• Mazda Ends Long-Standing Partnership With The Laguna Seca Race Track

A 17-year relationship is about to come to an end

A lot of us often refer to it as Laguna Seca, but over the last 17 years, the Monterey, California-based racetrack was officially called "Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca." The name was part of a naming rights sponsorship the track had with Mazda. If you’re not used to calling it by its official name, don’t start now because the Japanese automaker has decided to end its naming rights agreement with the facility. The partnership expires on March 31, 2018, and unless Mazda has a change of heart, the track will go back to being officially known as Laguna Seca.

Mazda Ends Long-Standing Partnership With The Laguna Seca Race Track
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Mazda decided to end the naming rights agreement without specifying the reasons for doing so other than saying that it wasn’t an easy decision to make

News of the end of this long-standing partnership was brought to our attention by Autoweek. According to the report, Mazda decided to end the naming rights agreement without specifying the reasons for doing so other than saying that it wasn’t an easy decision to make. The automaker also said in a statement that it will “continue to participate in key event weekends” and will remain "as active in motorsports as we have always been."

Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) Interim CEO Michael Smith had nothing but praise for Mazda’s involvement in the race track. "It would be an understatement to say this has been a true partnership," he said. "SCRAMP and the County of Monterey, which owns the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, greatly appreciates the support of Mazda, which has long considered the iconic Laguna Seca road course to be its spiritual home."

Mazda Ends Long-Standing Partnership With The Laguna Seca Race Track
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Sponsorships and partnerships come and go, but the 2.2-mile road course has remained one of the most important race tracks in the U.S.

Despite losing Mazda as a naming rights sponsor, Smith did say that there are plenty of plans for the storied race track moving forward. That’s been the case ever since the track opened back in 1957. Sponsorships and partnerships come and go, but the 2.2-mile road course has remained one of the most important race tracks in the US. It’s home to the legendary Corkscrew, one of the track’s 11 turns that involves a diving left-right combination with a blind entrance and a 60-foot drop. It’s in the conversation with Spa’s famous Eau Rouge corner as the most challenging corner in the world.

With all that it has going for it, Laguna Seca is not going to close up shop just because Mazda is ending its naming rights agreement. On the contrary, Smith laid out SCRAMP’s future plans for the track, including "improvements will raise the facility to new levels on par with entertainment facilities nationwide."

References

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Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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