Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

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The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is an annual event held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. Its purpose is to provide an event in which historic racecars can compete. It takes place over the course of one weekend every mid-August. It was first established by Steve Earle in 1974 as the Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Earle organized the meeting for his friends to race their cars at Laguna Seca.[1] The event acts as a part of Monterey Week, which includes the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and other events.[2]

Approximately 550 cars participate in the event.[3] The 2014 event will take place August 15–17.[4]

Sponsorship[edit]

The first company to sponsor the event was the Chrysler Corporation. Later, the event added a sponsorship from Rolex. The Chrysler sponsorship was replaced with one from Toyota, who sponsored the event from 2006 to 2008.[5]

Awards[edit]

Although celebrities and professional drivers do attend, the Reunion is not a professional event. Only trophies are awarded. Along with those who podium in each group, awards are given to owners of vehicles judged outside of competition in a contest comparable to that of car shows such as the Concours d'Elegance.

In magazines[edit]

The Reunion has been featured in Autoweek magazine. It was featured in an online article in early August 2008[6] and in the September 2008 issue. The 2003 event was featured in an issue of Popular Mechanics.[7] Popular Mechanics also documented the 2000 event.[8] The 2009 event was also featured.

The 2010 event was featured in an issue of Road & Track.[9] The 2004 event was also featured in an article on the R&T website.[10]

Telecasts[edit]

For several years former television network Speed Channel provided coverage of the event. For a few years the coverage consisted of several different episodes featuring the major groups (IMSA, Trans Am, F1, and Can Am). In later years the event was abridged to one episode combining behind-the-scenes coverage with some coverage of select races. The races covered have been a mix of the major groups and some of the GT groups for better interest. If the event is featuring a one-time race group, that race may be covered. The Reunion is now covered by Fox Sports 1, which replaced Speed Channel in 2013.

Race groups[edit]

Various race groups from multiple eras and types of automobile racing are featured at the Monterey Reunion. The groups often contain vehicles that competed against one another during that point in history.[11]

The GT and sports racing cars are divided into over and under 2 to 2.5 liter groups and often featured in a combined-class style with the GTs and prototypes racing alongside each other.

Former groups[edit]

  • Previously, the event featured a mixed "GT and production cars" race group in which professionally-raced grand tourers competed against unmodified sports cars of the same era.[12] The unmodified cars have recently been phased out.
  • In the past, the prewar groups were divided into two types: production (sports, racing, and touring) and single-seater (Indy roadsters and grand prix).[12] The latter has since been merged with the racing cars.

Special race groups[edit]

On occasion, the Reunion will feature special race groups in an attempt to generate greater interest from its spectators. These often one-time groups have included Grand National[13] and Winston Cup Series[14] stock cars, an under two liter Trans Am Series race group,[15] and a Formula Atlantic[16] group. Single-marque spec groups have also been featured. In 2011 an all Jaguar XKE race was featured to commemorate that model's fiftieth anniversary. The same was done in 2012 for the Shelby Cobra, featuring small block AC Cobras racing against the big block Shelby 427 Cobras. In 2013 an all Porsche 911 "Weissach Cup" was featured to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the 911.

Rules and format[edit]

In 1975, the event introduced the tradition of honoring a "featured marque" each year.[17] This tribute is done through various ways. These include an increased number of entered vehicles from that marque, special displays of the marque's history and some of the brand's vehicles (past and/or present, with the former sometimes featuring entered vehicles), and sometimes spec races only featuring vehicles from the marque being tributed. Occasionally the event will have special, one-time tributes. These have included Can Am team Chaparral Cars and racing legend Juan Manuel Fangio.

Because of the high value of many of the cars used, the Reunion committee has established a severe punishment for avoidable contact. The driver convicted will be unable to participate in any further events, but can appeal the judgement one year after the incident.

Although the event features many groups of different types of racecars, it does not strictly place entrants in their most appropriate groups. For example, a 2.1 liter Morgan can be placed in an under two liter class despite being over the specified displacement. This is done due to the over two liter groups often featuring vehicles with at least five liters (a la SCCA). Certain postwar cars have been known to compete with the prewar cars due to technological similarities (e.g. the MG T-Series). Some drivers will enter themselves in the wrong class either as a late entry or if they were unable to qualify for their more appropriate class.[18] The Trans Am Series race group, despite being predominantly five-liter cars, occasionally features an under two liter car.

Modern race cars[edit]

In recent years there have been two instances in which contemporary racecars have been included in the race groups despite having been manufactured much later than even the most contemporary racecars featured. Once was when tributing Porsche, in which an American Le Mans Series Porsche 911 was entered in the IMSA GT race group. That group was chosen due to the technological similarities between the IMSA GT cars and the modern ALMS cars. In 2013, an ALMS Corvette competed with the IMSA GTO race group.[19] The event was featuring split IMSA groups that year: IMSA GT/GTX/AAGT/GTU and IMSA GTO. The latter was chosen due to the Corvette's powerful engine.

Sister events[edit]

Prior to 2010, the event was affiliated with the Wine Country Classic at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. The event, now known as the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival, was unique in that (prior to 2010) it was the only event to tribute Grand National stock cars, using a 1949-1972 group until 2010 when the group was changed to 1960-1975. The event also tributed Formula 5000 in 2008. Prior to 2010 the event was organized as a doubleheader, after which the event was redone to be more like the Monterey Event. The inaugural year of this new event had Saturday rained out, forcing all the race groups to be contested on Sunday. This became the format thereafter. The event also often features 1980s Trans Am Series cars racing alongside the IMSA GTO cars.

Other sister events have included the Coronado Speed Festival (near San Diego, California) and the Lime Rock Vintage Festival.

Change of management[edit]

After the 2009 event, General Racing Ltd. (GRL), who created and owned the event, and the Sports Car Racing Association of Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) announced that GRL would no longer sanction the event and that a new event would be organized by SCRAMP that would be more economically viable.[20] After the 2010 event, the new event would be called the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The original name was still owned and copyrighted by GRL, who would retain the sister event at Sonoma Raceway. SCRAMP recognizes the Historics and the Reunion as two separate events.

Commendations[edit]

In 2013 the Reunion was nominated for the Motor Sports Event category at the International Historic Motoring Awards.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Monterey - The Auctions". ferrariownersclub.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  2. ^ Fogelson, Jason (September 9, 2013). "Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2013". Forbes. 
  3. ^ "Selected entries at Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion span 81 years of racing history". Racer. March 19, 2014. Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ "2014 Season Schedule at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca". Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. October 8, 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Toyota Announces Presenting Sponsorship For the Rolex Monterey Historic Auto Races". Tundrasolutions.com. 2006-07-22. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  6. ^ "Peninsular pleasures: A weekend in Monterey". autoweek.com. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  7. ^ Popular Mechanics issue from Google Books. 
  8. ^ "The 2000 Monterey Historics Automobile Races". Popular Mechanics. 2004-12-07. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  9. ^ John Lamm (2010-08-05). "Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion - Road & Track". Roadandtrack.com. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  10. ^ Jim Hall (2004-08-19). "2004 Monterey Historics - Road & Track". Roadandtrack.com. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  11. ^ Woodyard, Chris (August 18, 2013). "Vintage Corvettes rule historic races in Monterey". USA Today. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  12. ^ a b George, Robin (August 2010). "Robin's Nest". Miatatudes (Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association): 1. 
  13. ^ http://www.mazdaraceway.com/press-release/historic-stock-cars-rumble-rolex-monterey-motorsports-reunion
  14. ^ http://www.mazdaraceway.com/news/historic-stock-cars-rev-their-engines-rolex-monterey-motorsports-reunion
  15. ^ http://www.mazdaraceway.com/press-release/sports-sedan-revival-set
  16. ^ http://www.mazdaraceway.com/sites/main/files/file-attachments/2014_rmmr_schedule_3.27.14.pdf
  17. ^ http://www.mazdaraceway.com/event-news/featured-marque-history
  18. ^ http://www.mazdaraceway.com/sites/main/files/file-attachments/grp_5b_sun_rolex_race_w_times_0.pdf
  19. ^ http://www.mazdaraceway.com/sites/main/files/file-attachments/grp_6b_sun_rolex_race_w_times.pdf
  20. ^ "SCRAMP and General Racing part company for Monterey Historics". racer.com. Racer. August 17, 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2014. "On September 5, 2008, I [Steve Earle] was advised that the economic terms for the agreement between General Racing and SCRAMP were no longer commercially viable for SCRAMP." 
  21. ^ http://www.mazdaraceway.com/event-news/rolex-monterey-motorsports-reunion-named-finalist-prestigious-award

External links[edit]