May 17, 2024

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Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Turns 50 in 2024

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will celebrate the marques of the past and the genesis of historic racing from August 10-17, 2024 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Founded by Steven Earle of General Racing Ltd., the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, first held in 1974, was a pioneering event that combined curated historic race cars amid an open paddock for spectators to appreciate. 

At that time, old race cars were generally cast aside with no venue to enjoy them. The Historics at Laguna Seca became The event for owners of the great cars of the past to be able to safely drive them, thus fast tracking the international movement of race car restoration and preservation. 

Photo by Tim Hill

By accepting only authentic and period-correct cars, the event set the standard of excellence in historic racing for all others that followed, such as Lime Rock Historic Festival (1983), Monaco Historic Grand Prix (1997), Goodwood Revival (1998), Silverstone Classic (2001) and the Le Mans Classic (2002). 

In 2010, the event was renamed the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion to reflect the diversity of cars and widening opportunity to celebrate motorsports history. 

While the event has grown exponentially, the basic tenets of accepting historically significant cars still apply. Each car must be true to the day it originally ran. Modern modifications, replicas and cars without race provenance are not accepted. This is the distinguishing hallmark of the annual gathering. 

Jaguar and the Group 44 cars are reunited with Jaguar legend Bob Tullius in 2011.

Through the years, powerhouse brands like Ferrari, Ford, Chevrolet, Porsche, BMW and Jaguar have been celebrated, along with lesser-known marques such as Miller, Auto Union and Allard. All share a commonality, however, as each one was selected for an anniversary or special commemoration.

“Being the 50th anniversary of this remarkable event, we felt it was important to honor the birth of historic racing, as well as the past marques and fond memories that have been made,” said Barry Toepke, director of heritage events & public relations at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, who himself is celebrating his 35th anniversary of being involved in the event. “Monterey Car Week is special, but the historic racing where entrants can drive at speed and share their cars with guests is a one-of-a-kind experience on the Monterey Peninsula. It has also cemented WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as a favored venue for manufacturers to debut new vehicles where these cars can be presented in front of enthusiasts and journalists.”  

Longtime participant, Craig Jackson, shares stories with 2010 honoree Dan Gurney.

Being one of the world’s premier historic racing events, motorsports’ royalty are commonplace each year in the paddock. Legends such as the late Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Sir Stirling Moss, Bob Bondurant and Juan Manuel Fangio were frequent visitors. It’s not uncommon to continue seeing legends like Tom Kristensen, Jackie Stewart, Jacky Ickx, Jochen Mass, Brian Redman, Derek Bell, Peter Brock and Dario Franchitti exploring the paddock and greeting guests.    

The historic races joined the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as the foundation of Monterey Car Week, with more than 30 events now dotting the Central Coast the third week of August. It has become the flagship event of Monterey’s iconic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca that continues to attract international visitors, entrants, sponsors and journalists. The FIA recognized the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion in 2017 with its prestigious Founding Members Club Heritage Cup, the first and only such honor for a U.S.-based event. Then in 2021, the International Historic Motoring Awards named it Motorsport Event of the Year.

2023 witnessed the 70th anniversary of Corvette. Photo by Tim Hill

This year will honor featured marques from years past and pay tribute to all that historic racing means to motorsports and Monterey. Focusing on the fan experience from start to finish, guests are sure to be entertained and impressed while gaining a knowledge and appreciation of motorsport history. This year’s individual race groups will be announced shortly.

VIP hospitality packages, multiday or single day tickets for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion are on sale by calling 831-242-8200 or visiting WeatherTechRaceway.com

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