The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2017 was held August 17-20 at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, California. Enthusiasts savored four fantastic days of historic racing at the iconic track, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
A cornerstone of Monterey Classic Car Week, the Reunion brought more than 500 vintage race cars to life in their natural racing environment, divided into 15 groups according to age and engine capacity and chosen for their period-correct presentation. Formerly known as the Monterey Historic Automobile Races or Monterey Historics, the 2017 edition also honored the Diamond Jubilee of Formula Junior and 70 years of Ferrari.
The Formula Junior group continued its Diamond Jubilee World Tour with a huge outing of 64 Formula Junior entries across two separate run groups. Elsewhere in the paddock, 12 race cars pertinent to the history of Laguna Seca including the Ferrari 500 Testa Rossa that Pete Lovely drove to the overall victory at the track’s inaugural event in November 1957 were showcased in the Racing Through the Decades feature display.
The final day of racing that decided Rolex Race winners in the seven B run groups concluded with a special ceremony that crowned several award winners including one participant who earned the Spirit of Monterey Award with a specially-engraved Rolex stainless steel 18k Gold Daytona Cosmograph and a portrait of the race-winning Ferrari from the 1957 event by artist Bill Patterson. The award, given to the driver or entrant who excels in the spirit of the weekend, was fittingly given to a driver that had participated in the first event at the track in 1957 during a Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion that celebrated the 60th anniversary of Laguna Seca.
Dr. Lee Talbot, Ph.D, was bestowed with the honor. Competing in his 1967 Ginetta G4 sports car at age 87 with the same spry enthusiasm he had for motorsports six decades earlier, the accomplished racer and scholar in the field of environmental science from McLean, Virginia, demonstrated the passion that was tangible throughout the event.
The Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2017 featured several fan activities and special attractions. “Mr. Le Mans” Tom Kristensen made spirited exhibitions in an Audi R8 LMP1 and shared stories on the Paddock Showcase stage during the Picnic in the Paddock on Saturday. Two-time Formula One World Champion Mika Häkkinen drove the same McLaren M23B that Emerson Fittipaldi had wheeled to the 1974 World Championship and engaged in a Q&A in the Paddock Showcase.
“What a wonderful weekend of spirited racing,” said Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s Gill Campbell. “Congratulations to Dr. Talbot and all of the race and award winners. We appreciate all the efforts that go into making this such a special event, and we are already planning for next year.”
For those making plans for the 2018 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, remember that the event takes place on August 23-26. The Reunion, along with all other major Monterey Classic Car Week activities, has been moved one week later from their traditional spots on the calendar to accommodate the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links August 13-19.
Similar to 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, Sports Car Digest also documented the 2017 Monterey Reunion, with Senior Photographer Dennis Gray producing the following outstanding images from this year’s event.
Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2017 – Photo Gallery (photos: Dennis Gray)
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[Source: Rolex Motorsports, Monterey Motorsports Reunion; photos: Dennis Gray]