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Legendary Race Cars Compete Again at Laguna Seca

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I was told it was going to be a special weekend at a legendary racetrack, and it was.  The 2016 ROLEX MONTEREY MOTORSPORTS REUNION is a journey through time, it’s like watching history race right in front of you. Beginning in the 1930’s and working its way through the evolution of racing and design to the 1990s.  Classic cars that are preserved from their distinct racing eras, drive against one another in a timeline of racing history.

1930 race. photo: Alex Mak

The day begins with a race from the 1930’s. Photo: Alex Mak

The race cars have essentially the same engines, bodies, and even sponsor decals from their original racing days on the track.  15 classes of cars from every era of motor racing in the 20th century.  Many of the cars in use have glorified pasts on the race track, some are ‘champions’ of storied races, carefully preserved and resurrected to continue what they were born to do, race.

rocket ship

The body of this 1930’s-40’s era car is like the cockpit of a WWII fighter jet. It requires 2 men to drive, one to steer and the other to work the mannuel fuel pump. Photo: Alex Mak

Race Groups Saturday Aug 20th 2016:

Pre-1940 Sports Racing and Touring and 1927 – 1951 Racing
1955 – 1962 GT
1955 – 1961 Sports Racing under 2000cc
1973 – 1981 FIA, IMSA, GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU
1963 – 1966 GT over 2500cc
1967 – 1984 Formula One
1966 – 1972 Trans-Am
1963 – 1968 USRRC
1947 – 1955 Sports Racing and GT
1963 – 1973 FIA Manufacturers Championship
1955 – 1961 Sports Racing over 2000cc
1970 – 1984 Sports Racing under 2100cc
1981 – 1991 FIA Manufacturers Championship; IMSA GTO/GTP
1961 – 1966 GT under 2500cc
1968 – 1974 Can-Am (50th anniversary)

1960 2

Got to love them mustangs!  American muscle from the 1960s.  Photo: Alex Mak

muscle cars kevin chew

Photo By Kevin Chew

On Pit Road, where the cars lineup with their crews before hitting the track.  You can smell the fuel in the air and feel the vibrations of the engines revving in your chest, it feels as though everything is about to be set on fire.  Men wheel in their prized machines, beaming with pride, excitement and nostalgia.  Drivers young and old line up to race, some look relaxed, some pace nervously, checking and re-checking mirrors and gages.  But everyone there has one thing in common, which is not all that common in this world, they are all there doing something that they love.

pit road

Laguna Seca Pit Road before classic Formula One race, a row of storied Mclarens waiting to race. Photo: Alex Mak

Generations are often involved, sons sitting in the seats of their fathers, and their cars are immaculately preserved.  Hundreds of man hours, thousands if not millions of dollars invested, all in living and reliving a dream.

good ol boys

Photo: Alex Mak

Grandchildren working in the pit crews…may not always be showing the same amount of enthusiasm

nex generation

I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of this napping member of a multi generational pit crew. Photo: Alex Mak

Inside, Laguna Seca is essentially a car show for the ages.  Everything is on display and practically open to all attendees.  You can wander up to your favorite vehicles, chat with their owners and drivers, even run into some of your racing heros.  There is an air of openness to this event, it’s a feeling that if you are there in the first place you already have similar interests with whoever is standing next to you.  You absolutely love automobiles.

beautiful

Photo: Alex Mak

pete brock

My friend Jen meeting the legendary car designer Pete Brock. Photo: Alex Mak

You can check out the Ferraris, the Shelby Mustangs, and the Porsche’s that have won the big races of the past, half the time they’ll let you sit in the driver’s seat and pretend to be Sir Jackie Stewart for a moment. (Legendary Formula One Driver Sir Jackie was also in attendance, we listened to him tell a story of when he was arrested for speeding in New Zealand).  Car lovers from all over the world come to watch, race and trade tstories.  My friend Kevin and I are far from being car buffs, but we couldn’t help but admire the beauty in design and the passion of the participants involved.

james dean

I was told this is the famous Porsche Roadster model that James Dean took his last ride in. Beautiful car if not deadly. Photo: Alex Mak

spoilers

Spoilers anyone? The Rolex Reunion is not only a trip through racing history, but also a history of design. Photo: Alex Mak

Many might think that this is an incredible amount of time and energy to spend on old cars, especially cars whose technology and design is a thing of the past.  But the Rolex Reunion is essentially a living museum supported by a mixture automotive companies, passionate car enthusiasts and millionaire docents.  It’s not dissimilar to the millionaire or billionaire class who support fine art museums for example, curating collections of priceless paintings and statues.  This elite class of collector invests millions of dollars to preserve what they feel is culturally iconic and historically significant.  The difference is, these ‘collectors’ drive their investments at 160 MPH.

sea of formula oneCan Ams Photo: Alex Mak

If you’d like to check out The Mazda Race Way At Laguna Seca their website is mazdaraceway.com.  If you’d like to read more about the Rolex Reunion, see the race results, and get more a indepth view of the event check out some great articles here.

 

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife (not so much nightlife anymore).

If you're a writer, artist, or performer who would like to get your work out there, or if you've got a great product or service to promote, we've got 120k social followers and really fun ways to reach them. We make noise for our partners, and for our community. alex at brokeassstuart.com