The legendary and most famous sports car race in the world—the 24 Hours of Le Mans—will be honored at the 2022 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion to kick off the French classic’s year-long centenary celebration. The announcement was made last night at the prize-giving ceremony by John Narigi, president and general manager of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and Barry Toepke, director of heritage events.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to celebrate the 24 Hours of Le Mans at such an iconic venue as WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca,” said Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. “This event will be the green light to a year of festivities that will reach a climax at the centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 2023. I wish to thank John Narigi most sincerely for his invitation. The aura of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be felt at every racetrack throughout the world.”
“It is a thrill and honor to play a role in commemorating the rich history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans by bringing its prestigious brand to America,” said Narigi. “Our team looks forward to working with Mr. Fillon and the ACO team in capturing some of the magic and spirit of the incredible Le Mans experience and sharing it with fans visiting Monterey in August 2022.”
There will be several Le Mans-focused run groups that will showcase the wide-ranging history of automobiles that have competed over the years. The Le Mans grids will be dedicated to authentic, period-correct cars that have participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and have been accepted at the Le Mans Classic. There are 170 different makes eligible, ranging from Abarth and Alfa Romeo to Talbot and Triumph, in addition to Porsche, Ford, Ferrari, Corvette, BMW, Toyota, and Audi. The participants in these races in 2022 will have priority to enter the Le Mans Classic 2023 which will present the historical part of the centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Roundly welcomed by participants, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca announced a slight adjustment in future dates. The new dates for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion are Wednesday, August 17 through Saturday, August 20. Accelerating the schedule one day earlier in the week removes the years-long Sunday dilemma many entrants experienced of having to choose racing or enjoying the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Monterey Pre-Reunion will remain the weekend prior of August 13 and 14.
The date shift is sensible and long overdue, Narigi says. “The Monterey Motorsports Advisory Council and our team want to provide our Rolex Reunion entrants, sponsors, guests and our community with flexibility to enjoy their time in Monterey and further the spirit of cooperation with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as the two cornerstone events of Monterey Car Week. There are several concepts being discussed for a Sunday activity that will appeal to our area community.”
Historic car races have been held at the Monterey County road course for 47 years, having grown from a one-day gathering that attracted 66 cars in 1974 to a four-day international gathering of historically-significant race cars. Recognizing the significance and adherence to preserving history, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is the only U.S.-based event to win the prestigious Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) Founding Members Cup as Motorsport Event of the Year in 2017 for its “great significance to historic motoring.”