Beautiful weather, incredible racing vehicles from historic eras of motor racing and unforgettable memories defined the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Nissan’s incredible 50 years of motorsport success in the United States were celebrated with Nissan taking center stage as the featured marque of this Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, the first Asian automobile manufacturer to receive such a spotlight. With more than 200 IMSA sports car victories and 100-plus SCCA National Championships, many of the stars and the cars of Nissan’s past racing success were racing or on display at the highlight of Monterey Classic Car Week. More than 50 of the 551 total participants selected out of over 1,000 applicants based on authenticity and race provenance were attributed to the Nissan and Datsun brands.
Championship-winning Nissan and Datsun legends including John Morton, Peter Brock and Steve Millen attended this year’s event and took part in various activities including the Murray Smith-hosted Picnic in the Paddock panel on Saturday and being special guests on Adam Carolla’s “Car Cast” podcast recorded at the Nissan display. Comedian and actor Carolla also participated in the event. The Los Angeles-based comic owns the largest collection of Nissan and Datsun cars formerly raced by acting and racing legend Paul Newman.
Along with celebrating the past, Nissan had the season five ABB FIA Formula E car on display along with the recently revealed Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign. Other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) relished the opportunity to use the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion as a platform to showcase their latest creations. The world premiere of the 2019 Audi PB 18 e-tron took place amid a crowd of international journalists gathered at the Paddock Stage presented by Audi on Thursday, August 23. The following day, Ford unveiled the 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition on the same stage and displayed it next to the famous Le Mans-winning Gulf Oil car with the same livery.
Racing personalities make the event as well as the cars. Late American racing legend Dan Gurney was honored in a touching tribute on the Showcase Stage on Saturday with Sir Jackie Stewart and Chris Cord sharing stories with Smith and Donald Osborne closing with a poignant musical rendition. One of Gurney’s original Lola cars was on display throughout the event in the first two pit bays.
15 race groupings competed during the course of the events with cars ranging in age from a 1911 National Speedway Roadster in Group 1A to a 1995 Nissan 240SX in Group 7B. Results of the Rolex Race can be found HERE for Saturday and HERE for Sunday.
Winner: Pre-War Alley
Stand 21– Awarded to the Most Period Authentic look
Winner: Chris MacAllister, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1971 McLaren M8F, and 1976 Ferrari 312
Ken Miles Trophy – Presented for the representation of a vintage car under 1500cc in Cy Yedor’s memory
Winner: Randy Hill, 1956 Lotus Eleven
Gary Byrd Foundation – Presented to a driver in the Pre-War groupWinner: Michelle Voboril Hido, 1928 Fiat 520 Torpedo
Henry Ford Trophy – Presented to the most significant Ford-powered entryWinner: Joseph Diloreto, Ford-powered 1952 McLaren M6B, Group 5B
The John Fitch Corvette Excellence Award – Presenter Mike Joy Presented to a significant Corvette and driven in an exemplary manner.Winner: Jim Gallagher, 1967 Chevrolet Corvette, Group 6B
The Phil Remington Award – Named after one of the all-time great mechanics and fabricators, Phil Remington and graciously sponsored by Ford Motor Company and All American Racers. Presented to the mechanic who demonstrates exceptional skill.Winner: Dave Klem, the Revs Institute
Bonhams Cup – The Bonhams Cups are presented to participants in the featured morning races that best exemplifies the spirit of the event.
1976 Datsun 240Z
1966 Shelby Mustang
1991 Chevrolet Duracell Camaro
1974 Lola T-332
The Rolex Award for Excellence – Presented for Overall Excellence in each race category, as determined by an independent panel of judges.
Rolex Race 1A
1935 Alta Grand Prix
Rolex Race 2A
1958 Austin Healey Sprite
Rolex Race 3A
1961 Ferrari TR61 Spyder
Rolex Race 4A
1979 Ensign MN 179
Rolex Race 5A
1976 Chevrolet Greenwood Corvette
Rolex Race 6A
1967 Ford Mustang
Rolex Race 7A
1962 Lotus 23
Rolex Race 8A
1973 Chevron B24
Rolex Race 1B
1959 Chevrolet Corvette
Rolex Race 2B
1960 Porsche Devin
Rolex Race 3B
1967 Datsun 311
Rolex Race 4B
Tim De Silva
1962 Gemini Mk IV
Rolex Race 5B
Willis Woerheide 1965 Lola T-70 Mk II
Rolex Race 6B
1966 Shelby GT350
Rolex Race 7B
1991 Nissan 300ZX
The Spirit of Monterey – This is the award that is presented to the driver or entrant who excels in the Spirit of the Weekend.
Winner: Mr. Herb Wetanson
Broadcast coverage of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will be available on Premier on September 23 (noon ET/9 a.m. PT), Encore on September 23 (5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT) and Encore 2 on September 26 (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Next year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) on August 15-18, 2019. Fans of the premier sports car racing organization in North America only have to wait two weeks to see the evolution of IMSA’s storied history with the sleek Prototypes and factory GT cars of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship returning to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix featuring AMERICA’S TIRE 250 on September 6-9. Tickets, camping, VIP hospitality and car corral passes are available HERE.