The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2016 was held August 18-21 at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, California. A record four-day total of 70,525 spectators joined in the celebration of motorsports history at the raceway where so much of it has been made over the past 60 years.
As the constant heartbeat of Monterey Classic Car Week, the Reunion brought 550 vintage vehicles to life in their natural racing environment, divided into 15 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 2016 running celebrated the 100th anniversary of Bayerische Motoren Werke. An impressive 64 BMWs entered the Reunion, from the 1937 BMW 328 to a 2001 BMW M3 GTR, all adding to this distinctive rolling motoring museum.
Every morning the eerie fog hanging over the undulating raceway on the Monterey Peninsula cleared to reveal a hive of activity on the infield; owners, drivers and curators enthusiastically tinkering in the garages and pit lane. As the Californian sunshine began beating down on the asphalt and the sound of engines reverberated around the hillside, the cars captivated onlookers as they battled out on track, speeding down the renowned and challenging Corkscrew turn, tackling blind crests and tricky apexes, all the way to the checkered flag.
As the scene of America’s golden years of sports car racing, Laguna Seca has witnessed some of motor racing’s finest moments since 1957, including the thrilling and extreme Canadian-American Challenge Cup (Can-Am), which celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Reunion this week. Also featured were historic Formula One cars from the 3-litre era, 1967 to 1984. While the Raceway has never hosted a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, many of the greatest Formula One drivers have competed here, including Rolex Testimonee and three-time FIA Formula One World Drivers’ Champion, Sir Jackie Stewart, who attended this year’s event and fittingly was twice victorious in the 1971 Can-Am, driving the Lola T-260.
After robust competition and exciting racing, it was Car 101 in Group 7A Can-Am (1968-1974), the 1971 Shadow Mk II, that triumphed, claiming the Spirit of Monterey Award and the ultimate racing driver’s watch, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. This timepiece, awarded to the winning car’s owner, Jim Bartell, was the perfect way to commemorate such a momentous achievement.
Gill Campbell, CEO of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, commented, “The Reunion is the largest and most prestigious historic race in this country; what we really specialize in and focus on is the authenticity of the cars – they have to be prepared according to their original specifications, in their original livery and almost all the vehicles attending have real racing history. It is incredibly important for us to acknowledge and celebrate the heritage of the automobile – we need to recognize where we came from in order to know where we are going.”
Similar to 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, Sports Car Digest also documented the 2016 Monterey Reunion, with Senior Photographer Dennis Gray producing the following outstanding images from this year’s event. We split up Dennis’ pictures into two galleries. The first gallery starting below features our favorite images, while the second gallery and race results can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all the photographs.
Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2016 – Featured Photo Gallery
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