Another year, another Monterey Car Week. Like a good Scotch, it never gets old. Besides the usual car shows that engulf the Monterey Peninsula, there is one jewel that seems to grow in popularity each year: The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. What is it? Historic racing at its very finest. All the famous racing cars you read about or see pictures and videos of head to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to prove they’re not just museum pieces. Sure, some do cruise in their prized collectibles, but some truly are there to race.
BMW is built upon its storied racing heritage, so of course a legion of Bavarian bombers take to the Corkscrew. We’re talking 2002’s, CSLs, and M1 Procars. These are simply the best of the best. Seeing them in person, to be brutally frank, is SO much better than a YouTube video. Compressed audio and even HD can’t come close to capturing the magic of one of these beasts. Here in person, the sound alone of the screaming ‘sixes raises hairs all over.
Competing with the BMW’s on track are period-correct models from Porsche, Ferrari, and even Chevrolet. And this is only one small group out of the dozen that runs over the weekend; That’s how much the Monterey Motorsports Reunion has to offer. The classes are diverse enough that, when coupled with short 30 minutes races, boredom is literally impossible.
The BMW CCA has a large presence as well, with a lavish camp overlooking turns 4 and 5. The car corral is equally impressive, with examples of the most desirable BMWs on display. Truly a show on its own.
Almost as good as the racing itself is the paddock. Here, no special passes are needed to wander through the garages and racing cars while they’re being prepped. It’s a brilliant chance to see all the legendary cars up close. Owners and drivers are of the utmost friendly nature too. Vendors are out in full-force too with racing memorabilia and apparel. I even bumped into sportscar superstar Marino Franchitti and his wife Holly, a racer of vintage cars herself, at the Nicolas Hunziker tent.
The facilities at Laguna Seca are world-class, being very clean and the access to almost any part of the circuit is tremendous. With it came perfect weather too, settling at about 70 degrees on a sunny, August day. Further highlights included seeing Mika Hakkinen race Emerson Fittipaldi’s McLaren M23 for demonstration laps and Mazda’s shrieking 767B.
The best part, though, is the price. While events like the Concours D’elegance, Italiano, and Quail run hundreds of dollars, the Historic’s are only double-digits. How’s that for bang for your buck? And this is more exciting. The racing resumes next year August 23-26.