Gallery: Vintage speed at Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion returns to Car Week 2022
Monterey Car Week kicked into high gear, yesterday, as drivers hit the track for their first of many sessions at this year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Over 500 vintage rides packed WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, as drivers made tackled the undulating 2.2-mile course, filling the dusty hills with the sound of speed.
Laguna Seca has hosted the gathering since its inception in 1974. What started out as a one-day event has grown into a four-day celebration of motorsports, featuring the upper echelon of vintage racers, celebrities, live music, and mouth-watering fare.
Of the 11-turn layout, the most notable section is The Corkscrew. The two-story drop between Turn 8 and 8a is a crowd favorite, and fans line the fencing to watch their favorite relics make the dramatic plunge.
Among the vintage steel, the featured theme this year is the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Multitudes from the famous French endurance race are featured throughout the property, from a massive tent loaded with the iconic Le Mans cars to run groups segmented by the years in which they competed in the contest. They’re real and they’re spectacular.
Joining the throngs of Le Mans racers are an equally impressive array of vintage cars from other road racing disciplines. Rides from Trans Am, Formula 1, SCCA, IMSA and other sanctioning bodies had their moment in the California sun. Pit awnings crammed full of title-winning metal—and carbon fiber—light up the paddock with color. Ferrari Red and Gulf Blue share the spectrum with Eighties Day-Glo and Nineties vinyl. Celebrities, like Adam Carolla in his Hawaiian Tropic-liveried Porsche 935 or Ford Boss Jim Farley aboard a Cobra, are commonplace.
Though, not all were blowout affairs. In fact, many of the most captivating entries belonged to those who were there on a budget, like Horatio Fitz-Simon. The British youngster and his father were there campaigning their Lotus 26R. The pint-sized left-hand drive Lotus shod in a coat of BRG, rubbed shoulders with Cobras and Mustangs in the SCCA production class. “We don’t even have a tent,” says his father, explaining their shoestring affair. True to Chapman form the Lotus would get passed on the straights but then make all the time up (and then some) in the corners.
Despite the levels of provenance, the racing is still plenty frantic in certain run groups. There, drivers don’t mind close quarters; though, sometimes things get a bit too close. The day ended with an on-track scuffle between two 1990s-era Trans Am cars. Bent steel and punctured rubber were flatbed towed back to the pit area.
And this was merely the first day. More to come.
Your humble author was there to witness it all, with two Canon cameras in hand. Scroll through the gallery of my favorite shots, below.