I’d be willing to argue that the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is the best event in the magnificent Monterey Car Week.
Just imagine the kind of legendary cars you grew up hearing about, watching race, and lusting over being in your face and on the track in their natural habitat. Everything at this event could have been in a museum – and I’m sure some are most of the year – but you can see them storming around one of the world’s most technical race tracks at full tilt, which is where they really belong. None of the cars in attendance were clones or replicas, so when you see something famous or rare you know it’s the real deal.
I took over 900 photos of this event alone but I’ve narrowed down to about 50 photos that I’ll share here (those being the ones that suck less) split into two posts: art in the paddock and art on the track. I say that because all of these cars are rolling art being used for their intended purposes, just how nature intended.
Click past the jump for some incredible machinery on track with some very talented drivers that aren’t going easy.
The pre-war stuff put on a great show. It was especially neat seeing cars as young as my grandparents driving fast.
And they were fast. These drivers have huge talent and even bigger guts to be racing as close as they were.
Just how close, you ask? This close.
Huge variety of 50’s and 60’s small displacement cars.
Now the big toys come out. This is Mario Andretti’s Lola T332 that he took to victory at this very track. The driver (not Andretti) was properly quick with it too.
Black on Formula 5000 cars just work.
Mario Andretti’s Lola on the floor at the corkscrew.
These cars just look gorgeous on the corkscrew.
Again, they look gorgeous.
Visual representation of how fast these cars were going. 130 mph on a straight that isn’t all that long.
A gaggle of Trans Am cars. The top six or seven cars ran away from the field and the three cars up front were having the battle of their lives. It made for a race that was wonderfully entertaining to watch.
They were outside of the top ten but were still pushing hard.
lol I’m from the UK.
This Ford looks like it’s more accustomed to high banked ovals than the corkscrew, but boy is it pretty.
Obligatory shot between the trees.
At one point, there were about 40 GT350s on track as the featured car of the race weekend. They all sounded incredible.
Nice Alfa taking an access road to the pits after its race.
All I remember is hearing turbo.
My first time seeing a BMW M1 on track was everything I wanted it to be.
Hate seeing it go but love watching (and hearing) it leave.
I’ve seen this car on track before but it wasn’t being driven nearly as hard as this.
… but apparently not hard enough.
During one of the lunch breaks, Ford sent out a new GT350 and three GT350Rs for some VIP laps. They looked fast and very composed. These things will be some serious track weapons when they reach their customers.
Mazda also had some of their pace cars out for laps. The body roll on the ND Miata is real…
Turn 6 is an awesome spot for spectators here. You get a real appreciation for how much elevation changes there are when you’re racing on a mountain. Drivers can carry a lot of speed through this corner and as you look over the edge of that huge drop you’ll think they’re crazy.
I talked to a local who was watching with me at this spot and he told me an interesting story about this corner. At some point in this track’s illustrious history, one driver was putting down lap times on a race weekend that nobody could match. He was able to carry more speed through turn 6 than anyone else. Finally someone asked about his strategy in that corner and it went sort of like this:
“How are you so much faster than us through turn 6? What kind of line are you taking?”
“Well I just wait until I see the bush just to the left of the flag stand before I brake.”
“You know that’s not a bush, right? That’s the top of a tree…”
He wasn’t as fast after that.
I love Porsches but mostly blue ones.
Alpine Ginetta! This one was quick and very pretty.
I’ll finish off with one of several authentic Cobras that were braking at the bush that weekend.
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion was an event that I hope to attend every year from here on out. It was spectacular from start to finish and everywhere I looked was something I hadn’t seen before. The owners and drivers are heroes for doing what they did at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca that weekend. Like I said, the best event in Monterey Car Week.
Thanks for looking.
[Images © 2015 Redusernab/Greg Kachadurian]