Die-hard race fans have flocked to Daytona Beach in Florida as far back as 1903. Since 1959, they’ve gathered at the Daytona International Speedway® track for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing’s (NASCAR) annual line up of action-packed events including the DAYTONA 500®, the most prestigious race in NASCAR. Known for its unparalleled sight-lines, daunting high banks and speeds up to 200mph; it now has the fan facilities to match this level of excitement. In January 2016, a $400m project to provide visitors a fully immersive fan experience was completed. The brand new DAYTONA stadium is a fitting tribute to the ground breaking meeting place envisioned by car enthusiast, Bill “Big Bill” France Sr. back in the 1950s.
Our vision – bigger, faster and unmatched in the sporting industry
The DAYTONA Rising programme was guided by Joie Chitwood III, then President of the Daytona International Speedway and currently the COO of International Speedway Corporation. He talked us through the transformational 2.5-year program of work that took place in a live environment with the facility operational 24/7. Chitwood said: “Our aim was to live up to the vision that Big Bill had in the 1950s. Just as in 1958, we were doing something special. Racing on the beaches was part of the 1930-50’s Florida scene. Bill wanted to move to a speedway but it took determination, vision and imagination. He pictured something bigger, faster and more impressive than anything anyone had seen. We pictured turning that same speedway into a true stadium, a first for motorsports with everything that entailed.”
A building and experience steeped with passion
Just as it was for Big Bill, racing has been Joie Chitwood’s life. Following in his famous grandfather’s footsteps, he joined his family’s entertainment business and went on to become both stuntman and precision driving specialist. After earning his business degree and MBA he transitioned to the big time of motorsports, which ultimately led to his involvement in the DAYTONA Rising project. Chitwood concluded: “Daytona International Speedway® is a huge part of NASCAR’s history and the biggest of our properties. We hope people understand how unique this new property is. We want our brand new home of stock car racing to change the way people experience our sport. The huge investment in digital capability – such as free WiFi for at least 100,000 via over 400 access points to name just one of the new features – means we’re current in terms of technology but with an appreciation of where we came from. It’s big for our sport! Now we’re looking forward to applying the lessons learnt and best practices to our other tracks.” The opening ceremony in January 2016 was attended by Big Bill’s son, Jim France, and his granddaughter, Lesa France Kennedy. According to Chitwood, they were ‘blown away’ by what has become widely recognized as a true continuation of history.
Auto-inspired design innovation
Perhaps the most striking features of the new DAYTONA stadium are the five expanded injectors (entrances) which connect fans via a series of escalators and elevators to a variety of immersive experiences. These sponsored entertainment zones, with no less than 1400 HD screen displays, are located on three levels of concourse and stretch all the way along the near mile-long frontage of the building. There’s now upgraded seating for 101,500 (with an opportunity to expand to 125,000), twice as many restrooms and triple the amount of concession stands. In addition, the Speedway has over 60 luxury suites with trackside views and a completely revamped hospitality experience for corporate guests.
A striking exterior element of the building, featuring shimmering white and bold colours with dynamic curves, was created using Kingspan’s Optimo™ and BENCHMARK by Kingspan Designwall™ 2000 series embossed panels while another 400,000 square feet was constructed using metal wall systems by Morin, which enabled easy mounting and removal of sponsor logos. 80% of these metal panels were manufactured at Kingspan Insulated Panel’s North American HQ in DeLand, Florida, less than 20 miles from the DAYTONA stadium. A further 125,000 square feet of Kingspan insulated panels were used for interior temperate and air-conditioned fan sections.
Kingspan was honored to be appointed the exclusive, single source provider for all metal panel solutions and to deliver a fully inclusive package and cladding system. Post delivery feedback identified easy sourcing, expertise and proximity to the construction as having enabled design flexibility and greatly increased speed to production.