MONTEREY, Calif., April 28, 2015 — Among the field of more than 100 drivers competing in this weekend’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix, powered by Mazda, one in particular hopes to capitalize on his home field advantage. Nick Galante of the No. 57 Racers Edge Motorsports Mustang Boss 302R returns to his Monterey roots in his chase for victory.
Two-wheel action is about to bump the four wheels off Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for four exhilarating days of action April 16-19. But it’s not the motorized bikes we’re talking about…this is the grueling Sea Otter Classic that annually descends on Laguna Seca Recreation Area.
My name is Jeremy Barnes, and I’m the Director of Public Relations and Brand Experience for Mazda North American Operations. I was flattered when I was asked to write a blog piece for Mazda Raceway describing my trickiest turn at the track.
“Oh great,” you’re thinking to yourself right now, “a corporate guy’s view of the track. I’ll bet he picks the Corkscrew, like everyone else…” If you did think that, you’d be both right AND wrong…
Ever wonder why certain cars are selected over other similarly fantastic motor cars at car shows and concours d’ elegances? Surreptitious money transfers? A wink of an eye from the car owner to the presiding judge? Not likely at an established concours d’elegance like the internationally-regarded one held last weekend in Amelia Island, Florida.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has evolved over the years, most notably the addition of Turns 3 and 4 around the lake. Yet, even with the changes, it remains the spiritual home to sports car racing’s legends who favored Monterey above nearly any road course throughout the world.
One turn that has changed slightly is Turn 11. Originally Turn 9 it is the slowest turn on the course before racers stomp on the accelerator for the longest straight on the circuit. Here are two images taken from approximately the same vantage point.
When Mazda Raceway asked me to write a blog I was intrigued and nervous. As the Communications Officer for Mazda Motorsports I write, a lot, about Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and Mazda Raceway. But like all of us at Mazda Motorsports, my career is a gray area transition from my personal interests. Does anyone really want to know how I went from “fan” to “insider”? The answer I am hoping is yes. You can get paid for doing what you love. It may take some time, but persistence pays off. Here is the Cliffs Notes version of how I came to be associated with
Motor Trend is blessed to be headquartered in Los Angeles, California, for all the obvious reasons: We have the ocean, the mountains, Hollywood, fantastic weather year-round, and access to some of the best driving roads in the country as well as world-class racetracks within a few hours’ drive.
So why do we venture north more than 300 miles, several times a year, to test and shoot at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca? The editors, photographers, and video producers at Motor Trend explain:
There is no denying the outstanding and unique photo opportunities that now exist as a result of the popularity of unmanned aircraft flying overhead. In fact, much of it is pretty darn cool.
While drones provide photographers and videographers with never-before-seen vantage points, it is a serious issue for many organizations that host public events where public safety is involved. This is why the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula and the Monterey County Parks Department prohibit the use of drones at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Did you know that the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) is a not-for-profit 501(c)4 organization? And that we are fortunate to have hundreds of volunteers who serve as the backbone of every racing event since the inaugural race was held on November 9, 1957?
It’s through the volunteerism and dedication of the many clubs, service organizations, individuals, assistant directors and directors that world-class racing exists in Monterey County. For without them, the historic track would be silent.
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:
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.
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.
There is so much to see and do when visiting Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, whether it’s making a quick overnight stop to see a race, or if you’re making a weekend of it and checking out all the cool attractions in the Monterey County area.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca offers some of the coolest apparel in all of motor racing, from jackets and sweatshirts to ball caps and tees. Be sure to visit our online souvenir store to browse the exclusive merchandise.
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