Mazda Ends Long-Standing Partnership With The Laguna Seca Race Track
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.
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.
In the last episode of "Head 2 Head," Carlos Lago and Randy Pobst from Motor Trend had the chance to test drive three of the best sports car currently available on the market, including the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S that won magazine’s "Best Driver’s Car" competition last year, and two new additions: the new Corvette Stingray and the Ferrari F12berlinetta.
Initially, the three cars were taken to Laguna Seca and had their lap times tested. The best lap time came from the F12berlinetta, as expected, with a lap time of 1:38.04. After that, all the three cars were put to the quarter-mile test, much to the delight of our senses.
The most powerful car tested was the F12berlinetta, with it 6.3-liter, 731-horsepower, V-12 engine. As no surprise, the Italian beast delivers an amazing driving experience and the two guys seemed to have all the fun in the world testing it. Who wouldn’t after all. Oh, and the engine sounds beyond awesome!
The Stingray is also a pretty good car to drive, thanks to its 6.2-liter, V-8 engine hat kicks out 460 horsepower.
Pulling up the rear in the power department is the Carrera 4S, which puts down only 400 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque from its 3.8-liter, flat-six engine.
Keep in mind, the "Best Driver’s Car" is not always the one with the most power... Enjoy the video!
Most guys won’t admit this off the bat, but the truth is, men are pretty predictable when it comes to their interests. Ask them their top three interests and you can take it to the bank that two out of those three will be cars and girls.
So what happens when you put one and one together and bring Playboy Playmates to participate in an actual racing environment?
You won’t have to imagine that anymore after Playboy served as an official sponsor of the MX-5 Cup at the Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca. Not only do you get your fair share of high-octane MX-5s that have all been tuned to race, but you also get hotties like Pilar Lastra and Deanna Brooks acting as the faces of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy MX-5 Cup.
In addition to being two of the finest playmates in Hugh Heffner’s stable, both Lastra and Brooks have, at one point in their lives, traded their lingerie for racing suits.
Check out the video and listen to their personal racing stories around Laguna Seca!
The Raceway at Laguna Seca is one of the most technical tracks in the world, but it is also one of the fastest, thanks to its six straightaway sections, five of them coming directly before very tight turns. The worst of the bunch, and nearly every car racing buff knows this, are turns No. 8 and 8A, also known as the corkscrew.
The problem with the corkscrew is that it is right after a long straightaway and a soft turn, so drivers tend to come in just a little too fast. Well, it looks like even Ferraris can become victimized by the infamous corkscrew, as a rather pricy 458 Italia had a nice concrete-and-tire sandwich when the driver miscalculated the corkscrew and went flying off of the course at last weekend’s Ferrari Racing Days.
Typically when a driver miscalculates the corkscrew, he is going just a shade too fast and spins out. This driver was going so fast that the Italia didn’t even turn with the front wheels, as the laws of inertia took over and slammed it into the tire-lined wall. Fortunately for us, an amateur cameraman caught the carnage on tape for us to see.
Also fortunate was the driver, as he only came away with a few bumps and bruises, the worst of the bruises being the one on his ego after screwing up on the most legendary turn on this famed raceway.
Our hats go off to the cameraman for picking the perfect spot and getting this film on YouTube for all of us to chuckle at and cringe a little as we watch this machine get destroyed. In case you don’t feel like watching 25 seconds of Ferraris properly negotiating the corkscrew and want to get right to the carnage, just skip forward to the 25-second mark of the above video.
A few days ago, there was a pretty cool picture gallery released featuring the Ferrari 599XX Evo at the opening round to the European Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli at Monza. Today, Youtube user Shmee150 is offering up an equally cool video shot at the same event.
The stars of his video are a series of 599XX, 599XX Evo, and FXX models presented at the event. It shows behind the scenes shots and shots in and around the paddock before the cars headed out and blasted away. These are coupled with numerous clips of flybys, epic downshifts, the glowing brakes, and plenty of eye candy!
Their next stop was at California’s Laguna Seca circuit, a few miles from the attractions of Monterey, which hosted the third Ferrari Racing Days of the season on May 20, 2012.
As most already know, this past weekend, the Laguna Seca circuit was home to the Ferrari Racing Days, a great event that gives owners involved in the XX and F1 program the opportunity to show off what they’re working with. The Laguna Seca Raceway is one of the most challenging circuits in the world, so any achievement should be considered newsworthy, but Ferrari took the cake at their won event by setting a new, albeit unofficial, record.
Ferrari has just announced that during their Racing Days, Marc Gene set a new lap record at the wheel of the F2003 GA Formula 1 car. During a free practice session, Gene completed a time of 1.05.78, beating out the previous record set by Sebastien Bourdais on March 10, 2007 in a Panoz DP01 Champ Car (1.05.88) and Ricardo Zonta’s time of 1.06.30, set in a Toyota TF106 F1 car on August 20, 2006.
This is still an unofficial record for now, but we’re sure Ferrari will take care of that soon enough.
Patrick Dempsey will be dropping his doctor’s smock from Grey’s Anatomy and replacing it with a sleek pilot suit in the near future. The 46 year old actor will be making his American Le Mans Series (ALMS) debut this weekend at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca behind the wheel of an LMP2 prototype from Dempsey Racing.
Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster will be the lead drivers and will be joined by Jonny Cocker in the No. 27 Trina Solar/GNC Beverages/Motegi Racing/Dempsey Racing Judd-powered Lola B12-80 Coupe. This year, Dempsey plans to race for a part of the ALMS season, but next year he hopes for a full championship run.
"It is nothing short of an awe-inspiring experience in every respect,” said Dempsey, who will be racing a prototype sports car for the first time. "It feels familiar but so much more intense, the braking, the acceleration, cornering and power, it is all on a much more dynamic level than the GT cars I have driven.
"It’s an amazing machine and it is incredible to even have the opportunity to race in a car like this at this level, and what better track to start with than Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This race will really be a continuation of our learning and testing process only this time in front of a bigger crowd. We should be able to accomplish much more development and familiarization during an endurance race."
The race will begin at 1:30PM PDT on Saturday, May 12, 2012.
It wasn’t too long ago that we were reporting about the all new American super car, the Devon Motorworks GTX set the single lap record for a production car at the historic Laguna Seca circuit in Salinas, California with a time of 1:35.075. Justin Bell, the owner of Devon, might have offended a few people at Chrysler when he gave them a low ball offer to purchase the Viper brand, because earlier today the American automaker tackled the infamous Corkscrew and managed to shave over a second off of the GTX’s lap time with an all new 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR and Chrysler engineer Chris Winkler behind the wheel. The hard core track tuned Viper unofficially clocked in at 1:33:915, not only good enough to reset the record, but bring a bit more value to Chrysler’s halo car.
Press release and video after the jump.
Video game season is fast approaching and you can bet your bottom dollar that gamers of all shapes and sizes are lining up their pockets for a chance to get first dibs at the latest games to drop on shelves in the coming weeks.
One of the video game genres that is expected to receive a throng of new games is racing, thanks in large part to the eagerly-anticipated releases of Gran Turismo 5 for the Playstation 3 and Forza 3 for the Xbox 360. But if there’s one game that has gone under the radar because of, well, the overwhelming hype surrounding the GT5 and Forza 3, it’s Need for Speed SHIFT.
Arguably the most successful – and longest running – racing game franchise, Need for Speed gave us a taste of how real video game auto racing can get with its latest offering, Need for Speed SHIFT. Developed by one of the foremost authorities in video gaming, Electronic Arts, Need for Speed SHIFT produces an unparalleled glimpse of three of America’s most hallowed racing circuits namely, Laguna Seca, Road America, and Willow Springs. The game goes into full detail of each track and gives gamers an unprecedented – and realistic – racing experience.
Continued after the jump with additional videos.
When we showed you the $8 million 1958 Ferrari 250 TR hit the tire wall at Laguna Seca over the weekend, all our evidences were constricted to photographs. But now, thanks to videos captured by those who were at the race, we now have video evidence of exactly what happened to David Love’s obscenely expensive ride.
We’ve seen a lot of cars that crash in races over the years but not to the extent of this one. And it’s not because of the damage either, which if you look at the photos we showed, isn’t all that much – a few detailing tweaks here and there and banging sheet metals should do the trick. This car crash is significant because, well, the car that got introduced into the tire wall is one of the most expensive cars in the history of the world. One even got sold a few months ago for a cool $12 million!
While the video does give chills down our spines, we’re still compelled to show this to you guys. After all, how often do you see a car that can be sold for about four Bugatti Veyrons skirt the gravel and crash into a tire wall?
The Laguna Seca hosted a number of impressive race cars over the weekend, some of them thrilling fans with their sheer speed, while others making them cringe for crashing into tire barriers. Lost in the hoopla of the vintages and exotics that drove around Seca was a car that could very well be the future of sports cars: the Fisker Karma hybrid.
The Karma – we love the name, by the way – made its driving debut at the Seca last weekend as part of the Monterey Historic Automobile Races and by any and all indication, impressed the gathered crowd by attaining speeds in excess of 100 mph without using a drop of gasoline. The hybrid sports car is unique for its twin-electric motors – which are capable of producing as much as 403 hp and 959lb/ft of torque – are connected to a 200kW lithiuim-ion battery pack that allows the car to travel by as much as 8o kmh.
The car’s performance at the Seca re-affirmed the growing belief that ‘green’ sports cars are more than just a pipe dream now. Henrik Fisker, the CEO of the company was on-hand for the demonstration and made no bones about the Karma’s impressive showing. “This demonstration represents a significant milestone for Fisker Automotive and PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) technology,” he said.
Our friends at Autoblog were fortunate – or unfortunate, depending on how you can stomach a multi-million dollar car getting gslammed in a tire wall– to capture a staggeringly expensive Ferrari 250 TR run a few laps at the Laguna Seca Speedway.
For those who don’t have any idea just how expensive a Ferrari 250 TR really is, consider that just a few months ago, one such model was sold at an auction for over $12 million dollars, making it the most expensive car in history. So you’d expect that the owner of this particular 250 TR would be extra careful running it around Laguna Seca’s notorious track, maybe take it out for a leisurely cruise in front of gawking spectators.
Apparently, the owner had other ideas in mind. Whether or not he was just showing off his car or he completely lost his mind, the tore up the track and ended up ramming his $8 million dollar ride into a tire wall. We’re beyond speechless.
Continued after the jump.