Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca should have its own listing with the National Weather Service. It has weather inside its bordering hills that is unlike that which surrounds it. It can be fogged into the ground in Monterey and Salinas, but turn off Highway #68 and drive up the steep hill to get to the elevated road course circuit and it’s another whole world. Thursday for the well-subscribed Grand-Am test day, reaching the top of the hill was bright sunshine. Friday morning same scenario around the track – ground fog. This time it was inside the track, so dense that for awhile one couldn’t see from one turn to the next – the criteria for go/no go on the track. However, the sun came through, fog started to lift and Friday’s first practice session at 8 am was on time. By 9 am it was gorgeous and was all day.
There are several groups running this weekend for the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival Powered by Mazda: Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Series, and World SuperKarts. The Festival is a two-day weekend, Friday and Saturday.
The Rolex Series field just increased by two Friday morning with the last-minute entry of the two PETER BARON Starworks cars, No.2 Porsche Riley with RYAN DALZIEL starting and co-driving with ALEX POROW; and No.8 Ford Riley with MIKE FOREST starting and Dalziel finishing. Grand-Am rules state a driver can only earn points in the starting car. There are now eleven Rolex Daytona Prototypes, and 16 GT cars.
The CTC group has 53 cars entered in its two classes, Grand Sports (29) and Street Tuner (24.) All of them were on track for the Thursday test session, which went well – very safe and sane.
Seventeen Mazda’s are entered in the MX-5 Cup race.
World Superkarts has 37 entrants in the World Superkarts, including EDDIE LAWSON, four-time Grand Prix Motorcycle World Champion, and the 2009 Australian Super-kart Champion – SAM ZAVAGLIA. The time sheets for this group is interesting, as not all karts have transponders, and others are running numbers different from the entry.
“Steady Eddie” had his kart prepared by none other than DAN GURNEY, who so enjoyed the job. Lawson said the kart is awesome, and Gurney called Lawson after the first Friday morning session to find out how it did. He was third at 1:27.654, although his kart number doesn’t match the entry list. The top kart was J.R. OSBORNE of Colorado, at 1:26.796.
All classes have a couple of practice sessions, and end the day with their respective qualifying sessions. They all race Saturday.