This weekend is the Rolex 24 at Daytona, one of the most grueling endurance races in the world. And while that race is going on, we'll be in our own: Can we get from Daytona to NYC in 24 hours with stops at some of the best tracks on the east coast?
(Full Disclosure: Here's the deal. We bought plane tickets to Daytona. Audi is providing a car, one night in a hotel, and possibly some gas money. IMSA, NASCAR, and Audi all worked together to provide credentials as well as access to all the major endurance tracks on the east coast. It's been a team effort.)
First off, what car did you get?
Audi is in the midst of launching the RS 7 over here, so it just seemed natural to have some fun with one. I drove one in Germany last summer, and it was seriously one of my favorite cars that I had a shot in this year. It's also perfect for a long distance trip.
What's the idea, exactly?
We are going to drive a lap at the four of the biggest endurance tracks (Sebring, Daytona, Road Atlanta, and VIR) on the east coast within a 24 hour window.
That sounds hard.
It is! So here's exactly what we're doing. On Friday evening, Raphael and I will be running a lap at Sebring International Raceway, our own sort of roar before the 24. Saturday morning is when the challenge really starts. We'll run a lap of Daytona in the RS 7 before the race starts and then head north to Road Atlanta where we'll also run a lap. After Road Atlanta, we'll set course for VIR to run a lap there, presumably late at night or early Saturday morning. IMSA, NASCAR, and Audi have worked to make sure that the tracks will be open when we get there for a lap or two.
After the laps are all done, we'll be heading to Washington, DC to pick up Patrick for the last leg to get us to New York. Raph and I will probably be tired at that point, which we're conservatively estimating will be around 5 or 6 AM Sunday morning.
Total planned drive time, without traffic or stops, is 20 hours at safe and legal speeds. Making it in 24 hours will be tight, but it isn't impossible.
Why the hell are you doing this?
We like a challenge. And why not? We have the opportunity to drive on some of the best race tracks in the US when they're totally empty and at obscene hours. It's going to be huge fun.
How can we follow along?
We'll be frequently updating here on Jalopnik during the course of the drive. Plan is to try and get an update each hour.
What's up at the end?
Hopefully sleep. Lots and lots of sleep. Our end point will be 210 Elizabeth Street in Manhattan, which we hope to reach between 10 AM and noon on Sunday if all goes to plan. So keep your eye out for a red Audi RS 7 this weekend. And if you see us on the highway, please get out of the way.