Report and photos by Dennis Gray
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2013 was held August 15-18 at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, California. Learning new things about old cars was the thread that ran throughout the weekend, as visitors to this year’s Reunion witnessed historic race cars from nearly every era, dating as far back as a 1911 National 40 to a more modern-day 1992 Mazda RX-7 92P. The field of 550 historic racers were divided into 16 groups according to age and engine capacity and chosen for their period-correct presentation.
Formerly known as the Monterey Historic Automobile Races or Monterey Historics, the 2013 edition of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Chevrolet Corvette. A total of 45 Corvettes were among the historic automobile entries, and the Corvette Heritage Display featured a collection of the most important cars in Corvette’s evolution.
Richard Ravel drove his good friend Charlie Elman’s polo white 1954 Corvette, the oldest ‘Vette that has ever raced at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Festival, in Group 5B for 1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars. “We’ve raced it here for 30 years,” said Ravel. “We started racing it here in 1980, but in 2009 Charlie wanted to retire the car. Because this year the event is honoring the 60 years of Corvette, I convinced him that it would be good to bring it back just one more time.”
Rolex Awards of Excellence were awarded in each race category to individual drivers who were determined by an independent panel to be “most deserving,” and the event’s highest “Spirit of Monterey” honor, which is coupled with the awarding of a specially engraved 18k stainless steel and gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, went to the driver who, simply and elegantly stated, excelled in the spirit of the weekend.
“I don’t get teary easily, but this kind of thing will choke you up a little bit,” said this year’s Spirit of Monterey honoree John Harden of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. “To win a Rolex timepiece and to have my name put on a placard at this track alongside some of my heroes is a big deal for me.”
Harden drove his 1963 Huffaker Genie Mark VIII on Saturday in Group 4A for 1960-1968 Sports Racing USRRC Cars. His first race was in 1953 when he competed in one of the Pebble Beach Road Races, which ran from 1950-1956 through the Del Monte Forest before “Laguna Seca” was purpose-built in 1957 as a permanent race facility. It was appropriate, he said, that where he raced his very first race should be the same place he raced his very last. At age 81, Harden has taken his racing helmet off for good, officially retiring after yesterday’s race here, where he finished a very respectable eighth out of 33 cars running in his class.
Similar to the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 races, Senior Photographer Dennis Gray also documented the 2013 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, offering the following photos that highlight the diverse line-up of historic racing cars battling the straights, curves and drops of Laguna Seca.
Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2013 – Photo Gallery (photos: Dennis Gray)