Tyler Hagan cruises out of Turn 2 in a 1960 Porsche 356 Roadster
Velocity Invitational saw a return to its roots at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California the weekend of November 10-12, 2023. Dubbed the ‘West Coast Goodwood’ by some car enthusiasts, the third chapter of the event highlighted the 60th Anniversary of McLaren while also showcasing an impressive selection of high-performance automobiles, classic racing vehicles, and a celebrity-filled roster of drivers. On top of that, the unforgettable trio of days was also filled with cultural experiences, exquisite gourmet cuisine, and wine throughout the event plaza.
Who needs Vegas?
During Velocity Invitational, fans had the opportunity to meet McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris, as well as McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, along with Arrow McLaren IndyCar Team drivers Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi, and Tony Kanaan. They also witnessed these talented individuals take to the track throughout the weekend.
McLaren Race Team
Additionally, the McLaren team curated an extensive collection of heritage cars, many seldom seen in North America. Several of the renowned McLarens showcased in the collection encompass Niki Lauda’s MP4/2A-1, securing the 1984 World Championship, Lewis Hamilton’s MP4/23A-05, piloted to a fifth-place finish in Brazil for his inaugural World Championship victory in 2008, and Ayrton Senna’s MP4/6-10, propelling him to his third and last World Championship and contributing to McLaren’s attainment of their fourth consecutive Constructors’ Championship.
With 10 different race groups, hypercar lap demonstrations, and the thrilling showdown between the Mustangs and Minis in an endurance race, there was surely something for everyone to enjoy on the 12-turn, 2.52-mile Sonoma Raceway throughout the sunny weekend. The inaugural public showcase of the new Ford GT Mk IV during the entire weekend, both on display in the Paddock and on track was a favorite among the automotive fans. The hand-built, track-only model pays homage to the original 1967 Ford GT40 Mk IV that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only 67 of the carbon fiber-bodied cars will be produced with a specially engineered twin-turbo Ford EcoBoost engine boasting over 800hp.
Time to get dirty
Dirtfish Rally School returned to Velocity Invitational. Several of their cars took to the track to demonstrate their expertise to the crowd. Visitors had the unique opportunity to purchase a ride-along experience on the specially constructed dirt course with renowned professional rally drivers, such as British and Asia-Pacific Rally Champion Alister McRae, European Rally Championship driver Max McRae, or IndyCar Series driver Benjamin Pedersen. The professional rally drivers also demonstrated their skills on the paved surface of Sonoma Raceway’s 12-turn course over the weekend.
Buzz in the paddock
Spectators came across a variety of exhibits as they explored the paddock area. Alongside the McLaren road cars, hypercar manufacturers and bespoke vehicles, like Guntherwerks, were also featured. Throughout the weekend, track demonstrations were seamlessly integrated between the racing categories, featuring a McLaren parade and the Ragtime Racers. Each night concluded with an exciting enduro competition that pitted Mustangs against Minis, all under the setting sun.
Until next year…
As the sun dipped below the Sonoma hills, it became clear that the 2023 Velocity Invitational had once more achieved the remarkable feat of encapsulating the true spirit of automotive enthusiasm. The weekend created a diverse mix of automotive passion and culture, where distinctions between value, rarity, perceived exclusivity, historical significance, and social hierarchy blurred. The result was a unique gathering of race cars revisiting their glorious past, creating a melting pot of enthusiasm and nostalgia. All content