Last night I stood watching 60 sports cars thundering towards me at 200mph before braking for turn one at Daytona International Speedway. It was the most visceral motorsport experience I’ve ever encountered.
Lap after lap the drivers came, maintaining breathtaking speed, incredible concentration and, especially when entering turn three abreast, huge balls.
The Daytona 24 Hours is not the first sportscar race I’ve been to – far from it – but it is the one that has made me understand what endurance racing is all about. At Daytona, you feel part of the show, and you can get right up close to it. Even if you retire to the comfort of a hotel room for a few hours, you're close enough to the rawness of it all to really feel the emotions of the teams, drivers and fans.
It helps, of course, that Daytona is an iconic venue, and wherever you go around here you are reminded and taught about the history and the heritage of the place at all times.
And while that history underpins the special nature of the event, the race has everything a modern fan could want. Organisers do everything to ensure that fans come first, whether they're camping on the infield or enjoying the rarefied atmosphere of the Champions Club – which, for a reasonable daily fee, is open to anyone.