Cars on track during the 50th Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona (Photo Credit: Rolex/Tom O'Neal)

Cars on track during the 50th Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona (Photo Credit: Rolex/Tom O'Neal)

After the fantastic success of the 50th Rolex 24 at Daytona in January officials at Daytona International Speedway and the Grand-Am Road Racing took the first steps in the race's next half century by announcing the date of the 51st Rolex 24 in January 2013.

“This year's Rolex 24 At Daytona raised the bar for sports car racing in North America,” said Grand-Am President Tom Bledsoe. “Next year, expectations for the Rolex 24 will be higher than ever. Everyone at GRAND-AM is ready to meet and exceed those expectations.”

Taking place on the weekend of January 26-27 the Rolex 24 will start the 2013 Budweiser Speedweeks that culminate in the Daytona 500.

“We're still riding the wave of excitement from the historic 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 and we expect to keep that great momentum going as we head into next year's twice-around-the-clock challenge,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III“This past January, we hosted one of the largest crowds in Rolex 24 history and all of those fans can look forward to another unforgettable weekend of world class sports car action at the 'World Center of Racing.'”

The 50th edition of the race drew an almost unprecedented grid of international endurance racing stars and manufacturers including Chevrolet, Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, Audi and Ford. The race was won by Michael Shank Racing's team of A.J. Allmendinger, Justin Wilson, Ozz Negri and John Pew.