Ms. Ellen Bareley curated the Le Mans Legends Heritage Display. This display contained close to fifty cars, all with Le Mans history. From the 1929 Bentley Speed Six overall winner in 1929 and 1930 to the 2016 Ford GTLM class winner.
Among the displays was the Jim Hall 1967 Chaparral 2F; push rods, 427 cubic inch Chevy aluminum block, and an automatic transmission wrapped in fiberglass designed and built in Southwest Texas. This is an American Endurance Racing Car. Each of the many times I walked by the Chaparral 2F, I noticed somebody of my age explaining to sons and grandsons what an important car the Chaparral was to them. Jim Hall and his Chaparrals proved that American cars could compete internationally.
Another significant car is Cameron Healey’s 1951 Porsche 356/02-063. This is the car that started the Porsche mystique by winning Porsche’s first international race. The 1100cc Class of the 1951 Le Mans. Later the car was bought by Southern California’s John von Neumann, who eventually cut the roof off, producing the first Speedster. Northern California Porsche racer Chuck Forge eventually raced the car.
Cameron Healey bought the car from the Forge estate and returned it to how it left the factory in 1951. Even down to the rubber hose jammed behind the right front external driving light to stop vibration and the light moving during the race. Compared to the early fifties British and Italian cars here, this sleek racer definitely feels German!
Cameron Healey and SportsCarDigest compatriot Bill Wagenblatt have worked together to produce the book “46: The Birth of Porsche Motorsport,” which covers the history of 356/02-063 from its first production orders to today. The book includes conversations with original mechanics and team members. I have seen the layout for the book; if you are a Porsche enthusiast, you should have this book. It should be available early next year.
The Sunday morning Hillclimb or “Backwards up The Corkscrew.” This year the 2022 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion ran Wednesday through Saturday, leaving Sunday for the “Cars on Grass” people. For the rest of us, Laguna Seca held a Hillclimb running from the start-finish line through turns eleven, ten, and nine, ending just past The Corkscrew. You may notice this is backward from the usual direction the cars run.
With over fifty entrants in this novel event, the hillside behind The Corkscrew was packed with spectators. Once the entrants grasped the technique of driving up the hill, they put on a good show. The Word is that the track is looking to build a Hillclimb series out of this event. I am for it.
The Main Event
Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca Raceway had 13 groups of cars running this event. Starting with 1923-1955 The Early Years cars to 1981 – 2005 Le Mans Prototypes and GT1 cars. If you’re turned on by ground-shaking, loud, fast cars, how about the Group 12 Historic Vintage Trans-Am group. Or if your thing is the flame-throwing Porsches, there is Group 8 for 1972-1982 Le Mans cars. On the other end of the spectrum, we have Group 1 1968-1963 Formula Junior; buzzy but quick. Further up the open-wheel ladder is Group 13 1966-1985 Formula One. Very fast with the great sound of high revving V8s and even a Ferrari flat-12 in the field.
Enjoy the following gallery. I plan on having a follow-up 2022 RMMR posting in late September or early October with more images. If you don’t see a car or driver you’re interested in, let us know, and I’ll see if I have a picture to include in the future posting. Hope to hear from you.