Races and Awards Decided at Conclusion of Memorable Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Celebrating Featured Marque Nissan
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to host next year’s event honoring IMSA on August 15-18, 2019
Championship winners John Morton, Peter Brock and Steve Millen, from left, helped celebrate the racing heritage of Nissan and Datsun at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
Beautiful weather, incredible racing vehicles from historic eras of motor racing and unforgettable memories defined the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Nissan’s incredible 50 years of motorsport success in the United States were celebrated with Nissan taking center stage as the featured marque of this Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, the first Asian automobile manufacturer to receive such a spotlight. With more than 200 IMSA sports car victories and 100-plus SCCA National Championships, many of the stars and the cars of Nissan’s past racing success were racing or on display at the highlight of Monterey Classic Car Week. More than 50 of the 551 total participants selected out of over 1,000 applicants based on authenticity and race provenance were attributed to the Nissan and Datsun brands.
Championship-winning Nissan and Datsun legends including John Morton, Peter Brock and Steve Millen attended this year’s event and took part in various activities including the Murray Smith-hosted Picnic in the Paddock panel on Saturday and being special guests on Adam Carolla’s “Car Cast” podcast recorded at the Nissan display. Comedian and actor Carolla also participated in the event. The Los Angeles-based comic owns the largest collection of Nissan and Datsun cars formerly raced by acting and racing legend Paul Newman.
Along with celebrating the past, Nissan had the season five ABB FIA Formula E car on display along with the recently revealed Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign. Other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) relished the opportunity to use the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion as a platform to showcase their latest creations. The world premiere of the 2019 Audi PB 18 e-tron took place amid a crowd of international journalists gathered at the Paddock Stage presented by Audi on Thursday, August 23. The following day, Ford unveiled the 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition on the same stage and displayed it next to the famous Le Mans-winning Gulf Oil car with the same livery.
Racing personalities make the event as well as the cars. Late American racing legend Dan Gurney was honored in a touching tribute on the Showcase Stage on Saturday with Sir Jackie Stewart and Chris Cord sharing stories with Smith and Donald Osborne closing with a poignant musical rendition. One of Gurney’s original Lola cars was on display throughout the event in the first two pit bays.
15 race groupings competed during the course of the events with cars ranging in age from a 1911 National Speedway Roadster in Group 1A to a 1995 Nissan 240SX in Group 7B.
Special Awards were presented by racer and commentator Mike Joy and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Sr. Vice President of Events Gill Campbell in a proper ceremony to conclude the event on Sunday afternoon. The prestigious Spirit of Monterey award was bestowed upon Herb Wetanson.
Broadcast coverage of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will be available on Premier on September 23 (noon ET/9 a.m. PT), Encore on September 23 (5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT) and Encore 2 on September 26 (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). The livestream will also re-air on Motor Trend OnDemand and the Motor Trend YouTube page.
Next year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) on August 15-18, 2019. Fans of the premier sports car racing organization in North America only have to wait two weeks to see the evolution of IMSA’s storied history with the sleek Prototypes and factory GT cars of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship returning to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix featuring AMERICA’S TIRE 250 on September 6-9.