Saturday the day started out warm at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and just got hotter. By noon it was in the eighties, for a full day of practice, qualifying and racing at the Monterey Festival of Speed.
Friday started out cold, windy and very foggy. The fog was so dense Friday morning, the start time was pushed back twelve minutes, and early morning arrivals got lost in the fog looking for their special gate.
TODD LAMB/No.84 AMG Racing has pole for the Saturday noon race with SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup. There are 21 cars in the field. His qualifying time was 1:42.382/78.693 mph.
Turner Motorsport swept the pole positions in qualifying for Saturday afternoon’s Grand-Am Koni Sports Car Challenge Series. MATTHEW BELL/No. got his third consecutive overall and GS class pole position with a time of 1:36.277/83.684 mph. His co-driver in No.96 BMW M3 is well-known driver, BORIS SAID. The race is Saturday afternoon. The ST pole position was set by DON SALAMA, who co drives with WILL TURNER in No.95 Turner Motorsport BMW 328i. The field has 19 GS cars, and 17 ST cars for the 2.5-hour long race, which starts at 3 PM race PDT.
The Mazda MX-5 cars in the Playboy MX-5 Cup Series are not at all the same as the Mazda MX-5 cars running in the Koni Challenge. Everything about the cars in the two series is different. The Series cars are convertibles and fairly stock, with bolt on Mazdaspeed kits and roll cage and different tires. The four Mazda’s in the Koni Challenge are hard tops and tricked out.
The 11-turn Laguna Seca road course is still 2.238-miles long. There have been some new runoff areas added to the track, but they don’t change the length. Turns Two and Eleven have additional asphalt runoff areas. The track wanted to keep race cars from going off in the gravel, and the MOTO GP who hold one of two USGP races at Laguna Seca in July have approved the addition.
The runoff construction was a two-week job, digging it all out and adding the new surface. The track, which is run by SCRAMP – Sports Car Racing Association of Monterey Peninsula, would like to add more runoffs in other corners, but time and money dictate that schedule.
The runoffs evidently did their job Friday as there was only one small off course excursion at the exit of Turn Eleven’s apex, barely making a mark in the gravel.
Friday there were a few spins and some minor tire wall bumps, but no major dramas. The drivers were fairly well behaved.