It’s ironic that racing has a finish line, because racing never truly finishes. It’s more apt to say that racing just goes on pause between various starting lines.
Celebrating its 49th anniversary, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion transforms WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca into a museum come to life, where racecars of the distant and recent past return to the start line once more, Aug. 16-19.
“It’s truly a rolling museum,” says Barry Toepke, Director of Heritage Events & Public Relations for WeatherTech Raceway. “While most of the drivers are amateurs, the cars are legendary. Original driver names on the bodywork include Dan Gurney, Sam Posey, Jochen Mass, Chris Amon, Mario Andretti, Alan Jones, and others who raced these amazing cars in their heyday.”
In fact, between 400 to 450 cars are expected in 2023, up a considerable amount from the 60-odd cars that showed up at the first running in 1974. What hasn’t changed since then is the high standard that every entry must meet: Authentic cars with a documented provenance running in period-correct mechanical specification and livery.
This year, McLaren CEO Zak Brown is expected to run three cars bearing the original names that Toepke mentioned. One is an ex-Mario Andretti Lola T332 from the Formula 5000 era, the second is a McLaren M8D Can-Am car once piloted by a certain Daniel Sexton Gurney, and the third is the 1980 Williams FW07B Formula 1 car that Alan Jones drove to win that year’s world championship.
“Monterey is mega. I always have a great time at Car Week, which is why we’re back again,” says Brown. “This will be my ninth year racing in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, with an awesome lineup of cars in the 1970 McLaren M8D, 1974 Lola T332 and 1980 Williams FW07B. We had some strong results last year, including victory in the Jaguar XJR-10, so I’m looking forward to another exciting event with the United Autosports team.”
Speaking of Can-Am, the thunderous roar from that glorious era – one that came as close to no-holds-barred engineering as racing’s ever seen – will reach a magnificent crescendo at the Reunion for the first time since 2018. Some 26 cars are expected to fill the exclusive run group.
Other run groups to look out for are the ever-popular Historic Formula 1 group that will feature cars from the 1950s through to the ’90s. Friday (Aug. 18) features a Saloon Class that will entertain with a one-hour enduro race. Plus, the FIA Manufacturers Championship run group never disappoints. It features a bevy of gorgeous sports cars of varying designs and powerplants that could take the unofficial award for most sonorous run group of the event, guaranteed by the fact that several interesting Ferraris are expected, including a 1969 Ferrari 312P Berlinetta (MAIN) making the journey from Switzerland.
It’s not only the land of Alps, watch-making and the Bernina Pass represented at the Reunion. Entries are coming from around the globe, including Argentina, New Zealand and eight other countries, to make the event a truly international destination.
These are just a few of the things that make the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion a bucket-list event not only for those passionate about racecars and the enduring legacy that they create, but anyone who appreciates great design with a natty attention to detail. Even those who’ve already been keep coming back for more and never leave disappointed.
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Aug. 16-19, is a cornerstone of Monterey Car Week.
Kick it off with the Monterey Pre-Reunion, Aug. 12-13 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. It’s a great, low-key event that features more than 300 historic racecars, most of which are competing days later in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
The Pre-Reunion offers a superb chance for fans to get up close to these unique racecars in a more relaxed and less crowded environment before the Reunion gets underway in earnest.
The week closes out with the Corkscrew Hillclimb & Community Day on Aug. 20. Back for its second year, racecars and special guests will race counter-course from near the start/finish line and up through the iconic Corkscrew, scene of so many famous downhill excursions over the years, which is where they will finish.
For tickets to all these unmissable events, visit weathertechraceway.com.