Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Event logo

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is an annual event held at WeatherTech 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 Car Week, which includes the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and other events.[2]

Approximately 550 cars participate in the event.[3] The 2017 event took place August 17–20.[4]


The first company to sponsor the event was the Chrysler Corporation.[5] 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.[6]


Although celebrities and professional drivers do attend, the Reunion is not a professional event, and has no awards or prizes for finishing position. Each Saturday and Sunday afternoon race has a Rolex Award winner voted by committee. Two of the morning races each day honor a Bonham's Cup winner similarly chosen. There are special Awards for best paddock display, best Ford-powered car, outstanding craftsmanship, etc. The highest honor is the Rolex Spirit of Monterey Award, A Rolex watch and original Bill Patterson painting, presented to the entrant who best embodies the spirit of the event in his presentation and competition drive.

In magazines[edit]

The Reunion has been featured in Autoweek magazine. It was featured in an online article in early August 2008[7] and in the September 2008 issue. The 2003 event was featured in an issue of Popular Mechanics.[8] Popular Mechanics also documented the 2000 event.[9] The 2009 event was also featured.

The 2010 event was featured in an issue of Road & Track.[10] The 2004 event was also featured in an article on the R&T website.[11]


For many years 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 coverage of select races. The races covered were a mix of the major groups and some of the GT groups for better interest. If the featured a one-time race group, that race may be covered. The Reunion was for awhile covered by Fox Sports 1, which replaced Speed in August 2013.


In recent years the Reunion has been livestreamed by Motor Trend magazine, with the coverage being shown on YouTube.[12]

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.[13]

Race Group Year Range Notes
Sports, racing, and touring cars 1900–1939 Formerly also included a race group featuring grand prix and Indianapolis 500 vehicles.
Formula Junior 1958-1963 Also features low displacement Formula One cars, Formula Ford cars, and Formula Two cars.
Grand touring cars 1947–1969 Formerly also featured general production sports cars not originally used in motorsport. Divided into under and over 2 or 2.5 liter race groups.
Sports racing cars 1947–1969 Prototype racecars divided in the same format as the GT cars.
United States Road Racing Championship 1963–1968 Prototype group mostly featuring vehicles also used in Can Am. In recent years this group has been combined with the Can Am group.
Trans Am Series 1966–1972 Over two liter class. Occasionally features a few under two liter vehicles.
Can Am Series 1966–1974 In recent years has been combined with other prototype groups.
FIA Manufacturers Championship 1962–1979 Endurance prototypes. Sometimes combined with other prototype groups. Usually divided into two separate race groups, one for the 1960s and one for the 1970s.
Formula One 1966–1984 The three liter era.
IMSA GT Championship 1971–1992 Divided into IMSA GT/GTX/AAGT/GTU, IMSA GTO, and IMSA GTP. Also features a few GT cars from before 1971 of similar technology. Sometimes combined with 1970s prototypes. The GTOs will often be combined with the GTPs due to their greater performance. Cars of the Trans Am Series from 1973-1992 (called "SCCA") are combined with the IMSA GTO cars due to similar technology.

Combined class[edit]

Occasionally the schedule will feature combined-class races, such as the sports racing cars competing alongside the GT cars. While these two groups race simultaneously, they do not compete against each other, much like in professional racing.

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.[14] The unmodified cars have since been phased out. The Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival, a former sister event held at Sonoma Raceway, continues to include the production cars.[15]
  • In the past the prewar groups were divided into two types: production (sports, racing, and touring) and single-seater (Indy roadsters and grand prix).[14] The latter has since been merged with the racing cars. The sports and racing cars were also merged and are now often combined with the touring cars.

Special race groups[edit]

The Reunion also features special or expanded race groups in an attempt to generate greater interest from its spectators. These often one-time groups have included Grand National[16] and Winston Cup Series[17] stock cars, an under two liter Trans Am Series race group,[18] and a Formula Atlantic[19] group. Single-marque spec groups have also been featured. In 2011 an all Jaguar XKE race[20] 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.[21]

Event Year Race Group Year Range Notes
Bugatti Grand Prix 1900–1939 Featured several times in lieu of having a proper Bugatti tribute, as the only Bugatti vehicles available are prewar cars.
2007 Ferrari 1956–1971 One race featuring those with drum brakes and another featuring those with disc brakes.
2008 Formula Junior 1958–1963 Several races commemorating Formula Jr.'s "golden jubilee".[22]
2009 several race groups featured a large amount of Porsches, the featured marque
2010 Grand National Stock Cars 1966–1972 With drum brakes.
2010 Trans Am Series 1966–1972 Under 2000cc group.[23]
2010 Formula One 1966–1984 Expanded group in commemoration of F1's sixtieth anniversary.[24]
2011 Jaguar E-Type 1961–1970 Commemorating the model's fiftieth anniversary.
2012 Winston Cup Series 1974–1990 Those with disc brakes. A continuation from the previous Grand National group.
2012 Cobra 1962–1969 289 AC Cobras racing alongside 427 Shelby Cobras in tribute to the Cobra's fiftieth anniversary.
2013 Porsche 911 1964–1974 In commemoration of the 911's fiftieth anniversary and coinciding with the Rennsport reunion. Called the "Weissach Cup".
2014 Formula Atlantic 1974–1980
2015 Formula 5000 1968–1976
2015 Shelby GT350 1965–1970 In commemoration of the model's fiftieth anniversary.
2016 Trans Am 1966-1972 Expanded group in commemoration of the series' 50th anniversary. This includes the addition of a Ford Falcon and a Pontiac Tempest.[25]
2016 Grand Touring Cars Under 2500cc 1961-1966 Expanded to include a notable amount of under two liter Trans Am cars in commemoration of the series' 50th anniversary. These include BMW 2002s, 1960s Porsche 911s, Lotus Cortinas, and Alfa Romeo Giulias.
2016 IMSA GT 1971-1991 Expanded to include later model IMSA racecars, including those used in the American Le Mans Series, in commemoration of BMW's centennial. This included the addition of a BMW V12 LMR to compete against the GTPs.
2017[26] Formula Junior 1958-1963 Divided into 1958-60 and 1961-63 race groups. The former features front-engined cars with drum brakes and the latter features cars with disc brakes. Expanded class commemorating the "diamond jubilee" of Formula Jr.[27]
2018[28] Formula 5000 1968-1976
2018 IMSA GT 1973-1981 Expanded to include a large amount of Datsuns, as Nissan was the featured marque.
2018 GT Cars under 2500cc 1961-1966 Expanded to include a large amount of Datsuns, especially the Datsun 510. Other under two liter Trans Am cars were also featured.
2019[29] Formula Ford 1967-1981 Resembles their usual Formula Jr. group
2019 IMSA Prototypes 1981-2006 A mixture of IMSA GT Prototypes, Daytona Prototypes, World Sports Cars, and American Le Mans Series prototypes in commemoration of IMSA's 50th anniversary.
2019 Sports Racers 1969-1984 Resembles their usual FIA Manufacturers Championship groups
2019 Endurance Legends 1997-2013 In commemoration of IMSA's 50th anniversary. Includes prototype racecars used in endurance racing.

Featured marques[edit]

In 1975, the event introduced the tradition of honoring a "featured marque" each year.[30] 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.

Year Marque
1974 None
1975 Alfa Romeo
1976 Jaguar
1977 Bugatti
1978 Mercedes-Benz
1979 Bentley
1980 MG
1981 Cunningham
1982 Porsche
1983 Ford
1984 Ferrari
1985 Alfa Romeo
1986 Mercedes-Benz
1987 Chevrolet
1988 Maserati
1989 Aston Martin
1990 Allard
1991 Juan Manuel Fangio
1992 Jaguar
1993 Miller
1994 Ferrari
1995 Lotus
1996 BMW
1997 Shelby
1998 Porsche
1999 Auto Union
2000 Maserati
2001 Bentley
2002 Corvette
2003 Ford
2004 Ferrari
2005 Chaparral
2006 Cooper
2007 Indianapolis 500 roadsters
2008 Alfa Romeo
2009 Porsche
2010 Dan Gurney
2011 Jaguar
2012 Cobra[31]
2013 Corvette[32]
2014 Maserati[33]
2015 Shelby GT350[34]
2016 BMW[35]
2017 60th anniversary of Laguna Seca
2018 Nissan
2019 IMSA

Rules and format[edit]

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.

In contrast to the Goodwood Revival, the races at the Monterey Reunion tend not to feature hard competition due to the high value of the cars.

In the prewar groups the drivers can be seen waving as a signal to other drivers to pass. This is to avoid any potentially-severe or costly damage to the vehicles.

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.[36] 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 multiple instances in which contemporary racecars have been included in the race groups despite having been manufactured much later than even the most contemporary racecars regularly featured. In 2009, when featuring Porsche, an American Le Mans Series Porsche 911 was entered in the IMSA GT race group.[37] That group was chosen due to the technological similarities between the IMSA GT cars and the modern ALMS cars. In 2012, an ALMS Corvette competed with the IMSA GTO race group.[38] 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 more powerful engine. For 2016, the event featured contemporary BMW racecars such as those used in the ALMS in commemoration of that brand's centennial.

Professional drivers[edit]

Although the Reunion is an amateur event and features predominantly non-professional competitors, some current and former professionals do attend.

Notable entrants include:

Sister events[edit]

Prior to 2010, the event was affiliated with the Wine Country Classic at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. The event is now known as the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival. The event also featured Formula 5000 in 2008.[42] 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 due to their technological similarities (IMSA GTO vehicles were often also used in Trans Am, similar to the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge street tuner vehicles being able to compete in the Pirelli World Challenge touring car classes). This event also features classic NASCAR vehicles from both the Grand National and Winston Cup Series eras due to the event held there.

In May, 2017, a smaller event at WeatherTech Raceway debuted known as the Spring Classic.[43]

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.[44] 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.

Despite the reorganization, change of management, and SCRAMP's observance of the "new event" as separate from the original Historics, the Reunion does not feature any notable differences from the original event aside from the new name. The Reunion uses exactly the same structure as the Historics and features the same regular race groups.


In 2013, the Reunion was nominated for the Motor Sports Event category at the International Historic Motoring Awards.[45]

In 2017, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion won the FIA Founding Members' Heritage Cup for Motorsport Event of the Year, the first event at an American venue to receive the prestigious award.[46]


  1. ^ "Monterey - The Auctions". Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. 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. ^
  5. ^ "Image of 2005 event". Classic Showcase. 2005. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  6. ^ "Toyota Announces Presenting Sponsorship For the Rolex Monterey Historic Auto Races". 2006-07-22. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  7. ^ "Peninsular pleasures: A weekend in Monterey". August 5, 2008. Retrieved 2014-08-07.
  8. ^ Popular Mechanics issue from Google Books.
  9. ^ "The 2000 Monterey Historics Automobile Races". Popular Mechanics. 2004-12-07. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  10. ^ John Lamm (2010-08-05). "Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion - Road & Track". Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  11. ^ Jim Hall (2004-08-19). "2004 Monterey Historics - Road & Track". Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Woodyard, Chris (August 18, 2013). "Vintage Corvettes rule historic races in Monterey". USA Today. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  14. ^ a b George, Robin (August 2010). "Robin's Nest" (PDF). Miatatudes. Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association: 1.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Historic Stock Cars to Rumble at Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion". Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. May 12, 2010. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  17. ^ "Historic Stock Cars To Rev Up Their Engines At Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion". Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. June 21, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  18. ^ "Sports Sedan Revival Set". Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. June 2, 2010. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  19. ^ "2014 Event Schedule" (PDF). Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  20. ^ "Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2011 – Results and Photos". Sports Car Digest. August 22, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  21. ^ "Official Rolex Race Results" (PDF). Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  22. ^ "35th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, California". All Car Central. 2008. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  23. ^ "Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion -- Trans-Am Race (under 2000cc), August 2010". PBase. 2010. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  24. ^ "Monterey Motorsports Reunion to celebrate 60th anniversary of Formula 1". Auto Blog. Apr 9, 2010. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "FEATURED MARQUE HISTORY". Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  31. ^ "COBRA 50TH ANNIVERSARY TO BE FEATURED AT 2012 ROLEX MONTEREY MOTORSPORTS REUNION". Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. August 21, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  32. ^ "Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2013 – Report and Photos". Sports Car Digest. August 19, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  33. ^ "Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion". Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  34. ^ "ROLEX MONTEREY MOTORSPORTS REUNION TO CELEBRATE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF SHELBY GT350 MUSTANG". Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. November 18, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  35. ^ "BMW named featured marque of 2016 Monterey vintage races". Roundel. BMW Car Club of America: 40. October 2015.
  36. ^ "OFFICIAL ROLEX RACE RESULTS" (PDF). Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  37. ^ "36th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races". General Racing. 2009. Archived from the original on August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  38. ^ "OFFICIAL ROLEX RACE RESULTS" (PDF). Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ "Historic Formula 5000 race cars at Infineon - V8 sounds". "MajorDiscomfort". Mar 27, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  43. ^
  44. ^ "SCRAMP and General Racing part company for Monterey Historics". Racer. August 17, 2009. Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. 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.

External links[edit]