Day One of the four-day annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, a gathering of 538 vintage, historic and classic cars. This year the Reunion is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Maserati, with a large display of current and vintage cars. There are also many racing in the various fifteen classes.
Seventeen Maserati cars are entered to race. More are on display throughout the paddock and in the Master Display in the paddock.
One of those racing Maseratis is the last surviving Maserati Tipo 151, driving by Derek Hill, son of the late Phil Hill, in Group 6A for 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars over 2000 cc. Only three of the Tipo 151 cars were ever made
The Reunion and the nearby Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance and all the car auctions bring out not only the Beautiful People, but many automotive afficionados, racers current and retired, various celebrities, and lots of folks who appreciate the rolling museums on track and on display throughout the event.
The weather started out with the usual fog; but it was clear enough to start on schedule. The rest of the day turned out to be sunny and warm with a bit of a breeze.
Bob Varsha of FoxSports TV has the unenviable task of trying to reduce this weekend into 45 minutes for the hour-long broadcast to be aired at a later date. The remaining 15 minutes has been saved for covering all the car auctions.
One treat for the Thursday fans was a Parade Lap of all the Pebble Beach Tour D’Elegance Group. The cars came onto the track at Turn 11, right by the Emergency and Safety Crew staging area. The Concours cars were gorgeous and drove slowly for all to see. One unfortunate Delehaye driver couldn’t get started and had to park behind the Turn 11 wall by Emergency Crew, with a SFR SCCA Race Official standing by as required in a ‘Hot Spot.’ He was able to get started and continued on.
Another visitor to the Emergency Crew area by Turn 11 while the Concours cars were parading was Sir Jackie Stewart, who chatted away with the SFR volunteer race officials, chatting away. One lucky Emergency Worker, Karen Cantu, got her (mandatory) helmet signed by the wee Scot.
Among the professional racers on site already are: all-around racer and now published author, John Morton, who is racing three cars, but not the REVS car because, he joked, “they wanted a younger guy this weekend.” He drove the REVS car last weekend at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Pre-Reunion and also the past two years. Morton is racing No.74 1964 Sunbeam Tiger in Group 4A for 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc, No.11 1982 Ford Mustang in Group 5A for 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU Cars, and No.50 1982 Pontiac TransAm in Group 6B.
Actor/Comedian/racer Adam Carolla in No.33 1988 Nissan 300 ZX in Group 5A; retired IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti, here with his brother/sports-car racer, Marino, who is racing No.10 1975 Gulf Mirage GR8 in Group 5A; IMSA/World Challenge/SCCA Champion, Randy Pobst, in No.2T 1973 BMW CSL in Group 5A
Derek Bell in No.6 1957 Maserati 300S in Group 6A.
Motorsports TV/Radio Broadcaster, Mike Joy in Kenny Epsman’s No.89 1966 Ford Mustang in Group 7A for 1966-1972 Historic TransAm Cars.
Factory Porsche driver, Patrick Long, driving No.54 1967 Porsche 911S in Group 2B for 1963-1972 FIA Mfg. Championship cars; Sports car racer, Gunnar Jeannette, who is driving the No.526 REVS 1965 Ferrari 250 LM Berlinetta GT in Group 2B;
Indy/TransAm/etc driver and author, Lyn St James, racing No.67 1963 Lotus 23B in Group 2B; IMSA/LeMans racer, as well as No.44 1972 March 722 in Group 8B 1974-1980 Formula Atlantics.
IMSA/LeMans driver, Rick Knoop in No.3T 1972 McLaren M8F in Group 3B for 1963-1974 Can Am and USRRC cars.
Motorcycle World Champion, Eddie Lawson in No.17 1975 Osella PA 3/5 in Group 4B for 1970-1979 Sports Racing Cars under 2000cc, and No.17 1978 March 78B Group 8B.
Off-road champion/drifter, Steve Millen in No.75 1990 Nissan 300Z in Group 6B for 1981-1989 FIA and IMSA GTP, 1980-1991 GTO Cars, and No.7 1977 Ralt TR1 in Group 8B.
Longtime sportscar team owner, Alex Job of Alex Job Racing, is thoroughly enjoying his first-ever vintage car race at Laguna Seca. He is ‘running’ the No.22 1974 911 RSR owned and raced by Cooper MacNeil. Job is running across all kinds of friends and colleagues, and savoring the atmosphere.
And those are just the ones I’ve found so far. The Entry List is a moving target with driver changes and late entries.
Let the fun begin!