Rolex & Motor Sports
Rolex & Motor Sports
Rolex is a major force at play behind the finest events, drivers and organizations in motor sport. Whether supporting the leading motor sport series, Formula 1®; iconic endurance races, such as 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA; or honouring tradition with the historic Monterey Classic Car Week and Goodwood Revival, Rolex has cultivated a privileged relationship with this fast-paced world.
The Rolex alliance with motor sport dates back to the 1930s when Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the 300 miles per hour barrier at the wheel of his World Land Speed Record car, Bluebird, with a Rolex on his wrist. Since then, Rolex’s presence in motor sport has grown steadily, fueled by a shared passion for performance and innovation.
In 1959, Rolex partnered with Daytona International Speedway® in the United States and in 1963, launched the iconic Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph. A few years later, Rolex added the name ‘Daytona’ to the dial of the iconic chronograph created for racing drivers to mark its connection with the speedway. Rolex announced its Title Sponsorship of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA in 1992 and nine years later became the Official Partner and the Official Timepiece of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s oldest and most prestigious endurance sports car race.
The Rolex 24 At DAYTONA is regarded by many as one of the toughest races on the motor sport calendar. Conducted over a compact 5.73 km (3.56-mile) closed circuit, the Daytona race challenges drivers with a unique combination of the high-banked turns of the tri-oval superspeedway, interrupted by a chicane on the back straight and a sweeping, fast infield section, including two hairpins. This demanding course is made even more challenging given the 700 laps needed to complete it, half of which are tackled at night.
As a pioneer of sports sponsorship, the Swiss watch brand has supported racing at Daytona International Speedway® since the track opened in 1959, however the connection with the area dates back further still. The long, flat and very firm Daytona Beach played host to 14 World Land Speed Records in the early part of the 20th century – five of which were set by Rolex wearer Sir Malcolm Campbell, including the fastest official record of 276 mph in 1935 at the wheel of his mighty Bluebird. In 1992, Rolex became Title Sponsor of the 24 Hours of Daytona classic formalizing a long-standing association with the Speedway and strengthening the link between the 24-hour race and the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona watch. The brand is now so closely tied to the event that aficionados simply refer to it as ‘The Rolex’.