michael rockich
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A Day Well Spent at Concorso Italiano 2017

A Day Well Spent at Concorso Italiano 2017

We’re talking pure Italian heritage here - nothing more, nothing less

As I approached the entrance gate at the 2017 Concorso Italiano, I thought how fortunate I was to find this annual event so near to home. I took a moment to reflect on its importance to me, and probably to mostly other attendees too. What does Concorso bring each and every year? Plenty! We all know it brings droves of Italian Automobiles. But Concorso brings automotive glamor too. Cars are immaculately prepared by their owners, and in arrive in show condition. There are so many of them, usually numbering around a thousand. There are some extremely rare cars in the mix. Concorso brings us the individual story of these rare cars, often told by the owners themselves as the cars traverse and pause on the automotive stage during the day, while the owners relate their background.

Let’s see how the day went...

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Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2017

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2017

Always a great time

The annual site of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2017. It is good to remember origins. They lend perspective and light the way for the future.

In 1957 the need for a race track was apparent with more safety features than the races through the forest at Pebble Beach then offered. In 1957 SCRAMP (Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula), along with funds and energy from local businessmen, began a project for a new race track. The site selected was in a natural bowl, which permitted simultaneous views of he majority of the race track. Negotiations took place with the US Army for use of the land, and a lease was signed. The track was completed in only 60 days, and the first race drew 100 entries viewed by 35,000 spectators. Now in 2017, 60 years later, SCRAMP continues to manage the circuit.

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Ferrari Challenge 2017, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Ferrari Challenge 2017, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

The first round of the 2017 Ferrari Challenge was just concluded at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in a three-day outing, May 12-14. Affable weather accompanied the event, and although I diligently applied my sunscreen in the morning, I never felt excess heat. Just the right amount of cool air movement kept the sunny skies from overheating.

A new model is taking part in the 2017 Ferrari Challenge racing series. It comes in the form of the 488 Challenge, introduced last December as the sixth Ferrari model to take part in this one model racing set which Ferrari initiated in 1992. The Challenge was initiated by Ferrari for their clients who had a special zeal for racing. The 488 Challenge represents two firsts in the Ferrari Challenge. It is the first turbocharged Ferrari as well as the most powerful to compete in this racing series.

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Concorso Italiano 2016

Concorso Italiano 2016

It is not often when both quality and quantity are found together. However, at Concorso Italiano they are always found together! Quantity manifests itself in a variety of ways at Concorso. Every year there are a very large number of classy, show prepared Italian automobiles on display, often exceeding 1,000 cars. The annual Centerpiece Display provides special recognition to a particular marque or model. Marques and models with Silver or golden anniversaries of are arrayed with special recognition. There is also abundance in the number of ancillary attractions at Concorso Italiano including on-stage appearances of cars with their owners, industry headliners, the on-stage fashion show, even a few boats and motorcycles, and the Fashion Village adding lifestyle attractions as well as art, jewelry, a beauty studio, items for children, and fine artists actually at work.

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Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2016

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2016

The annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion rolled into action again at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on August 18-21. Over 70,000 fans came to take in the racing and admire exhibits during the four-day event. Greater than 500 race cars from virtually every automotive epoch came to participate in 15 race groups on the 2.2 mile road course during the annual Monterey Classic Car Week. Every race car participating was approved for its authenticity and mechanically correctness for its original era.

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2015 Porsche Rennsport Reunion V - Review

2015 Porsche Rennsport Reunion V - Review

Good things are worth waiting for, and that adage fits Porsche’s Rennsport Reunion V perfectly. One of the commentators called the event epic, and I could not disagree with that. Organization was indigenous in this celebration. Attention to detail exhibited itself throughout. Displays, interviews, sub-events, and of course races permeated the Reunion V and permitted fans to experience Porsche across the decades to the present day.

Attractions appeared everywhere. There were three days of nearly nonstop on-track practice, qualification, and competition for 320 racing Porsches. Over 100 cars showed for the Le Mans-style Concours on Pit Lane. Seventy five cars of historic significance were on display in the Porsche Heritage Display tent. Add in frequent on stage action, multiple autograph sessions, more than 1,400 Porsches in the Porsche Club of America car corrals, other notable Porsches displayed on the grounds, and that makes a recipe for a fabulous event of all things Porsche!

Many of the Porsches on display at Rennsport V were quite rare. Some were brought in from the Porsche museum in Germany, while others came from notable Porsche collectors including the Revs Institute, Brumos Racing, Gunnar Racing, the Ingram Collection, and Canepa Design.

To appreciate the scale and effort of the Porsche’s Rennsport Reunion V it is worth noting its layout at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The focal point was the large, elevated stage, complete with a super size screen which projected on stage interviews for those at a distance. Three sides of the stage were surrounded by long autograph tables at times filled by the many notable race car drivers attending. The spacious Porsche store was positioned left of the stage, with tables and chairs in front. Closing the stage area on a raised platform were several noteworthy Porsches, including the victorious LMP1-H Porsche 919 Hybrid (2014-2015) which ran to the overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in June.

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Porsche Rennsport Reunion V - Preview

Porsche Rennsport Reunion V - Preview

This month Porsche fans will congregate in Monterey, California. They will come for an occasion that only repeats every several years. That occasion is the Porsche Rennsport Reunion V, and the date is September 25-27.

The first Porsche Rennsport Reunion was held in 2001 at Lime Rock, Connecticut. In 2004 the event moved to the Daytona Motor Speedway, where it repeated in 2007. The last Porsche Rennsport Reunion took place in 2011 at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where it will be again in a few weeks.

In German, “Rennsport” means motor sports. That is what this event is all about, specifically Porsche motorsports. Hosted by Porsche Cars North America, the Rennsport is billed as the world’s largest gathering of Porsche racing cars, noteworthy drivers, and Porsche collector cars. Porsche’s long history of producing finely engineered automobiles and winning race cars will be on display at the Rennsport V.

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Concorso Italiano 2015 Review: The 30th Anniversary

Concorso Italiano 2015 Review: The 30th Anniversary

Concorso Italiano’s celebrated their 30th anniversary on August 15th. That is a long time pulling Italy’s finest exotic vehicles together for all to admire. The event was well attended by owners displaying their cars and fans coming to see them.

Three anniversaries were celebrated in all.This year of 2015 is also the 60th anniversary of Ferrari in the United States. And for Lamborghinithis year marks the 25th anniversary for their renowned Diablo.

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2015 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Review

2015 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Review

Over August 13-16, a deluge of 550 period-correct cars rolled onto the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca to participate in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Entering this time machine permits viewing any automotive era of your choice. Old relics as well as cars from modern times engaged in wheel to wheel competition during this four day festive competition. Many cars applied but not all were invited. The invitees raced on Mazda Raceway’s 11 turn, 2.2 mile road course, with the dramatic Cork Screw — a five story, steep, twisting descent.

The 1967 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang was the featured marque for 2015 at the Reunion, in celebration of its 50th anniversary. The centerpiece display was Ford Motor Company’s large heritage exhibit, featuring the most recognized Shelby GT350s. Henry Ford III got on track and paced a group of the Shelby GT350s and took the green flag from Aaron Shelby, Carroll Shelby’s grandson. Ford will further celebrate by making a limited production run of only 137 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustangs in 2015.

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2015 Rolex Motorsports Reunion Preview

2015 Rolex Motorsports Reunion Preview

This August 13-16, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will return to Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. This event is billed as the largest of the events during Monterey Automobile Week. Being there is a bit like entering a time machine and walking out into any automotive era of your choice. The cars that were invited to participate will consist of some really old relics, cars from modern times and everything in between. But they all will be doing the same thing; they’ll be on the track racing, continuing a tradition that began here in 1974.

Many cars make application to participate but not all receive invitations. About 550 are approved, based upon authenticity, race provenance and period correctness. The fortunate ones will compete on Mazda Raceway’s 2.2 mile road course. The course includes 11 turns, 300 feet in elevation change and the dramatic Corkscrew, a five-story, twisting steep descent.

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2015 Concorso Italiano Preview

2015 Concorso Italiano Preview

I will always remember the first time I attended the Concorso Italiano. To me the sight was a bit like rolling ocean waves offshore. But instead of waves of water, these were waves of colorful, exotic Italian automobiles covering the undulating green golf fairways.

“What an opportunity,” I thought. To explore at close range most of, and maybe all of the exotic cars that I knew of, and probably some I did not know of. Just like show-car dreamland. But this was not a dream. It was right in front me.

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