While they were arguably never the most attractive-looking race cars, the Daytona Prototype formula was one of the major success stories in U.S. sports car racing in the 2000s, and even stretching into the post-merger years in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Born out of an idea to create a safe and affordable prototype that would also produce close racing, the DP platform served as the workhorse in the Grand-Am Sports Car Series for more than a decade, delivering memorable races, hard-fought battles and opening the doors of sports car racing to teams and drivers from other racing disciplines.
J.J. O’Malley’s latest book, “The Daytona Prototype: The Concept that Revolutionized American Sports Car Racing” is adequately titled and offers a comprehensive look into the DP from its conception to the first race in 2003 and all the way through its 14-year run that ended in the 2016 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
O’Malley, who covered the era both as a journalist and later with the Grand-Am communications department, has authored numerous books on motorsports, including a a two-volume guide to the Daytona 24 Hours that has been highly regarded within the industry.
Featuring imagery from Brian Cleary, who as Grand-Am’s official photographer is one the few to have covered every single DP race, “The Daytona Prototype” provides a complete database of results from each of the 125 chassis built and raced in both Grand-Am and the WeatherTech Championship.
Stories from the ten different constructors and nine engine manufacturers that were part of the DP formula are also featured in the expansive 275-page hardcover book, along with a timeline of key moments, including the initial sketch Mark Raffauf created in 2001 that ultimately helped create the first chassis from Dave Klym’s Fabcar operation.
The book is also filled with memories from key players in the DP community, including drivers, team owners, constructors and engineers, along with the ‘Greatest 10 DP races’ selected by Raffauf, who served as the project manager and race director for much of its lifespan.
With forwards from Raffauf, IMSA/Grand-Am chairman Jim France and stalwart entrant Michael Shank, who credits the DP formula for launching his career as a team owner, O’Malley’s book provides a treasure trove of fascinating anecdotes that accurately represent the unique era in North American sports car racing.
Available on Amazon for a reasonable $49.99, the definitive guide to the DP would make a great Father’s Day gift, or frankly for anyone who has held a soft spot in their hearts for the revolutionary prototype platform.
The Daytona Prototype
$49.99 (via Amazon)