TUDOR named entitlement partner for United SportsCar in five-year deal


United SportsCar Racing has a new name and a new title sponsor. The renamed TUDOR United SportsCar Championship was revealed today at NASCAR Chase Media Day in Chicago. The official series release is below: 

The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) announced today that TUDOR — an innovative and retro-chic brand — has been named entitlement partner for the next five years of what now will be known as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The IMSA announcement this morning precedes TUDOR’s official U.S. launch this evening during New York Fashion Week.

“The 2014 season will feature the rebirth and revitalization of sports car racing in North America, and therefore it’s the ideal time to introduce a premium watch brand like TUDOR to our U.S. fans and partners, as well as further solidify our relationship with the international motorsports community,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett. “This is a natural progression of the fantastic relationship we’ve cherished for decades with our partners at Rolex.

“In TUDOR, we have an optimal match for the Championship, as its brand attributes align with ours, specifically its Grantour collection that was created for sports car aficionados.”

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship extends ties of the prestigious Swiss watchmaking market to premier U.S. sports car racing dating back to 1959, when NASCAR Founder and IMSA Co-Founder Bill France Sr. and Rolex formed their initial relationship. Rolex will continue to serve as Title Sponsor of the annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, and Official Timepiece at Sebring International Raceway and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.

“For years TUDOR has been inspired by motorsports,” said TUDOR Brand Manager Russell Kelly. “This new partnership between TUDOR and IMSA allows us to elevate our commitment to sports car racing. This is the perfect alignment between partners dedicated to performance and precision.”

In 1926, Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf registered “The Tudor” brand and established Montres Tudor SA in 1946. From 2009 to 2011, TUDOR had a partnership with Porsche Motorsports as Timing Partner, and two years later, it began its collaboration with Ducati as global Timing Partner. Its affiliation with the FIA World Endurance Championship — which includes a race in Austin, Texas, alongside the American Le Mans Series race later this month —commenced this year.

“Not only do TUDOR’s brand attributes of performance, prestige and elegance align with the nature and character of endurance sports car racing, but clearly, we are the only form of motorsport in which the race length is determined by time, not distance,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “Based on our mutual strengths, a watch and timing partner is a superb match for our series. We’re pleased that TUDOR recognizes that our passionate fans are absolutely the right clientele for them.”

The inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will debut next January with the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona. The complete 2014 schedule will be announced at a later date.

Marco Andretti to drive throwback scheme to honor 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario’s last win

Photo courtesy Andretti-Herta Autosport
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Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).

So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.

Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.

“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.

“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”

The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.

Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.

Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago:

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