NASCAR Wire Service
Distributed by The Sports Xchange
Rolex affiliate brand TUDOR, which has created motorsports chronographs since the 1970s, has been named entitlement sponsor of the International Motor Sport Association's (IMSA) United SportsCar Series.
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship commences in 2014 following the merger of North America's premier sports car racing organizations -- the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.
The five-year agreement was jointly announced Thursday during NASCAR Chase Media Day in Chicago by IMSA president Scott Atherton and Rolex vice president Peter Nicholson. It preceded the day's U.S. launch of the TUDOR brand during New York Fashion Week.
"The 2014 season will feature the rebirth and revitalization of sports car racing in North America," said IMSA chief executive officer Ed Bennett in a release. "Therefore it's the ideal time to introduce a premium watch brand like TUDOR to our U.S. fans and partners."
Rolex will continue its involvement with the Rolex 24 at Daytona -- United SportsCar's signature opening event at Daytona International Speedway -- as well as the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.
"It's a very historic day for the TUDOR watch brand," said Nicholson. "It's fair to say that the TUDOR DNA reflects style and design, a passion for top performance and truly a reference for motorsports.
"So to join forces and be united with IMSA and in recognition of this wonderful merger of ALMS and GRAND-AM, where we've also had a long-term relationship, we couldn't be more proud."
The entitlement sponsorship follows the announcement by IMSA of its television partnership with FOX Sports.
"I think this places sports car racing in North America in the strongest position it's ever been," said Atherton.
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. 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 last year.