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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Car groups that raced:
1963-1966 GT over 2500cc
1973-1981 FIA, IMSA, GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU
1981-1991 FIA Manufacturers Championship; IMSA GTO/GTP
1955-1961 Sports Racing over 2000cc
1955-1961 Sports Racing under 2000cc
FIA Manufacturers Championship
1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT
1961-1966 GT under 2500cc
1968-1976 Formula 5000
1967-1984 Formula One
1965-1970 Shelby Mustang
A tour of the paddocks, where crews prepare the race cars was well worth it. Cars from old to modern could be found there among the 550 vehicles invited to race.
A yellow Porsche racer
and a 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari, beautiful in blue
were just two of many exciting cars there.
Not the least of the attractions in the paddocks was Automotive Alley, located beneath the reserved seating. A number of top auto producers brought their latest vehicles, including supercars, and also provided lavish exhibits.
Ford brought its new GT supercar, placing it near the legendary 1964-1969 Ford GT 40
It is the second iteration of a model commemorating the GT 40 that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in the 1960s. The GT 40 placed 1, 2, 3 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. The legendary car won again at Le Mans in 1967, 1968 and 1969.
The original GT40 sat near the commemorative model. Styling on the new 2017 Ford GT is much more fluid than its predecessor, even flamboyant, especially from the rear, where a flying buttress element is incorporated. Ford explained that the styling is functional, to decrease drag and increase downforce.
The deployable rear spoiler is an example of the active aerodynamic components employed on the GT. The spoiler reacts to speed and driver inputs, adjusting pitch angle and height for conditions.
The two door coupe employs a twin-turbo, mid-mounted EcoBoost V-6 engine generating over 600 horsepower. Power reaches the rear wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch transaxle. Lightweight materials, including aluminum and carbon fiber, are used generously in the GT for maximum performance and efficiency.
In 2016, the 50th anniversary of Ford’s 1966 victory at Le Mans, Ford will return there with the new 2016 Ford GT Le Mans to compete in the LM GTE Pro class.
The 2016 Acura NSX supercar was on display in the Alley, looking racy in black paint.
The body and space-frame construction are composed of multiple materials, including carbon fiber and aluminum. High-tech materials were also used elsewhere in the car, including in the ceramic brake rotors.
A mid-mounted, twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V-6 engine with a dry sump powers the NSX. But power just begins there. This powertrain is hybrid, and includes three electric motors. Total output exceeds 550 horsepower and is channeled to the all four wheels by a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The Michelin display included a number of tires with specifications and intended usage indicated beside them. The Michelin Man was there, of course, in an action pose behind a 2015 Koenigsegg One:1.
The Koenigsegg (quantity seven built) was wearing Michelin tires with profiles so low that they were hardly discernable.
As much as I like the car, judging by the throngs surrounding the Koenigsegg it may have been better left in Sweden. I waited nearly 10 minutes to get a clear photo, and just when I fired my battery died. I thanked my backup battery, loaded it, and got a few quick shots. I reviewed the tire displays, questioning the knowledgeable attendants about the different models and which might be best for my car and usage.
The Koenigsegg is obviously not the only reason the Michelin exhibit was well attended. After all, Michelin once was a Formula One tire supplier. And the 248 mph Koenigsegg was sporting those Michelins for a reason.
Jaguar brought a noteworthy exhibit. The exhibit was a car with half the body skins on and half off, exposing the inner workings and construction of the vehicle. The result was a striking and insightful view.
Shelby American will produce a limited run of 50 new 2015 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupes to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their win of the FIA Sports Car Championship on July 4, 1965. Two types of bodies will be offered for the new Daytona, fiberglass and aluminum. They will be built to the original specifications of one of the slightly varying six Daytona Coupes originally produced, while employing some modern features and improvements. The cars will be built to order from certain options, and the customer will choose the engine. For those looking for historically accurate power, a 289 V-8 aluminum block with a serial number matching the one on the chassis is available.
Shelby also had on display several of its modified Mustangs. The Shelby Mustang program is one where an owner supplies their Mustang for modification. Shelby will then modify the car, increasing its performance to Shelby standards.
In conclusion and as planned, there was a great deal of Ford hardware on display at the 2015 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Also plenty of other hardware made a showing from other makes in the cars that raced, and from some other manufacturers. It was another fine Reunion!
For more on the 2015 Monterey Automobile Week by TopSpeed.com see the excellent and extensive coverage by Jonathan Lopez. He describes several events including the Pebble Beach automobile auctions that occur during the week.
Find it here: