California Gold

California Gold

From mid August to mid September, California’s Monterey Bay area, home to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, becomes a motorsports and car lover’s paradise. It starts with the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion from Aug. 12-15. Four weeks later, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship rolls in for the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship, Sept. 10-12. And the following weekend brings the NTT IndyCar Series to town for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, Sept. 17-19.

Over five weeks, it’s possible to see a fleet of legendary IMSA sports cars during the Reunion, including the Nissan 300 ZX GTO, AAR/Toyota Eagle Mk III GTP and Audi R8 LMP1, followed by the current generation of IMSA WeatherTech cars waging battle over the very same circuit.

In addition, the Reunion features an array of Indy cars from 1963-’78, such as a ’64 Watson Roadster and a ’78 Penske PC-10. And when contemporary IndyCar returns, it will be as the penultimate round of the 2021 campaign, which, as recent history has shown, will be pivotal in what’s sure to be a closely-contested title battle.

Expect more than 425 cars at the Reunion, ranging from 1908 to 2013. A high-profile presence will be Trans Am cars from between 1966 and ’72, especially from Ford as this year’s featured marque (BELOW).

IMSA returns to WeatherTech Raceway following a summer hiatus during which a number of drivers and teams were set to make the journey to France for a rescheduled 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship kicks off the final season stretch, so everyone will be keen to get off on the right foot in their quest for title glory.

Fans of sports cars will not only be treated to great on-track action featuring four WeatherTech Championship classes, but also the Michelin Pilot Challenge series, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich. Plus, Acura, Cadillac, Corvette, Hyundai, Lexus, Nissan, BMW, Mazda and Porsche owners can show their allegiance by parking in their respective car corrals.

There’s no better reason to spend the week enjoying the food and attractions that the Monterey Bay has to offer than by capping it off with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. The circuit has played host to many epic IndyCar races over the years, and the 2021 edition should be no exception. The stakes are high; for some, the chance at putting their name on the Astor Cup will be slipping from their grasp, while others will move closer to their ultimate objective.

Last time here, Colton Herta channeled dad Bryan’s Monterey magic to edge out Will Power for the win. What 2021 holds in store will be hard to predict. Through the first 11 rounds, Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson and Pato O’Ward have won twice, while Herta, Scott Dixon, Rinus VeeKay, Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden have notched one win apiece, so expect it to be close.

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