Team Owners Eye "Huge Leap Forward" For Rolex 24 At Daytona This Weekend
Team owners fielding cars in this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona, the inaugural event in the Int'l Motor Sports Association's Tudor United SportsCar Championship series, said that the series "could lead to a huge leap forward in the profile, sponsorships and prize winnings," according to Dinah Voyles Pulver of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. With ticket sales and sponsor interest "up this year, team owners and others are optimistic." Team Owner Michael Shank said sports car series purses have never reached the proportions of NASCAR races because there is "not enough corporate involvement." Shank said "ticket sales are up" for the event. He added that in terms of the size of the field, the interest and ticket sales, it could be the "biggest Rolex 24 in history." Shank estimated that it will "cost roughly $550,000 to [compete] in the race this weekend, including the testing earlier in January." Pulver wrote if teams are "fortunate, they also land corporate sponsors who pay to have their brand and logos on the race car." Though teams "don't discuss the cash behind the sponsorships, team owners indicated the prices are more reasonable than NASCAR series." While sponsorship in a Nationwide or Sprint Cup race "offers huge exposure in terms of the number of fans and television viewers, the sponsor may not stand out like they would on an IMSA car" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 1/22).
LOOK AT THE TIME: In Daytona Beach, Fatima Hussein noted Rolex "had a hand in forming" the partnership between its subsidiary Tudor and the IMSA for the launch of the new series. IMSA VP/Marketing David Pettit said that both Rolex and IMSA's "coordinated marketing efforts will greatly benefit both companies." He added, "Rolex approached our organization about the partnership -- the Tudor addition was their idea." Tudor has "a five-year relationship with the series sanctioning body" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 1/19).