The sun came out and the breeze blew away the fog and clouds to bring on a sunny day for the end of the 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. With the help of the crackerjack volunteer race officials and marshals of the San Francisco Region of Sports Car Club of America, who gave up their lunch hour, the schedule was righted and the afternoon races went off on time.
This year the Reunion is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of BMW, with the largest exhibit of BMWs outside of Munich. This brought on many Photo Ops. One was the Five BMW CSL’s which were the winningest BMW’s. Another was the 1979 BMW M1 Procar, which was the outright winner of the 1982 Suzuka 1000 Race.
One of the things I enjoy about the Reunion paddock, along with the sensory overload from the billions of dollars worth of vehicles, is what I call the Cool Factor – interesting vehicles brought for show and tell. These gems are stashed away here and there among the rolling museum-quality works of art.
Bernard Juchli of CA won Rolex Race 1B for 1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars, driving No.86 1955 Jaguar Hagemann Special, and he turned the fastest lap time of 1:53.214 on Lap Eight at 71.164 mph. His Margin of Victory was 00.438 seconds ahead of John Buddenbaum of CA in o.3 1949 Jaguar Special Parkinson. Thirty cars of the 38 entries competed in the eight-lap race.
Gregory Campbell of British Columbia, Canada drove his No.356 1955 Devin Porsche 356 to victory in Rolex Race 2B for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars under 2000cc. He was also the fastest driver with a time of 1:49.221 on the last lap of the seven-lap race, at 73.766 mph. His Margin of Victory was 00.604 seconds ahead of Kaid Marouf of CA in No.60 1960 Siler Quicksilver. Twenty-five of the thirty entries ran the race.
Bob Earl of McKinleyville CA won Rolex Race 3B for 1963-1973 FIA Manufacturers Championship Cars, driving No.87 1972 Ferrari 312PB. He turned the fastest lap time of 1:31.301 on Lap Three at 88.244 mph. His Margin of Victory was 03.770 seconds ahead of Bruce Canepa of Scotts Valley CA, who was driving one of his several cars this weekend – No.2 1969 Porsche 917K, with its familiar blue and orange livery.
Fred Della Noce of Rio de Janeiro skipped the Olympics to win Rolex Race 4B for 1961-1966 GT Cars under 2500cc, in No.18 red and green 1966 Ginetta G12, and turn the fastest lap time of 1:43.077 on Lap Three at 78.163 mph. The Margin of Victory was 01.976 seconds ahead of David Donohue of CA in No.68 1968 Porsche 911 GTR. Thirty-five of the 47 entries raced in the 11-lap race.
It was Age and Treachery vs Youth and Good Looks in Rolex Race 5B. Veteran racer, car preparer and collector, Bruce Canepa won Rolex Race 5B for 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc. Canepa drove his purple No.10 1986 Porsche 962C ahead of 20-year old Skylar Robinson of Augusta GA in No.116 1986 Porsche 962, and turned the fastest lap time of 1:26.610 mph on Lap 10 of the 11-lap race. The Zoom Zoom score for this group was 140 mph. The Margin of Victory was 12.956 seconds. Robinson is 20-years old and is currently running the SCCA Pro Racing F4 Series for Momentum Motorsports. He spent a year in Europe racing, winning the triple championship in Formula Fords. He’s only had a few laps here at Laguna Seca, and before this car, had never driven a car with more than 100 horsepower. Sunday’s finish ought to help the sales price for the car which is going on the market. Skylar is the son of veteran sports car racer, Chip Robinson. TV Commentator wasn’t as lucky in this race. He drove No.39 1996 McLaren F1 GTR but it experienced mechanical problems on Lap Five.
Thomas Steuer of Bogota Cundiamara won Rolex Race 6B for 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc in No.75 1965 Chevrolet Corvette. His Margin of Victory was 01.893 seconds ahead of Jeffrey Aramsom of Alamo CA in No.5 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster. Third place finisher, Chris MacAllister in No.146 1964 Shelby Cobra 289 turned the fastest lap time of 1:41.645 on Lap Four at 79.264 mph. Thirty-two drivers of 41 entries ran the ten-lap race.
Dan Marvin of Berkeley CA capped off the weekend by winning Rolex Race 7B for 1967-1984 Formula One, driving No.82 1974 Brabham BT44. His Margin of Victory was 00.998 seconds ahead of pole sitter and runner-up, Charles Nearburg of TX in his No.27 1980 Williams FW07 B. Nearburg also turned the fastest lap time of 1:23.565 on Lap 11 at 96.414 mph. There were 22 drivers of 27 entries in the 17-lap race.
Canepa has been one of several drivers involved in the REVS project, which ran for four years at the Reunion. Canepa, as well as Brian Redman and John Morton, were literally wired with telemetry head to toe, for research done by the REVS project at Stanford University. The doctors and Ph.D’s were measuring the reaction of racing on the drivers. The REVS Institute for Automotive Research has now opened its 80,000 square foot facility in Naples, Florida and has more than 100 of the most influential automobiles.
There are no trophies for taking first place. Special awards are presented to drivers in each of the fifteen race classes, as well as special awards. These are part of the Prize Giving Ceremonies, complete with champagne. And …. just maybe we might learn what will be special for next year’s Reunion. Stay tuned!