Classic Car Capital
1969 Porsche 917K coupes
One of two 1969 Porsche 917K coupes graced the afterrnoon light during the 2021 Velocity Invitational. © Rex McAfee

Held for a second year at historic Weathertech Raceway, Laguna Seca, the 2022 Velocity Invitational is poised to offer the finest combination of vintage racing and luxury lifestyle in North America. From hearing the distinctive wail of a 1950s Ferrari Testa Rossa to the cork pulled on an aged Napa Valley cabernet, be prepared to experience sensory bliss on the iconic Monterey Peninsula Oct 14-16. 

1963 Ferrari 250 GTO
Founder of the Velocity Invitational, Jeff O’Neill, takes a break from his event duties to put this 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO through its paces. Photo © Rex McAfee

As for the racing, let the numbers speak for themselves: approximately 240 cars, each of which has been accepted based on its originality, history, and rareness. Where else will you see and hear a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO driven at speed? Drivers are also vetted based on their experience and previous show of “driving etiquette.” Run groups for this year’s event are as follows:

  • Group 1: 1927-1949 GP & Voiturette Racing and 1927-1937 Sports & Touring Cars
  • Group 2: 1948-1955 Sports & Sports Racing Cars & 1947-1956 Production Cars
  • Group 3: 1956-1961 Sports Racing Cars
  • Group 4: 1956-1962 Production GT Cars
  • Group 5: 1972-1977 IMSA GT Cars
  • Group 6: 1963-1969 Sports & GT Cars
  • Group 7: 1966-1972 Historic Trans-Am Cars
  • Group 8: 1966-1979 Historic SCCA T/A Under-2L, 2.5L Challenge, B & C Sedan
  • Group 9: 1995-2012 IMSA/ALMS GT, LMGT, PROD, Cars
  • Group 10: Enduro: 1960’s Mini vs Mustang 
pre-grid lane is located inside the paddock
The pre-grid lane is located inside the paddock so that EVERYONE can enjoy the staging process. © Rex McAfee

Having just spoken with event founder Jeff O’Neill about the upcoming celebration, I have learned that many exclusive moments await those who make the journey, including a significant presence by McLaren Racing. The successful 1996 McLaren F1 GT12R and a selection of significant McLaren F1 cars will take exhibition laps at full speed, and I assure you the sound alone is overwhelming. Jeff said, “It’s an honor to have such historic race cars attend our event. It’s my goal to have the best of the best on display.” 

Charles Nearburg in F1 car
McLaren Racing will bring several former F1 cars. Shown here from last year, Charles Nearburg enters the famous Corkscrew at speed. Photo © Rex McAfee

For a more relaxing element of the event, Jeff was pleased to announce that no less than 18 of California’s top wineries will be there offering wine tasting, including such vintners as Castoro, Robert Hall, Eberle, and Joel Gott, to name a few. 

Top local restaurants will offer scrumptious cuisine again, so don’t worry; you won’t go hungry! Once your pallet is satisfied, walk over to one of the hypercar displays and see if you can talk your way into a test ride. McLaren, Hennessey, Czinger, and Zenvo will all have their latest exotics on display. 

1970 Dodge Challenger
A fan favorite is always the Trans Am race. Shown here, Richard Goldsmith pilots his 1970 Dodge Challenger. Photo © Rex McAfee

When I asked what’s new for this year’s event, Jeff was excited to talk about the Rally Car exhibit and demonstration laps. The cars will range from the outrageous Group B Lancia Rally 037 and MG Metro 6R4 through some of Subaru’s best Imprezas to the Peugeot 206 WRC that once dominated the World Rally Championship. This stunning collection of rally cars will be driven by rally legend Alister McRae and his son Max. 

Ferrari 250 GTO
Last year’s event included several rare and beautiful Ferrari 250 GTOs. Photo © Rex McAfee

Whether you come for the pampering or shrieks of an F1 car, the 2022 Velocity Invitational will be an unforgettable experience. For tickets and information, see velocityinvitational.com.

Coverage from last year’s Velocity Invitational can be found here: Velocity Invitational 2021: A Smashing Success.

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
During my conversation with event founder Jeff O’Neill, he mentioned this year’s vintage gathering will include two Ferrari 250 Testa Rossas. Photo © Rex McAfee