Corvette Class Picture
Corvette Class Picture. Photo courtesy John Lamm

It’s Day Two Friday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the 2013 Rolex Motorsports Monterey Reunion – sixteen classes of historic race cars, plus all the extras thrown in. Mother Nature has shone favorably on the famous Monterey road course with warm sunshine all day both days, while fog swirled around elsewhere.

While Thursday was Practice all day for the 16 classes, Friday was Qualifying for the weekend races – for all Race Groups. Saturday will be all the A Race Groups and Sunday will be all the B Race Groups, with morning Warm-Ups and afternoon races.

Tommy Milner
Tommy Milner

Special Corvette and other activities are scheduled for lunch breaks, mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks and possibly at end of days. There will be a Corvette Parade on Saturday and Sunday with 130 cars. All three days there will be hot laps with professional race drivers in the new 2014 Corvette C7, from the Driver’s Schools at Bondurant School of High Performance Driving and RON FELLOWS Performance Driving School. The drivers are DARREN LAW, RICK MALONE, TOMMY MILNER, and JOHNNY O’CONNELL.

In Historic racing, it’s not necessarily about the speed or who finishes first. At the Rolex Reunion races, there are no trophies or awards for winning a race, but there are trophies presented in each group for overall excellence in presentation and driving conduct. The special award is the Spirit of Monterey Award which goes to the driver who excels in the spirit of the weekend, on track performance and support for historic car racing. The Award is a special Rolex Watch and the weekend’s poster art painted by official track painter, BILL PATTERSON.

Radar Speed Sign

Having said all that drivers are competitive and many try to go fast. However, their lap times are not published. Individual drivers may be timing their cars and there’s always the ubiquituous GoPro Cameras. I had one way of gauging speed – watching the radar screen readout above Start-Finish, for the radar gun aimed at Turn One. In Race Group 3B for Formula One, the top speed I saw was 147 mph, but it was so fast all I was able to capture on camera was the previous speed of 144 mph. These speeds are just for that one sector.

The current unofficial track record, according to Ferrari, was set on 23 May 2012 at the Ferrari Days event. MARC GENE turned a 1:05.786, driving a F2003 GA Formula 1 car. That converts to 122.47 mph.

The official track record was set at 1:07.722 by Helio Castroneves in 2000 behind the wheel of a Penske Champ Car, which converts to 118.86 mph.

1930 Frazer Nash Interceptor
Frazer Nash Interceptor

In Group 1A for Pre 1940 Sports Racing and Touring Cars, 26 cars ran, with JOHN KERR getting the pole for Saturday’s race in his 1932 Miller-Scofield/Ford. Running third was RICHARD PARSONS from Milthorpe, England driving his 1930 Frazer Nash Interceptor. And Parsons does drive it, not just on the race track. The car was shipped over from England, arriving in time for him to run last weekend’s Rolex Pre-Reunion races. Between on track sessions, Parsons drives the car to and from the hotel, around town, etc. After this weekend’s races, Parsons will set out for New York in the car, meeting up with 30 other Frazer Nash owners for a two-week tour of New England. The club has its own website – and one of the drivers is blogging about his Laguna weekend experience, aptly called California Dreaming.

One of the very few female drivers this weekend is LORRAINE GRUYS. She’s driving a 1958 Miller FJ in Group 2B for Formula Junior cars 1958-1963. Her car is one of a kind now – the only open wheel Don Miller front engine car left in America. It has Topolino gears, Crossle brakes and hubs, and of course the GoPro Camera.

1942 Ford Hot Rod
1942 Ford Hot Rod

Her husband, CHRIS GRUYS, owns one of those cool cars that gets to hang out in the paddock looking good – a 1942 Ford Hot Rod. It’s a show car, with flames, special cutouts and a louvered hood, prepared by GENE WINFIELD, now of Mojave CA.. Gruys is probably the fifth owner, and he had it completely restored inside and out when he acquired it in 2003. One part of the restoration included plumbing hoses, which were six different sizes, stuck inside each other.

GORDON ENGLAND, aptly named as he’s from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, England, pals around with Parsons and the Gruys and is a great historian for the vehicles.

Grid sign