Excitement was running high at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion when more than 400 amazing classic race cars and huge crowds kicked off a tribute to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and its centennial celebration. The moment attendees arrived at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and passed the Le Mans sign, they were ready to enjoy a new experience.
Advance ticket sales outperformed 2021 by 92% and even exceeded the pre-pandemic numbers from 2019 by 11%.
Paying Tribute to Le Mans
Saturday saw The Picnic in the Paddock host an impressive lineup of legendary Le Mans figures who were happy to share their stories to a very large audience. Tom Kristensen, the nine-time Le Mans winner served as the Grand Marshal. He was joined by six-time winner Jacky Ickx, four-time winner Henri Pescarolo, overall winner Jochen Mass, and the designer of the Shelby Daytona Cobra, Peter Brock.
An incredible lineup of Le Mans history was at the Le Mans Legends Heritage Display, where there was seldom a quiet moment. The display consisted of 51 Le Mans-winning cars and select specials such as the 1929 and 1930 overall winning Bentley Speed Six. Also present were two Ferrari 250 GTOs, the 1967 winning Ford GT Mk IV and a 2005 Audi R8.
Climbing the Corkscrew
The remarkable weekend closed out with the Corkscrew Hillclimb in which 60 cars ran the track in reverse, finishing after cresting the hill at the famous Corkscrew complex. Fans lined the fence all the way up the hill to watch Matt Field, Formula Drift champion, take his 1,000 horsepower Corvette through the same corners that were host to Alex Zanardi’s incredible 1996 pass on Bryan Herta – a move so iconic that many know it simply as “The Pass.”
Gunnar Jeannette took top honors in a 1971 Porsche 908/3 with a time of 36.25 seconds. Chris Locke took his ex-Andretti 1976 Lotus 77 F1 car to second place at 36.78 seconds, while Patrick Long placed in third behind the wheel of his 1995 Porsche Gunther Werks Special with a time of 37.33 seconds.