Fifty-seven years ago this weekend the motor racing landscape forever changed. That’s when the first sports car race was held here at the new Laguna Seca Raceway.
The beginnings of now-named Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is traced back to the Pebble Beach Road Races that began in 1950. And by 1956, this popular race had swelled to more than 50,000 spectators crowding the tree-lined forest course. International driving stars regularly competed and the atmosphere was punctuated by both motorsport gear heads and an upscale social happening.
There are a handful of historic racing meets in the world where pure authenticity, historical provenance and period-correctness of the cars competing are paramount. There’s the Goodwood Revival and Silverstone Classic in England, Le Mans Classic in France, and the Monaco Historic Grand Prix that come to mind. Here in the U.S., it’s the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
The German automakers not only how to build tremendous cars. They also know how to build incredible museums. If you are traveling to Europe, it is a safe bet you’ll enjoy one, if not all, of the museums. Here’s where the primary ones are located:
Monterey, Calif., is where I was born and raised. It’s probably one of the most beautiful places in the world and I feel lucky to call it home.
Over the years, I’ve found quite a few places in Monterey that I like to frequent that are definitely favorites in my book. And since Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is my home track, I can also give you an insider perspective of the racing circuit. I’d like to share a few of these with you and hope you enjoy them as well and maybe even run into you at one of my favorite spots.
Townsend Bell is fresh off his class-winning drive at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the kick-off of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series. Townsend was co-driver in Level 5 Motorsports’ Ferrari 458 Italia, and just edging an Audi R8 in a dramatic, and controversial, finish.