all the battle scars of the cars. Dirty and beaten race cars are the best to take photos of and to have the sunrise at the same time was absolute motorsport photography perfection!

Below are my favorites of the whole 24 Hours:

During some of the final hours of the race, there were a few restarts that mixed up the field a little and made the last few hours very exciting! The first photo in the set below is a favorite of those restarts, catching the Meyer Shank No. 60 taking the lead out of the International Horseshoe for the last time till the checker.

24 Hours comes to an end.

As the race wore on, I had filled most all my cards, and the lack of sleep was starting to catch up to me. But I kept on, shooting a little here and there. I was not in a position to get a good picture of the finish, but I did watch it from the top of the garages, the LMP finish was the most thrilling with 1 and 2 finishing 24 hours of racing just seconds apart from each other.

I also took a few on my way out as the cars rolled back into the garages and weigh-ins after a long and grueling race.

Out of the 10s of Thousands of photos I took and filled up about 2 TB of memory cards with, these were my favorites.

All Images © Theodore Pieper | Please Contactted@vconceptsllc.com for Commercial Licensing.

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