The Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races is one of the best events that takes place during the Concours weekend on the Monterey Peninsula. Sure the Tour D’Elegance allows the classics to putter around the country side and stop for lunch in Carmel and the Concorso Italiano allows you to look cool standing next to your Lamborghini with a drink that matches the paint scheme, but only the Historic Races allows these classic cars the ability to stretch their legs and do what they were made to do. On the third weekend in August, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca fills with the smells of burnt rubber and spent gasses while the surrounding hills are filled with a symphony from bygone eras of racing history. The sponsor, Rolex, ensures that fans come back time and time again for their Moment in Time dispay, which honors six different historic racing cars and highlights their most significant achievements.

Rolex Moments in Time at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races
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While last year’s star of the show was the infamous black and gold John Player’s Special, Mario Andretti’s Lotus built Formula 1 Championship winning race car that introduced ground effects and revolutionized racing forever. This year the museum quality exhibit will be displaying some of the greatest endurance racing sports cars from the 1960s and 1970s. Like the 1977 Le Mans winning 1976 Porsche 936/81, which also took a second place in 1978 and 12th in 1981 at the race twice around the clock at Le Sarthe. This very rare racecar is only noe of three Porsche 936 cars that were built and is the only one to compete in five of the famous 24 Hour races by notable Porsche racing driver Hurley Haywood amongst many others.

Celebrating the legendary Porsche 917’s 40th anniversary, the exhibit featured a 550+ HP example from 1970 wearing the fashionable Gulf livery that was made popular by the actor Steve McQueen. The Porsche is lined up alongside the Ferrari 512S that challenged it that season. This particular blue and orange 917K was driven by Mexican driver Pedro Rodriguez in the 1970 1000 km race at Spa, Belgium, and is the sister car to Brian Redman and Jo Siffert’s race winning Gulf. The Ferrari 512S was once piloted by Jacky Ickx during the opening round of the World Championship season at Daytona and then went on to race at Monza and in the Targa Florio where it finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Continued with press release after the jump.

Rolex Moments in Time at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races
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Perhaps most extraordinary will be the inclusion of the Gulf Ford GT 40 and the 908LH Porsche that famously exchanged leads in the 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans until the GT-40 prevailed only four seconds ahead of his competitor. To this day this remains to be the closest margin of victory ever at Le Mans. The Championship winning Porsche 908 was driven by Hans Herrman and Gerard Larrousse; while the Ford GT-40 was driven by Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver for the win at Le Mans.

Rolex Moments in Time at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races
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PRESS RELEASE:

Rolex Moments in Time at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races
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Every year at the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, attendees look forward to indulging in Rolex’s award-winning Rolex Moments in Time display, which honors six different historic racing cars and their most significant achievements. This year, for the 36th edition of the famous Rolex Monterey Historics, which run from Friday, August 14 through Sunday, August 16 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the museum-quality exhibit will be more dramatic than ever, theatrically staging amazing cars from the 1960s and 1970s within the context of the history they made.

Perhaps most extraordinary will be the inclusion of the Gulf Ford GT 40 and the 908LH Porsche that famously exchanged leads in the 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans until the GT-40 prevailed, with only four seconds to spare, marking the closest margin of victory ever at Le Mans. Porsche had made an all out effort to win that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans with its 917. However, both 917s retired with clutch problems, and it was the Championship leading Porsche 908 driven by Hans Herrman and Gerard Larrousse that battled with the Ford GT-40 driven by Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver for the win.

1970 looked to be "The Year of the Titans" as horsepower and extreme speed became the necessary ingredients to win races. Porsche and its incredible 917 were to be challenged by Ferrari and its new 512S, both cars putting out over 550 horsepower. While the two cars were very close in performance, the 917 dominated the Championship. The 512 was always a threat but never able to rise to the level of the Porsche in the hands of the John Wyer Gulf Team.

Harkening back to that time, the Gulf 917K that will be displayed in the Rolex Moments in Time display is the car driven by Pedro Rodriguez in the 1970 1000 km race at Spa, Belgium, where it led until it retired. The Gulf’s stablemate, driven by Brian Redman and Jo Siffert, won at the amazing average of 149 mph. The Ferrari 512S that also will be in the display is the car driven by Jacky Ickx at the opening round at Daytona and Nino Vaccarella at Monza and Targa Florio where it finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

"The cars were as purposeful as their designers and drivers were determined and courageous," said Steve Earle of General Racing, Ltd., which owns and organizes the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races. "The Rolex Moments in Time exhibit brings to life past eras of racing in a way that lets you feel the presence of these cars and their achievements."

Rounding out the display will be the 1972 McLaren M20 (on loan from the National Auto Museum, Reno, NV), Team McLaren’s last challenger in the Can-Am Series that the team dominated for seven years, and the 1976 Porsche 936/81, winner at Le Mans in 1977, second place in 1978 and 12th in 1981. This car was the first of the three Porsche 936 cars built and the only one to compete in five Le Mans races. It was driven variously by Jurgen Barth, Reinhold Joest, Hurley Haywood and Vern Schuppan, all of whom will be at the Rolex Monterey Historics.

Rolex Moments in Time at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races
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