2011 witnesses a landmark of World Championship Grand Prix racing for Yamaha, having successfully competed at the highest level for 50 years. From the very first Grand Prix entry in the French GP of 1961 to today, Yamaha has been an icon at the forefront of Grand Prix racing with countless victories delivered the world over to the delight of the many loyal and dedicated fans.
The high-tech world of endurance sports cars visits Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the form of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Highlighting cars that compete in the legendary 24 Heures du Mans, high-speed, high-tech race cars from Mazda, Accura, and Aston Martin vie for the event title over a gruelling six-hour race that tests man and machine. Throughout the race weekend fans are treated to autograph sessions, tech talks, and the ever-popular pre-race grid walk. Although the stars of the ALMS series take center stage, other on-track action includes races for the Porsche GT3 Cup, World Challenge, Protoptype Lites, and the Star Mazda open-wheel series.
The Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV features the world’s largest gathering of Porsche race cars and drivers. Sponsored by Porsche Cars North America, Rennsport Reunion IV brings together an unprecedented gathering of significant Porsche vintage and current race cars, as well those who have driven them to victory in the world’s most famous sports car races. The three-day program of on-track competition is complemented by a concours d’elegance, which is open to invited race participants, and special activities celebrating the decades-long history of the legendary 911 race cars. Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV will assemble the wide variety of Porsche’s most historic racing models from the nimble 550 Spyder of the mid-Fifties through the mighty 917 and 956/962 of the Seventies and Eighties to the highly successful GT3 RSR of the last decade.
The premier vintage motorsports event in North America, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, boasts the finest collection of historic race cars seen annually on the continent. For 2011 the legendary English sports car manufacturer, Jaguar, will be featured marque as the revered brand celebrates the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the E-Type, and the 60th anniversary of the C-Type’s first victory at the 24 Heures du Mans. In addition to a stunning collection of historic racing cars, drivers and notable figures from Jaguar’s rich history will be at the event. Another highlight will be the Ferrari GTO 250 race, which will see more than $100-million worth of race cars on the starting line.
The most important motorcycle race on the west coast, the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, features the MotoGP World Championship. The Formula 1 of two-wheel racing, the MotoGP series stars the planet’s greatest motorcycle riders vying for the title of World Champion. The 2011 season begins with a slew of rider/motorcycle changes, with multi-time champion Valentino Rossi switching to Ducati, Casey Stoner moving to Honda, and American hot-shot Ben Spies to the Factory Yamaha team. However, all will have to get past the defending event and world champion Jorge Lorenzo, and Red Bull ace Dani Pedrosa. A full weekend of racing activity includes the AMA categories Pro Motorcycle SuperSport, Pro Daytona SportBike, and Pro National Guard SuperBike.
The first major sports car race of the year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca sees the stars of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series visit the Monterey track. The Continental Tire Sports Car Series, powered by MAZDA6, will feature competition in the Daytona Prototype class, and the Grand Touring (GT) category. Grand-Am racing events typically feature some of the most exciting competition in all of racing, with drivers bumping and barging their way past each other in the race to the checkered flag. The race weekend will include autograph and meet-and-greet sessions with the drivers, including TV and movie heartthrob Patrick Dempsey, who competes in the GT class.