Winners of the Rolex 24 Walk Away With a Title and a Quartet of Status Watches

Rolex race-Publicity-H-2019
Courtesy of Rolex

"There's no current driver or past driver who wouldn't say the most memorable thing you can take away from this race is the watch," said grand marshal and five-time winner Scott Pruett.

The SAG Awards weren't the only coveted trophies awarded on Sunday — across the country, four pricey watches also were finding their way into the hands of a winning team.

The 57th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona concluded Sunday afternoon, and as its name might imply, the prize for winning this particular sporting event exceeds a silver cup that might be consigned to a glass display case. Drivers Jordan Taylor, Fernando Alonso, Kamui Kobayashi and Renger Van Der Zande of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac team and Wayne Taylor Racing also picked up a quartet of Rolex watches for their efforts: the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, to be exact, with "winner" engraved on the case back.

With its late-January timing, the legendary 24-hour endurance race at the Daytona International Speedway also kicks off the racing season in the U.S. Weather in northern Florida wasn’t kind to this year’s event, however, with rain severely impacting track conditions early Sunday morning. With standing water on the track, some of the world’s best drivers hydroplaning, and up to five inches of rain continuing to pelt the Daytona area, the race was called with roughly 10 minutes to go, in the midst of its second red flag of the day, the first time two red flags have been called in the race’s history. Alonso had taken the lead just prior to a caution that preceded the red flag that ultimately ended the race.

Hopes also were high for an all-female team running the Rolex 24 for the first time since 1993, especially after Brazilian driver Bia Figueiredo posted the fastest qualifying time on Saturday — equally impressive because it was her first time qualifying in the Heinricher Racing Caterpillar team’s Acura NSX. Those hopes were dashed by a Sunday morning on-track incident that damaged the car, however, and the team finished in 13th place.

This year’s grand marshal and starter of the race was legendary driver Scott Pruett, a five-time winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and a friend of the iconic watch brand. “When you consider all the time, effort and energy that goes into trying to win the Rolex 24, it is completely consuming, and a watch is a symbol of this commitment,” Pruett said in a statement. “If you win a trophy, it sits in your trophy case. However, when you win a Daytona, with ‘winner’ engraved on the back, there’s nothing more special. There’s no current driver or past driver who wouldn’t say the most memorable thing you can take away from this race is the watch.”