The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca was once again the best-value celebration of the automobile in the Monterey area during Car Week this year.
Sure, there are some free shows and gatherings you can attend, and the math gets pretty weird when you try to divide by zero dollar, but I’ve always been a believer that the track is the best place you can spend $100 or so. It’s a small fraction of the cost of other concurrent local events.
Concours shows and lawn parties have their place throughout Car Week, and you can see some truly incredible machinery at Pebble Beach or The Quail, for example, where I wandered around the day prior. But if you’d rather trade the super high gloss of a fresh restoration — which will likely drive less miles over the rest of its life than the number of cubic centimeters it displaces — for the weathered patina and screaming combustion of a race car, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (RMMR) is the event to attend.
Between the Bring a Trailer Alumni Gathering, various booths, hundreds of competitor cars and this year’s Le Mans-themed display, there was plenty of interest to devour in the Laguna Seca paddock.
Following a management shake up a few years back, various incremental improvements have been made at Laguna Seca, including new lounge areas and places to hang out as your favorite race cars from bygone eras roar by. Perhaps more importantly, later this year the track itself will be repaved. I intend to drive on the old surface one last time at Halloween before the track closes for months.
While they’re nice, I personally never find myself using these seating areas and other spaces for more than a few minutes anyway. Besides the racing itself, half the fun of a vintage race event like RMMR is getting up close and personal with these historic racers and other cars that come out, which requires that you continuously move your legs.
The Alumni Gathering
August 2022 marked my third anniversary working for BaT, and like last year I stopped in to check out the Alumni Gathering. Nearly all of the cars here transacted on the site or were brought to the event out of staffers’ garages — sadly my M3 wasn’t in shape for a drive because of BMW things, but more on Project 345 another time — and as always there was an eclectic mix of vehicles scattered about.
It never fails to amaze me how much attention a stock Civic Si will garner, even parked up in the vicinity of Ferrari Testarossas, vintage Jaguars, a 959 and countless other Porsches. They really are great cars, and congrats to my friend and colleague Jasper for finding this tidy Electron Blue EM1. I can confirm it’s a blast to drive.
This was the second 959 I’d seen in as many days, and I think I’ve personally encountered close to 10% of the entire production run now. Only another 300 or so to go!
Some readers from before my time contributing to Speedhunters might recognize Project Yankee, albeit now looking slightly different under different ownership. This was my first time seeing the car in person.
Plenty of other cars and trucks of all types and from all marques and price points were on display at BaT’s shindig. From the office’s old S30, to a 2023 Nissan Z press car, to my friend Cam’s GX 470 that still wears dirt from when we went camping together last month, there was something for everyone.
While events like the Alumni Gathering really help to add value to the RMMR’s ticket price, we were all really here to watch some racing and peer longingly into the cockpits of old school race cars. Cars like this 968 Turbo RS, one of just four — or three, depending who you ask — examples built by Porsche for racing as sales of the production car declined.
I’ve included a handful of my favorite cars I encountered around the paddock down below; make sure you don’t miss that mustachioed character with his yellow speedster on a period flatbed, Jackie Ickx’s Le Mans-winning GT40, or the legendary rotary-powered Mazdas. The stories in this paddock are countless, and if you see anything you’d like us to try and feature, leave a comment down below.