Michael Christensen auctions off Rolex 24 winner watch for Ukrainian relief

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Credit: Michael L. Levitt/LAT Photo USA

In 2017, Michael Christensen scored the biggest victory of his career up to that point when he and Alega Motorsports won the GTD class in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Five years later, he has auctioned off the watch he received for the victory to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine as its defence from Russian invasion approaches day #220.

The watch, a Rolex Daytona model given to overall and class winners, was projected to go for €33,500 to €40,500. Including buyer’s premium, the auction ultimately reached a hammer price of €88,800. All proceeds from the auction will go towards the Save the Children Fund‘s Ukrainian programme. Save the Children has operated in the country since the start of hostilities in 2014, eight years before the full invasion.

“The watch is dear to my heart, as it was awarded to me after one of my biggest and proudest victories. At the same time, the situation in Ukraine is absolutely terrible and sad, and most children in Ukraine are growing up under completely different circumstances than I did,” said Christensen. “If I can help just a little bit, so they can look forward to a better life, I want to do it.

“It has been a long journey, and of course my nerves have been worn a little thin during the recent days. The decision to sell my Rolex Daytona watch was both a sad and satisfying decision. With the charitable purpose in mind and Bruun Rasmussen’s commitment, the sale made more and more sense to me during the process. Now I’m just so relieved that it went so well with a hammer price of half a million Danish kroner this evening.”

Christensen ran the 2017 Rolex 24 alongside Jesse Lazare, Daniel Morad, and Carlos and Michael de Quesada. Their #28 Porsche 911 GT3 R finished eighteenth overall to top the twenty-seven-car GTD class. The Dane would go on to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Porsche, winning the LMGTE Pro championship in 2018/19 and the GTE Pro class at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The auction was hosted by Danish company Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers.

“We are very glad to be able to sell such a rare watch for such a worthy cause, especially in these times when dark clouds are gathering over Europe,” commented Bruun Rasmussen wristwatch department head Vilhelm Islandi Bramsen. “We are of course grateful that Michael Christensen chose to sell his unique watch with us, as we certainly will not see such a watch at our auctions again. It has been an unforgettable experience.”

The globally condemned invasion has prompted various messages of Ukrainian solidarity from the motorsport world. For the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, 2022 Rolex 24 LMP2 winner DragonSpeed‘s sponsor Flex-Box replaced its logo with a “Support Ukraine” banner on the car’s tailfin. That same month also saw 2020 IMSA DPi champion Team Penske donate $1 million to the World Central Kitchen while various NASCAR teams displayed the Ukrainian flag or made donations to other funds; NASCAR owner Richard Childress supplied one million rounds of ammunition for the Ukrainian Army.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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