Our favorite race classes at 2023’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

Brandan Gillogly

If static car shows aren’t your thing, and no amount of coffee and doughnuts could get you up before the sun for Dawn Patrol, then we suggest you visit Laguna Seca during Monterey Car Week. Vintage racers of all shapes and specifications qualify and race all week long, with cars from more at least ten decades of motorsport showing their stuff and revving their engines. We spent the better part of a day trackside—here are some of our favorite classes of cars.


Ragtime Racers

While the Ragtime Racers cars don’t record blistering lap times, they require a lot of work to keep on track. It’s a two-person job, with co-drivers keeping an eye and usually a hand or two on the engine’s vitals. No two of their thumping engines sound alike, it seems.

1966–73 Can-Am & 1963–68 USRRC

An entirely different kind of handful, these no-holds-barred, open-top racers brought tremendous power to the track. Several of the McLarens were powered by ginormous big-block Chevy V-8s and provided some of the best soundtracks of the week.

1955–67 SCCA Small Displacement

On the other end of the engine-displacement spectrum are these tiny, lightweight cars, which require the utmost car control to maintain momentum through the corners. You may remember the British Racing Green Lotus of Horatio Fitz-Simon from his previous Rolex Motorsports Reunion antics, where he battled Jim Farley’s rowdy Cobra. Some of the most action-packed racing happens in this packed class, and 2023 was no exception.

1981–91 GTO/Trans Am

This class was dominated by retired Corvette Racing hotshoe Ron Fellows in his turbo-V-6-powered machine built by legendary crew chief Dan Binks.

1927–55 Grand Prix/Open Wheel Single Seat Racing Cars

This class was among the most surprising, as we can’t imagine that spectators expected these tiny racers to be not only quick but loud. Tremendously loud!

That’s all for now. We’ll bring more of our favorite cars, including the second year of Laguna Seca’s Sunday Hillclimb—which runs the iconic Corkscrew backward—in a later gallery.




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