Dancing The Dunes: WatchWorks Haarlem Enters Endurance Racing As Official Timekeeper Of Mode 11 Racing
Early morning. Patches of fog dance over the ribbon of immaculate asphalt that circles through the sand dunes. The sound of seagulls and waves breaking on the beach is interrupted by the engine of a Renault Clio 3 RS 200 Cup car coming to live in the paddock. We are at Zandvoort, the historic Formula 1 circuit known for its breathtaking location and demanding layout. Here we are reliving the atmosphere that many decades ago would mark the birth of one of the most famous chronographs in the world, the Rolex Daytona.
For Rolex, the story started across the Atlantic ocean at Daytona Beach, where Sir Malcolm Campbell broke five land speed records with a Rolex around his wrist. While Rolex already had chronographs in its collection, Campbell preferred the time-only models of the brand. As the marketing genius that he was, Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf was one of the very first to recognize the power of celebrities in selling his watches. As Campbell moved for his record attempts to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, due to more favorable conditions, racing history didn’t end in Daytona Beach. 1936 marks the year that the world’s first endurance stock race took place on the track at Daytona Beach. Under the guidance of William France Sr., one of the founding fathers of NASCAR, Daytona Beach would grow to become the Daytona International Speedway, one of the most prestigious race tracks in the United States.
Back to Zandvoort. The similarity between the Daytona International Speedway and Circuit Zandvoort is canning. Both share a rich history, and while the layout differs, the location near the beach creates a unique atmosphere. The Renault Clio Cup car of Mode 11 Racing has warmed up and done its first few laps. The team in the paddock works hard to get the final settings right just before the race starts. With a Cartier executive as one of the drivers, it cannot be a surprise that WatchWorks Haarlem is sponsoring this car. From the terrace on top of the paddock, the image of the Rolex Daytona on the roof of the Renault Clio Cup car is instantly recognizable as the car brakes heavily before entering the Tarzancorner.
photo courtesy of Thomas Bakker
For WatchWorks Haarlem sponsoring this car is about more than creating occasions in which it can entertain guests and clients in an exciting setting. It is also about reliving the atmosphere from which some of the most famous watches in the world were created. It is about the excitement of the race and the camaraderie and teamwork to be competitive while having a good time doing so. Endurance racing also has a similar approach as WatchWorks Haarlem. It is not going for a quick win but more to be a consistent performer. It is about getting all the details right and focusing on the dependability of both (wo)man and machine, or in the case of WatchWorks Haarlem, the client and its timepiece. Exceeding expectations is always the goal. For Mode 11 Racing, that was most certainly achieved as they closed the season in third place. An excellent performance, given that this is only their first year participating in this endurance cup, and a grand promise for next season, of course with WatchWorks Haarlem as their official timing partner.