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2023 Put-in-Bay Sports Car Races to Feature Vintage Japanese Marques

Group 2 - Historic Small Bore Cars Jeff Mach
Jeff Mach

For 2023, the Put-in-Bay Sports Car Races, to be held Tuesday through Thursday September 19-21, will honor Japanese marques with expanded vehicle eligibilities for the very first time. Held on an historic Lake Erie island, this unique vintage racing event has always featured a heritage focus. For 2023, organizers plan a celebration of Japanese car brands and their collective role in motorsports, in addition to the traditional lineup of entries.

Datsun/Nissan, Honda, Mazda and Toyota entrants built 1990 and prior will be eligible for a “featured marque” discount and join the traditional Put-in-Bay race groups generally comprising 1973 and earlier cars. Hence first-generation Mazda Miatas, rotary powered RX7s, Toyota MR2 coupes and similar under-3 liter, pre-1991 cars driven by experienced vintage racers will now be able to take part in “the Holy Grail of Old-School Vintage Racing.”

“By opening entry eligibility to enthusiasts of the next generation of small-bore sports cars and sedans we feel we are staying true to the concept of the original Put-in-Bay Road Races while also expanding our ‘reach’ to a broader group of vintage racers,” said event coordinator Manley Ford. Adding that the annual Put-in-Bay event has entry options for both racing- and non-racing participants, Ford notes, “We also expect to attract a broader slate of street-car entries and spectators as well.”

For those not familiar with the Put-in-Bay event here are a few things that make it unique:

  • Small-bore sports cars raced through the narrow streets of the island from 1952-1959 and one ‘last time’ in 1963.
  • Vintage races have been held annually at the Put-in-Bay Airport since 2012 (except 2020).
  • Today’s challenging and competitive 1.2-mile, hay-bale lined course rewards precise braking and nimble handling on a pristinely maintained surface that offers excellent grip, numerous passing opportunities and varieties of racing lines.
  • Besides two days of racing, there is also an all-entrant’s car show, police-escorted tour-laps of the original 3.1-mile road course, social gatherings and the highly competitive and entertaining “rocker cover races.”

Registration is now open. See for registration materials and further details about eligibility.

Early registration discount expires June 1, 2023.