The Central Coast is about to be filled with enthusiastic car-loving visitors who annually descend for the internationally-renowned Monterey Car Week. Visitors are returning by the tens of thousands, filling hotels, restaurants and local shops bringing an enormous positive affect on the economy. “It’s our Christmas” has been the common refrain by many businesses who welcome the return of Monterey Car Week.
The main hub of the 10 days is the 550-acre WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, which hosts eight days of activities and filled campgrounds, making it the most active venue on the Central Coast.
“We are running non-stop since we serve as the week’s kick-off with the free race car show in downtown Monterey and share the weekend’s closing with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance,” says John Narigi, president and general manager of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. “Although on Sunday, we’re doing it differently by hosting a low key, fun community day that is highlighted by the Corkscrew Hillclimb, which is an absolute first for the 65-year-old race track.”
Here is a daily rundown of the activities visitors can expect to enjoy:
Friday, Aug. 12
Monterey Race Car Show Kick-Off
The official kick-off to Monterey Car Week with more than 30 race cars leaving the track under CHP escort and driving through the streets into Downtown Monterey for a free race car show on Alvarado Street. This is the 13th year of bringing the show to the public.
Saturday, Aug. 13
Monterey Pre-Reunion. Nearly 300 historic cars race in 10 groups twice each day. It’s a relaxed affair where guests can enjoy the paddock ambiance and see the cars. Visitors can also get an exclusive sneak peek at a number of highly collectible cars from Bonhams’ Quail Auction before they go up for bid on Aug. 19.
Sunday, Aug. 14
Monterey Pre-Reunion continues with every car on track in two sessions.
Wednesday, Aug. 17
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion revs up Monterey with approximately 400 authentic and period-correct cars stretching across nearly every decade of motorsports racing in 14 groups. The massive Le Mans Legends Display, presented by Motul, opens to showcase 50 overall and first-in-class winners from the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, in what is the largest collection ever assembled in America.
Thursday, Aug. 18
The racing continues and guests will be treated with the arrival of a very special Bentley Le Mans tribute, as the Bentley rally arrives in Monterey with a parade into WeatherTech Raceway and on-track exhibition at 12:30. Guests may also enjoy treats from Café Le Mans and sip Moet Champagne as part of the Le Mans meets Monterey experience.
Friday, Aug. 19
The racing begins at 8:30 and concludes at 5:10. Amid the family zone that features a Ferris Wheel, go-karts and other attractions, the wide-ranging activities will appeal to all ages. But the day’s not over, as a special movie feature of the “real story” of Ford v. Ferrari with the documentary “Shelby American and the 24 Hour War” will be shown in the Hagerty Marketplace. The movie will be preceded by special guest appearances.
Saturday, Aug. 20
Where Legendary drivers reunite. The racing action is continuous, and the paddock is active with a lively Q&A with Grand Marshal Tom Kristensen, the most decorated driver of the 24 Hours of Le Mans winning it an astounding nine times, four-time winner Henri Pescarolo, Shelby Cobra Daytona designer Peter Brock, and other surprise guests who will also be available for an autograph session. Throughout the day there will be special activities like seeing, and hearing, the revolutionary Gordon Murray-designed T.50 supercar. The day ends in a festive way with the prize-giving ceremony in the paddock, and a showing of the now cult-film status Ford v Ferrari in the Hagerty Marketplace.
Sunday, Aug. 21
Corkscrew Hillclimb and Community Day. A new form of racing takes over Laguna Seca Recreation Area with the first-ever Hillclimb where entrants race reverse course up the iconic Corkscrew. From a high-torque 1925 Bugatti to a high-revving Formula One car, there will be plenty to experience. Even the rarely seen Doc Hudson Hornet from Pixar’s movie Cars, and voiced by Paul Newman, will take a run at the hill. Early risers who attend the Cars & Coffee will receive complimentary admission between 6 and 7:30 a.m. before the party in the paddock begins, which also includes a collection of ultra-rare Pagani hypercars displayed in the paddock and enjoyed at speed on track. General admission is $35 per person online or at the gate.
For tickets, parking and VIP hospitality packages in the Legends Club, with catering by local favorites Baja Cantina and Turn 12, or the exclusive Champions Club that is catered by Coastal Roots Hospitality and includes driver visits to the suite and private tours, call 831-242-8200 or visit WeatherTechRaceway.com.
(Courtesy of WeatherTech Raceway)