SALOON GROUP: 2022 ROLEX MONTEREY HISTORICS

Among the many makes and models eligible for the SALOON GROUP: 2022 ROLEX MONTEREY HISTORICS is this ‘67 Alfa Romeo GTA, which Brandon Adrian drove at the 2018 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

SALOON GROUP: 2022 ROLEX MONTEREY HISTORICS

Visitors to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion August 17-20 will see a decidedly European staple rev to life. The historic Saloon (or Touring) car race group is an exciting class that always produces an interesting variety of cars when they race at equally legendary tracks like Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans. Now they’re setting their sights on America and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

“The Advisory Council has been discussing new classes of racing for a while to keep each Rolex Reunion fresh for both drivers and visitors,” explained Bruce Canepa, co-chair of the Advisory Council, which also oversees car selection. “The Saloon group perfectly complements the four Le Mans-focused groups, as well as our signature groups like Historic Trans-Am and Formula One. It is going to be a spectacular experience.”

Eligible cars range from the Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Veloce and Lotus Cortina to the MG Magnette and Wolseley Hornet. “The variety of cars that are being submitted for entry consideration is impressive and entertaining,” Canepa added.

Saloon cars are road-going close-bodied models that have been heavily modified for racing. The purpose of adding this group is to begin establishing it as a regular attraction that can be rotated with others from year to year.

The 2022 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion celebrates the start of a yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of the world’s most famous sports car race – the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Of the 12 race groups, four are dedicated to cars that raced at Le Mans or were eligible to race in period. The groups span from 1923 all the way through the blindingly fast Le Mans Prototypes seen between 1981 and 2005.

Visitors to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion can expect to see the world’s best authentic and historic cars with period-correct livery in the paddock and on track. The four-day celebration, which begins on Wednesday, August 17, and concludes on Saturday, August 20, is preceded by two days of the Monterey Pre-Reunion, August. 13 and 14, where many of the same cars compete.

For more information on SALOON GROUP: 2022 ROLEX MONTEREY HISTORICS and other events for 2022, please visit https://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/government-links/weathertech-raceway

MONTEREY 2021: ROLEX MOTORSPORTS REUNION!

Jim Palam set his GPS and focus on WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, as he headed out into a dense morning fog to capture the action and excitement of Monterey Car Week’s largest event – historic car racing at MONTEREY 2021: ROLEX MOTORSPORTS REUNION!

MONTEREY 2021: ROLEX MOTORSPORTS REUNION!

I consider myself a good driver but I was unusually nervous heading into a heavy fog shrouding the long, ridgetop South Boundary Road that leads to the admissions checkpoint at Laguna Seca. The unforgiving fog was one thing, but the realization that I had left my camera backup batteries and charger at the motel I had just checked out of was a foolish mistake – and now there was no turning back. I had just 15 minutes to make it to the Photographer’s Safety Meeting where I’d pick up my wristband and track-issued photographer’s vest. Without these items there would be no trackside shooting or hot pit access.

The good news was that I wasn’t the only media person running a little behind as the fog had slowed the start-up activities for the day’s racing. By 7:45 AM however, I could hear what sounded like the crackle of a twin-turbo running some hot practice laps on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course. By 8:15 AM I was on a volunteer shuttle that brought me up to turns 8 and 8A, the famous Laguna Seca Corkscrew. It was now time to shoot and I had to make do with one battery.

Heading down from the Corkscrew I ran into comedian, filmmaker, collector, driver Adam Corolla in the Paddock area. He was kind enough to pose for a photo, above, right, beside one of his Paul Newman racecars – ’74 Porsche 911S. Corolla and his Newman 911S come out of Turn 4, below, in hot pursuit of a mid-field position in a Group 3A race. This is the car that was driven by Newman and Freeman in 1977  at the 12 Hours of Sebring.

The Corkscrew is a dive-bombing, roller-coaster series of quick turns featuring a blind crest and a 59-foot drop in elevation beginning in Turn 8 with a quick exit at Turn 8A. In other words, it’s one of motorsports’ most challenging and thrilling turns – and the perfect backdrop for this rare ‘60 Tipo 61 Camoradi Birdcage Maserati.

Stu Hanssen blasts down the Rahall Straight, seconds away from entering the infamous Corkscrew, in his Group 4A ’51 Baldwin Special. Powered by an Ardun-converted Flathead, it’s the same car he’s driven to Cars & Coffee gatherings in the Santa Ynez Valley area. A loose Panhard Bar slowed him down in the turns, but he still finished a very respectable Sixth.

Remember that early morning twin-turbo practice run I heard? Well, here’s the beautiful noise-maker. Turns out driver Zak Brown was giving the viewers of The Racer Channel some helmet-view thrills from inside Car No. 18, as he repeatedly tickled the redline during a spirited run around a foggy Laguna Seca. I caught him blasting the flat nose Porsche 935 JLP-3 later in the day out of Turn 4.

MONTEREY 2021: ROLEX MOTORSPORTS REUNION!Race Time! A mustachioed Ragtime Racer and his mechanic are all smiles as they get ready to hit the course for Saturday’s Ragtime Racers exhibition for Historic pre-1920 racecars. Fans loved watching the procession from the Paddock area to the track where they huffed and puffed their way over the hills, down the straights and through the 11 turns of Laguna Seca!

There’s no racing on the track until you get your car to the track. Back in the 1940s that may have been accomplished on the back deck of a sturdy Ford COE racecar hauler like this modified beauty on display in the Paddock area.

Racers are passionate about everything related to motorsports, and they often bring more than their enthusiasm to the track; they also tend to bring their “stuff” – like this ­pricey ‘40 Big Tank Crocker motorcycle.

MONTEREY 2021: ROLEX MOTORSPORTS REUNION!Motorsports racing is typically a heavily-funded team effort, but the nice thing about the Rolex Reunion is that you can be a privateer and still have a blast. Here a racer makes a last-minute adjustment on his beautiful Jaguar E-Type Competition Coupé.

Donald Anderson’s ‘64 Bobsy SR3 Sports Roadster. Sleek Bobsy lightweight SCCA racecars were originally created by Jerry Mong in collaboration with brothers Alan and Kaye Heir.

POTUS in the Paddock! What a surprise to see President Biden readying his Triumph TR2 at Laguna Seca! OK, this really isn’t Car Guy Joe; I added the Presidential patch just for giggles!

One of my favorite racecar liveries is on the famous Al Unser driven Indy 500 Lola. The bright yellow Johnny Lightning bolts on deep candy blue paint is electrifying. Thrilled to see this legend at the Reunion!

Mechanic Chris Clarke kneels by his racecar “responsibility” – the famous Hans Stuck driven ‘74 March 741 early ’70s tall air-scoop F1 racer. The bright orange Jägermeister livery has adorned Formula 1 and German Touring Cars for decades of championship racing.

This is the interior of the rare Car No. 33 Centurion competition roadster. Its Sting Ray-influenced body was designed by Bud Goodwin and built by Fiberfab Corp. in Sunnyvale, CA in 1964. The original Sting Ray Racer was designed by Peter Brock in 1958, years prior to production ’63 Corvette Sting Rays.

No, this isn’t a motor that would have powered any of the historic cars at Laguna Seca, but it was on trackside display for its historical significance. This is the brutish 2,000 horsepower supercharged Chrysler Hemi that sits forward of the driver in the famous ‘64 Fuller/Roberts Starlite III Top Fuel Dragster. Lots of Golden oldies at  MONTEREY 2021: ROLEX MOTORSPORTS REUNION!

Ford delivered an impressive display of style and performance both on the track and in the Paddock viewing areas. The brought a fleet of historic racers – including the legendary Holman & Moody GT40, P/1016 that finished Third at Le Mans in 1966, from the Shelby-American Collection, Boulder, CO. It’s owned by the Miller Family Foundation.

During my limited time at MONTEREY 2021: ROLEX MOTORSPORTS REUNION! I marveled at our rich motorsports history and wondered what its future is going to look like. As I photographed this current Ford GT, I kept thinking: The future might be hybrid, it might be electric, it might be virtual, or it could even be autonomous? Whatever it evolves to I’m pretty sure it will continue to be a shared participant experience, and it will continue to be exciting!

Words & Photos ©Jim Palam, https://www.jimpalamphotos.com/

Check out MONTEREY 2021: ROLEX MOTORSPORTS REUNION! and a calendar of events at Laguna Seca @https://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/government-links/weathertech-raceway