There are two sides to every story, and in the case of the 36th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races that means it’s hard to say who will enjoy themselves more: the owners and drivers of over 450 extraordinary entries or the more than 30,000 spectators who will flock to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on August 14-16 for the 2009 edition of vintage auto racing’s number one spectacle. The finely-tuned tradition showcases the cars and people from the beginning of motorsports history to the present day and this year honors Porsche as its featured marque.
Helping to celebrate Porsche’s storied racing heritage will be former Porsche factory drivers Brian Redman and Vic Elford. Redman drove Porsches to two of his three victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona (1970, ’76, ’81) and one of his two victories at 12 Hours of Sebring (’75, ’78) as well as raced the famed Porsche 917 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. (The 917 gave Porsche its first overall win at Le Mans in 1970). Elford, who also drove Porsches to win Daytona (1968) and Sebring (1971), drove the 917 in the high-speed scenes for the 1971 Steve McQueen movie Le Mans.
“With Redman, Elford, George Follmer and others planning to attend, the line-up of celebrity auto racing heroes with ties to Porsche will continue to build,” said Steve Earle of General Racing, creator and organizer of the event. “At the same time, we are narrowing down our participants – both famous and not-so-famous — from hundreds upon hundreds of applicants to compete in 15 different race groups. Of the 450 cars accepted, we expect 150 or so to be Porsches.”
Robert Newman, Jr., of New York City is one of those racing enthusiasts and Porsche devotees planning to return to the Rolex Monterey Historic with two of his prized possessions. The 64-year-old will drive either his 1969 Porsche 911 S (originally raced by Bruce Jennings and thought to be Porsche’s back-up car for the 1969 Monte Carlo rally) or his 1974 Porsche RSR (prepared by Kremer Brothers for racing in Europe), while Germany’s Jurgen Barth, who drove a Porsche to victory at Le Mans (1977), will drive the other.
“Driving at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races creates a certain level of confidence,” said Newman, who, interestingly enough, didn’t begin racing until the age of 60, when – on his birthday – he attended the Skip Barber Racing School. “You don’t have to go out there and try to be Mario Andretti or Mark Donohue, but you do develop a skill level which allows you to have a really good time and be accepted by the racing community.”
“Monterey is a beautiful place to be in August,” added Newman, “and my wife and I really look forward to going there. We’ve met some wonderful people at the event, and we enjoy ourselves immensely when we are there.”
While participants like Newman, Redman and Elford are creating their own sides of stories to tell, spectators at the Rolex Monterey Historic will be indulging in some of the world’s most exotic and historic racing machines charging down the main straight and negotiating the twists and turns of one of the country’s most challenging race circuits. With so much in the Rolex Monterey Historic offerings, it’s hard to know which side of the fence is better to take.
Tickets Available Online
Tickets are available online at www.montereyhistoric.com, with discounts offered for advance purchases as well as for multi-day packages. Prices for advance single-day tickets are $50 (Friday and Sunday) and $65 (Saturday). Single-day tickets at the gate are $60 and $75, respectively. Multi-day tickets in advance are $95 (2 day) and $125 (3 day), and at the gate $115 and $145, respectively. Kids 12 and under are free.
[Source: Monterey Historics]