Monterey Speed Week Sizzles
Back to Back IMSA and IndyCar races delight large crowds
The first-ever Monterey Speed Week, back-to-back nationally-televised motorsports events, brought serious attention to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and the Monterey Peninsula. From fans watching the races around the country and seeing the sunny weather at the world-famous track nestled in the sprawling hills, to visiting fans enjoying two consecutive weekends of racing action, to local students and organizations who benefitted through their participation, Monterey Speed Week delivered on all counts.
Monterey Speed Week for 2019 was comprised of two events: the IMSA Monterey Sports Car Championship and the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.
The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championships powered by McLaren, September 13-15, which featured exotic prototype racers and street-based GT cars honored the 50th anniversary of IMSA racing, and 45 years of IMSA racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The NTT IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, September 20-22, was not only the Championship Season Finale, but also celebrated the return of IndyCar to the Monterey Peninsula after a 15-year absence.
The IMSA event, with drivers hailing from all over the world, brought in 37,966 spectators to watch the different series compete over the weekend before they headed to their season finale at Road Atlanta. As general admission tickets allow full paddock access, spectators were treated to a grid walk before the start of the race, where fans were able to walk through pit lane and see the cars lined up, as well as drivers readying themselves to take on the 2 hour-40 minute endurance race. Fans enjoyed getting up close to their favorite drivers, including Indy 500 winners Helio Castroneves and Juan-Pablo Montoya as well as former Formula 1 drivers Jan Magnussen, Felipe Nasr, and Brandon Hartley, along with several winners of the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Days later, the IndyCar event drew a crowd of 67,464 fans for the chance to see Indy cars compete in the season-ending championship-deciding race. Four potential champions were still vying for the title after 16 races in a competitive season. Series observers, including drivers who accounted for 15 victories in the previous 22 IndyCar races here, were impressed with the crowds spread across the facility, as well as the 145 passes for position made by the 24-driver field during the 90-lap race.
The 2020 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca season will be announced shortly, stay tuned!