Monterey Historic Automobile Races

Monterey Historic Automobile Races

The Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races presented by Toyota (or simply Monterey Historics) is an annual event held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. Its purpose is to provide an event for historic race cars to compete in. It takes place over the course of one weekend every mid-August. This year's event took place on August 15-17. It was first established by Steve Earle in 1974 as the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, who organized the meeting for his friends to race their cars at Laguna Seca.Cite web|url=|title=Monterey - The Auctions|accessdate=2008-08-31|] Over the years, the event would eventually acquire sponsorships from Rolex and Chrysler, eventually dropping the Chrysler sponsorship for Toyota. Next year's event will take place August 14-16.


Though many participants are locals, some celebrities do participate. Vic Edelbrock, Jr. and family are regulars, particularly in the Trans Am class and any other class involving Ford Mustangs. Various professional road racers have also participated, such as Carroll Shelby, Bobby Rahal, Parnelli Jones, and Stirling Moss. An 8-lap race featuring Formula One drivers Jean-Pierre Jarier, Alan Jones, Derek Bell, Eddie Cheever, Johnny Herbert, John Watson, Patrick Tambay, Timo Glock, and Alain de Cadenet participated in 2008 with the drivers using Scion tCs, mostly due to the Toyota sponsorship. Glock also participated in 2008 in Toyota demonstration laps driving a Toyota Eagle MK III IMSA GT prototype, the demonstration also relating to the Toyota sponsorship. The demonstration also included a Toyota Celica GTU and a Toyota 2000GT. Mario Andretti did demonstration laps in 2008 in a Lotus 79 in honor of the 30th anniversary of his Formula One championship. Rahal participated in 2008 in a 1972 Lola T-280 in the 1964-75 FIA Manufacturer's Championship class. He was scheduled to drive a 1980 BMW M1 in the IMSA GT race, but did not start. In 2007 Al Unser, Sr. participated in the prewar class in a 1939 Lagonda. Rahal also competed that year in his Lola in the 1965-72 FIA manufacturer's championship car class. He had been scheduled to compete in the 1961-65 sports racing car class in a 1967 Elva-Porsche that year, but did not start.


The event commemorated its tenth anniversary in 1985 by selecting Alfa Romeo, its first featured marque, to be featured for the second time, the first occurrence in the event's history. The event chose Corvette as the featured marque for 2002 in commemoration of the car's fiftieth anniversary, making it the first model rather than manufacturer to be featured. The event celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1998. The event celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2008 by featuring its first marque, Alfa Romeo, for the third time. In addition, it featured multiple Formula Jr. races of specific eras (e.g. 1959-60) for the league's 50th anniversary. For Mario Andretti's 30th anniversary of his Formula One championship, he performed demonstration laps in a Lotus 79.

Amateur status

Because it is an amateur event, guests are allowed to visit the paddock and view all the cars before the races begin. The only reward the participants receive is the pleasure to share their prized racing automobiles with the public.

On television

In recent years the Historics have been featured on television. Speed Channel occasionally broadcasts highlights of previous races. In 2008, HD Theater televised highlights of the 2003 event as part of its Ultimate Car Show program.

In magazines

The Historics have been featured in Autoweek magazine. It was featured in an online article in early August 2008Cite web|url=|title=Peninsular pleasures: A weekend in Monterey|accessdate=2008-08-31|] and also in the September 2008 issue.


Many different types of races are featured.

*Prewar sports and touring cars
*1908-50 Grand Prix cars and Indy roadsters.
*1947-60 sports racing cars (divided into separate races and occasionally combined with the production cars)
*1947-66 production cars (divided into separate races)
*1955-63 Formula cars (often Formula 2, Formula Jr., etc)
*1963-75 FIA Manufacturer's Championship cars
*1965-74 Historic Can Am cars
*1966-71 Historic Trans-Am cars (usually only the 5 liter class).
*1966-78 Formula One cars
*1969-83 IMSA GT Championship cars

Some races are divided by displacement. The most common are the classes that mostly feature cars with more than 2 or 2.5 liters and those that feature less than 2 to 2.5 liters. In 2003, they added an all-Bugatti race known as the Bugatti Grand Prix, which was odd as Bugatti has not been the featured marque since 1977. The next occurrence of this was in 2004 where an all-Ferrari race was held, this time featuring the featured marque. In 2008, two exhibition Ferrari races were held, the first featuring those with drum brakes and the second with those featuring disc brakes.

Featured marques

1975- Alfa Romeo flagicon|ITA

1976-Jaguar flagicon|UK

1977- Bugatti flagicon|FRA

1978- Mercedes flagicon|GER

1979- Bentley flagicon|UK

1980- Morris Garages flagicon|UK

1981- Cunningham flagicon|USA.

1982- Porsche flagicon|GER

1983- Ford flagicon|USA

1984- Ferrari flagicon|ITA

1985- Alfa Romeo flagicon|ITA

1986- Mercedes flagicon|GER

1987- Chevrolet flagicon|US

1988- Maserati flagicon|ITA

1989- Aston Martin flagicon|UK

1990- Allard flagicon|UK

1991- Fangio flagicon|ARG

1992- Jaguar flagicon|UK

1993- Miller flagicon|USA

1994- Ferrari flagicon|ITA

1995- Lotus flagicon|UK

1996- BMW flagicon|GER

1997- Shelby flagicon|USA

1998- Porsche flagicon|GER

1999- Auto Union flagicon|GER

2000- Maserati flagicon|ITA

2001- Bentley flagicon|UK

2002- Corvette flagicon|USA

2003- Ford flagicon|USA, Bugatti (unofficial) flagicon|FRA

2004- Ferrari flagicon|ITA

2005- Chaparral flagicon|USA

2006- Cooper flagicon|UK

2007- Indy Roadsters- flagicon|USA

2008- Alfa Romeo, Ferrari (unofficial) flagicon|ITA

2009- Porsche flagicon|GER

Rules and format

Because of the high value of many of the cars used, the Historics have established the unusual rule of removing you from the race if you have contact with other cars. The driver will also be forbidden from participating in the following year's event, but will be allowed to return thereafter. Also, the regulation on what class each driver is in is very loose and drivers will occasionally be moved to a class that would normally not have such a car. This is often due to the car being slower or faster regardless of their displacement or year, but sometimes is due to a last minute entry in which they are required to start from the back.

Each race usually lasts 10 laps long and the scheduling is formatted in roughly chronological order.

Differences from sister events

The event is affiliated with the smaller Wine Country Classic held at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, the Coronado Classic Speed Festival held at Naval Base Coronado in Coronado, California, and the Rolex Lime Rock Vintage Festival held at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut. The Monterey Historics differ from Coronado in that the Coronado Festival is the only event to offer the 2 liter class for the Trans Am race regularly. It differs from the Wine Country Classic in that the Wine Country Classic is one day rather than two days like Monterey, and the Wine Country Classic has featured historic Grand National and Strictly Stock Series cars. It differs from the Rolex Vintage Festival in that the Vintage Festival is the only event outside California and the only one not offering a Trans Am race.


External links

* [ Monterey Historics]
* [ Monterey Historical Automobile Races] A personal visit over the years with photographs

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