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2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion in Pictures (Part 1)

Greg Kachadurian August 14, 2017 Pebble Beach, Vintage Racing 3 Comments

At about this time last year, I was extremely fortunate to attend Monterey Car Week in California for a third time – a fortune I won’t be able to repeat this year, sadly. But with things gearing up later this week, I figured it would be the right time to finally post some of the “lost” shots I took from the one event that should be mandatory – the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

I’ve covered that incredible event before, but for the first time I had media credentials that let me get closer to the action on track at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It was about the most fun I’ve ever had behind a camera, not least  because it was my first big outing with my new DSLR. They were some of the best shots I’ve ever taken, yet I never published more than a handful here on the ‘verse. Long story short, life got in the way. Big time. I simply lacked the time and energy to sort through thousands of photos and edit the ones I liked best. And by the time I did, Car Week had already been over for nearly a month.

But they’re almost relevant now that Car Week is in full swing again. If I can’t be there to cover it again, I can at least show off what was there last year (most of which will be there again this week) and maybe convince some of you in the area to go check it out.

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is, in my humble and biased opinion, the best thing you can do in Monterey during Car Week. There’s history everywhere and it’s alive and in your face. The cars here are dream material and can be worth millions, yet they get thrashed around this track as if they were replaceable (which they sometimes aren’t). It’s simply the best.

I was there for three full days and took over 2,300 pictures, the best of which are past the jump and in a couple other posts coming this week. Enjoy.

The main benefit to having a media pass is getting access to areas that most are blocked from. For example, the pits – even when they’re hot. This was taken while the Pre-War race cars were heading out to the grid. The noises and smells coming from this group was enough to put more hair on my chest.

All these images and more are available in full size on Flickr.

One thing that the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion gets right is authenticity. There aren’t any replicas here and everything is raced more or less as it was back in the day, meaning cars like this 1917 Hall-Scott “The Four” feature the riding mechanic/spotter.

The older the car, the more special it is seeing out on track. Something like the Porsche and Jaguar above could easily be sitting on the pristine golf courses being judged in the main Concours, but instead they’re out here where they truly belong. Hats off to the owners.

Locked brakes at the top of the infamous Corkscrew. He made it through. Also, wonder why this Ginetta G4 has all that tape over the rear fender?

This is why.

As each run group gets its play time on track, the diversity is pretty consistent. You just end up falling in love with every car you see… or maybe that was just me.

Of course when every car is special, it becomes hard to figure out which car to shoot next. Capturing this awesome Porsche 356 meant I had less time to prepare for the multi-million-dollar Ferrari 250 GT SWB that’s just casually lurking behind it.

… Speaking of obscenely valuable Ferraris, this was one of quite a few 250 GTOs in attendance. I can assure you they were being driven quickly.

Following the hand-carved aluminum of the Ferraris came the hammered steel of the Historic TransAm cars. This is always one of the more entertaining groups to watch due to the sheer bravery shown by these drivers as they slide around door-to-door. It’s just some good old-school fun.

This picture, the two above it, and several others from the TransAm group are the result of the most painful shooting session of my life. As you can kind of see, I’m quite close to the track as these V8-powered war machines belt out their battle cries – typically from the left side of the car pointing right towards me. This is a problem when I forget ear plugs.

BMW was the featured marque of the weekend in honor of their 100th Anniversary. Lots of passionate owners and even BMW themselves brought out some awesome stuff, some of which I’ve never seen on track before. I’ll have much more of those later in the week, but for now, have the CSL I couldn’t help but stare at every time it came by.

By the way, I wasn’t joking when I said these guys raced hard. Maybe two feet separate these two irreplaceable IMSA GTO cars, at the Corkscrew no less.

Professional endurance racer Gunnar Jeannette was recruited to tame the Porsche 935. This car looked like a handful in the corners, but an absolute missile once it hooked up on the straights. It was hard to capture this moment before the turbo finished spooling and the car disappeared.

This BMW E36 M3 GT-2 was one of the BMWs I was most excited to witness on track. After seeing it dragged out for static displays several times, it finally sang for me. BMW sent John Edwards, one of their IMSA WeatherTech drivers with Team RLL, to fill the seat once occupied by the legendary Afro himself.

Any day you get to see a Ferrari 512M racing is a good day. Its V12 sounded fantastic.

On their way to the Corkscrew.

The man who owns this Porsche 917K is Bruce Canepa. He’s pretty cool. He’s got a bunch of historic race cars and races pretty much all of them personally, including this one.

The 1967-1984 Formula 1 group was also there to remind us how much prettier things used to be. This Lotus 77 had Andretti’s name on it.

And this Ferrari 312 T4 had Gilles Villeneuve’s name on it. History was truly alive that weekend and it was blowing carbon in my face. I wish I didn’t end.

That’s it for part one of maybe two or three I have planned for this week. The point of all this is to finally use these pictures to demonstrate why this should be the only thing you do during Monterey Car Week, other than Concours d’Lemon of course. You could either choose to look at unobtanium sitting on a golf course surrounded by suits or watch unobtanium get flogged around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca surrounded by race fans and passionate owners. I think I know what you’d rather do…

[Images © 2017 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian – Full size images are available on Flickr]

 

  • How do you keep a forty yo F1 car on the road? I guess the answer is “money, lots of”.

    • outback_ute

      Much, much more easily than a twenty year old one! They are ‘just’ mechanical, so lots of inspection and crack testing.

      I’ve seen some of those cars run, looking forward to the next installment!

      • Greg Kachadurian

        That’s a good point actually. No overly complicated systems to maintain, just some high strung hardware. I’m sure it’s still hilariously expensive though (and totally worth it). Next part is coming tomorrow 🙂