When Darren Law takes the green flag for the Rolex 24 At Daytona this week, he will extend his streak as the only driver to have competed in every Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race since the series started in 2000 (161 races through 2012). But he won't be thinking about the number 162 next to his name in the record book. He's looking for a number 2, for overall wins in the 24-hour season opener.
Law, of Phoenix, drove to victory in the 2009 Rolex 24 with Brumos Racing. This year, he will be behind the wheel of the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette-powered Daytona Prototype, alternating stints with Jon Fogarty (Bend, Ore.), Memo Gidley (Novato, Calif.) and Alex Gurney (Irvine, Calif.). The race is set for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 26 and 27, on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway infield road course in Daytona Beach, Fla.
"I'm really, really looking forward to this 24," Law said. "I'm excited to be back in a Corvette prototype and I'm excited to be joining the GAINSCO team. They've got a solid, professional, winning program; they've got great drivers and a great team. I really feel confident that we've got a good shot at it. But this is a hard, hard race – it took me over 10 years to get that first win, so it doesn't come easy. It would be great to get my second one and help the team win their first Rolex 24."
Law will be carrying his 2009 prize – the Daytona Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Rolex watch presented to the winning drivers – but he won't be wearing it because, "I want to have space for my new one!"
Victory is the obvious goal, but competing in the Rolex 24 is just as important to Law. It's even more compelling this year, as he'll be limiting his race schedule to allow more time for his job as chief operating officer at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Phoenix.
"This race is totally cool! It is the premier endurance event in the United States and it means a lot no matter how many times you've done it," he noted. "It's got such history and it's so grueling. There are always a lot of fans and a big crowd; it's a great atmosphere. I don't know what it is about the race, but I love coming back every year.
"It's been challenging managing both racing full time and running a company at the same time. For one event, it's not a big issue, but I will be pulling back on some of my driving this year to spend more time and focus on Bondurant. It is such a phenomenal school, going on 45 years of business this year. I want to see it continue to grow and prosper for many years to come."
Another Rolex 24 trophy would look good in the office ...