Pre-Historic Meet: The Reunion Before the Reunion at Laguna Seca
At the end of every summer, there is an epic event called the Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Despite the deceptively ambiguous name, this is the west coast’s most prestigious vintage racing event. However, this event doesn’t just happen; it takes over a week of setting up and in fact, they actually pre-run the event the week earlier.
At this event, colloquially called “Pre-Historics”, I would estimate (and these are purely guesses) that the car participation is perhaps 75% yet spectator participation is a scant 1% of what it is on the real Reunion weekend.
That means the best camp sites are up for grabs. Can you tell where we were by looking at the track in the background? This was at the top of Turn Six.
I was out there with my friends from the DWA (Driving While Awesome) crew, who always bring a variety of cool rides.
Yup, that’s a real Evo 6.5 TME.
Walking over to the edge of the campsite gave this superb view of the track, which I was seeing for the first time. There are so many super cool perspectives at Turn Six that I had never seen, despite all the races I’d seen there.
There’s even a spot where you can get super low next to the track…what a cool area! I felt like I’d just discovered a secret room in a house I’d lived in for years.
But the cool thing about camping, besides pitching your own tent…
…is having your own supplies and hanging out with your buddies! Hey, if you’re gonna drink all day, might as well start early, right?
It’s worth a trip to historics just to be there when they lift the sound restrictions. It’s so bizarre how you can legally drive a car much louder on the streets of Monterey than on the local race track. Anyway, at this early hour it was still practice sessions, so cars tended to fly by one by one and didn’t really disrupt conversations, although the Can-Am and Trans-Am cars tried their best.
Who’s that? A wild GT3 RS appeared.
It was Jono of course, back from his drive and shoot with Art, Dino, and the Huayra.
Gathering complete, we descended into the paddock area. This is when I remembered how crappy some of the popular spectator areas are for camera work. Even though sitting in the Turn Four grandstands is highly recommended on race day, it’s not a great place to take photos due to the huge double fences in place to catch flying race cars.
There are so many cars and it’s practically impossible to shoot them all. At each event I try to seek out things I haven’t seen before, which keeps it fresh and exciting.
Although I have to say, this 934.5 catches my eye every year.
“Alright, so we’re gonna cut the fenders to about *here* now, right?”
Something about seeing that angle of a 911 makes me weak. What a piece of art.
That bumper sticker reminds me of my childhood, hanging out with my dad and his buddies.
M1 or M8? I see a lot of similarities between the M1 front end and the E31 8-series front end.
Although, every BMW looks like a BMW from the front—which is not a bad thing.
Another car I always take photos of is the Luigi CSL.
It just looks so badass from every angle; it’s impossibly photogenic.
Remember when race cars had hand-painted pinstripes?
Don’t even attempt to open this door!
With the “100 years of BMW” thing going on and BMW being the featured marque, there were a lot of E9 race cars in attendance.
Walking around the pits, we saw the “Millionth Miata” display, which had a lot of signatures and no explanation as to what they were doing there.
I poked my camera out every now and then to see that the action was as frantic as ever. I love how some guys just love to go at it, even in a race that doesn’t matter on a weekend where no one is watching.
Wouldn’t it be a blast to go race with your buddies in vintage race cars? Seems like these guys are living a dream—I doubt anyone is forcing anyone to embark on this very expensive and time-consuming endeavor.
The corkscrew! The only problem with the popularity of the corkscrew is trying to shoot through the hoards of people who normally gather there.
But on this day, I had the entire spot to myself.
It’s important to pace yourself. Nothing wrong with bit of shut-eye in the middle of a day drinking session.
This is a really cool spot because it has the feature that all motorsports photographers look for: a place where cars stack up and you can get multiple cars in a frame.
Gotta thank the miracles of digital zoom for that one.
This area is normally packed with spectators. But most of the people in this shot were my group of friends!
It’s hard to get tired of any long-hood racing Porsche, especially as the values continue to rise.
M6 race car? And with a sweet JPS livery, no less.
I see a BMW badge, but I don’t know what this is. Sure looks cool though!
Shit happens. There will never be a major historic event without a tow truck called into action.
As you probably have figured out by now, I love Porsche prototype racers. This 908/03 is one of my all-time favorites.
Then we went back up to our camping spot, where the views were excellent.
Pretty cool backdrop, and it feels like you’re looking straight down at the track from here.
Although the plate frame says GTO, I’m pretty sure this is actually a ’64 Tempest. I had never seen it before, but it was featured on Speedhunters so it obviously has some appeal!
The first GTO came out in 1964 and was based on the Pontiac Le Mans, unlike the later ones which were their own models. I really have a soft spot for GM A-bodies, probably because my dad had a ’65 Chevelle and ’64 Cutlass when I was a kid.
Another car I always have to take a photo of, this 1970 Trans-Am Challenger.
After this, the racing action wrapped up, and we went into BBQ mode.
Drew brought all the kit. Here he is with his grill, getting the dogs ready.
This was our “neighbor”. Pretty cool adventure-mobile.
That SS looks great in the sun! I love that color.
At some point Drew moved the grille to higher ground. Here is is cheesin’ it up for Brian, who was shooting with film that weekend.
And then, out of nowhere, a Ferrari 250 GT SWB rolled up! Whoa.
Race tracks have such a serene beauty when they’re empty.
The sun was going down so I decided to take a lap and see if I could capture anything from our cars around the campsite.
I’m a huge fan of the GT3 RS. Most of the DWA guys think the smoother GT3 look is prettier, but I love the wide RS aggression.
I just noticed that there were a lot of red cars in attendance…what’s the deal? Anyway, this shot came out exactly how I wanted.
Double wide, double spoiler.
Art promised he would come and camp when he was done with Dino, but the guys weren’t convinced. I assured them that as a man of his word, Art would certainly be there, but with one caveat: I highly doubted we’d see him while the sun was still up.
Well, with the sun just barely above the coastal mountains, he arrived. And thus the sun sets on another tale from the track. Next up: McCall’s Motorworks Revival!