The Rolex 24 at Daytona is one of the most challenging endurance races in the world, many agree that the shorter track and tighter turns makes it much more intense than the 24 hour at LeMans.
In addition to the Rolex 24, the GrandAm series run a full race season all over the country from spring to fall, all of which are televised on SPEED. Tracks include Homestead Miami, Laguna Seca, VIR (where I attend), Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Miller, etc. The series continues to gain popularity and spectators love these races since the garages are open for viewing and there's a time that spectators can meet the drivers as well. Unlike some racing events, the track is open and there is no assigned seating, allowing you to walk the track and watch the race from multiple vantage points.
One aspect of this particular series that I love is the fact that they run DP and GT classes at the same time which adds a nice strategy to the race and packs in a lot of cars on the track. The DP cars (Daytona Prototype) are the cars you see that look like they're only used on the track. DP chassis are primarily built by Riley Technologies in Mooresville, NC. http://www.rileytech.com/PDF/DaytonaPrototype.pdf
but others are in the race including Dallara, Lola and Coyote. Powerplants include, Ford, Chevy, BMW, Lexus, Porsche for the DP class.
Here's an example of the Dallara chassis which is manufactured in Italy.
The GT cars are production-based cars that you would see on the street. This is includes Porsche GT3, Mazda RX8, Ferrari F430, Chev Camaro and Vette, BMW M3 and M6, etc etc.
Here's an example of the 2011 Porsche GT3 running inthis series.
There are winners for each race in the DP and GT classes.
My company, SunTrust, has a DP car in this series(shown above), owned by Wayne Taylor Racing. We placed fifth in the Rolex 24, and would have been in contention for the win but aggressive checking from Juan Pablo Montoya led to some significant damage early on which had us playing catch-up for most of the time. Couple this with a 2 hour 40 minute yellow due to fog on Sunday morning and we had quite an uphill battle on our hands. We were seven laps back due to damage and by the end of the race, we were only one lap behind the winning car. We came in second for the 2010 championship, behind Scott Pruett's team, Ganassi racing which is an 800 lb gorilla in the world of motorsports.
Here's our car with this year's paint scheme.
Here's a nice summary of last weekend's race which had a total of 14 hours featured on SPEED which is impressive. 7 hours on Sat and 7 hours on Sunday.
Hope this was a helpful summary. More info, race results, current standings for the championship, race schedule, etc can be found at www.grand-am.com