The Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races concluded today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca after three days of fabulous vintage racing action, exhibitions, new car reveals and activities for fans. Now 36 years old, the event is often called the most significant vintage racing event in the country, and according to famed driver Brian Redman, who joined the likes of Jurgen Barth, Derek Bell, David Donohue, Vic Elford and Hurley Haywood here this year, it is “one of the top two or three events of its kind in the world.”
That’s a weighty statement coming from a man who has seemingly done it all in car racing, including winning, in the 1970s, the Formula 5000 championship three consecutive times, the 12 Hours of Sebring twice and the Targa Florio once. “It’s the combination of the great circuit at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the weather, as well as the enthusiastic crowds and tremendous entry of cars,” said Redman, who took to the race track on Saturday in a 1971 Porsche 908/3 to win his class by just under four seconds. To Redman’s point, some very big names in auto racing were on the track, but the cars – mostly driven by gentlemen drivers who, while not necessarily famous are undeniably passionate about their sport -- were the main attraction. Of 450 entrants, one-third of those were Porsches, which was this year’s Featured Marque. And unlike other events where spectators might be separated from stars who take the stage, crowds of car lovers milled through the 30 acre paddock area, chatting with owners and drivers; watching mechanics tinker; swapping insight with other enthusiasts and parting like the Red Sea when another engine revved up, on its way to take position on the grid.