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WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

  (Redirected from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca)

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (previously known as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Laguna Seca Raceway) is a paved road racing track in central California used for both auto racing and motorcycle racing, built in 1957 near both Salinas and Monterey, California, United States.

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Laguna Seca
Laguna Seca.svg
Location Monterey County, near Monterey, California, United States
Time zone UTC-8 (UTC-7 DST)
Coordinates 36°35′03″N 121°45′13″W / 36.58417°N 121.75361°W / 36.58417; -121.75361Coordinates: 36°35′03″N 121°45′13″W / 36.58417°N 121.75361°W / 36.58417; -121.75361
FIA Grade 2
Owner Monterey County
Operator Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula
Opened 1957
Construction cost $1.5 million USD
Major events

Current:
FIM World Superbike Championship
(1995–2004, 2013-Present)

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Monterey Grand Prix
(2014–present)

Pirelli World Challenge / Intercontinental GT Challenge
California 8 Hours

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

Former:
FIM MotoGP
United States motorcycle Grand Prix
(1988–1991, 1993–1994, 2005–2013)

CART / Indy Car
Monterey Grand Prix
(1983-2004)
Surface Paved
Length 2.238 mi (3.602 km)
Turns 11
Race lap record 1:05.786 (Marc Gené, Scuderia Ferrari, Ferrari F2003-GA, 2012, Formula 1)

The racetrack is 2.238 miles (3.602 km) long, with a 180 feet (55 m) elevation change.[1][2] Its eleven turns are highlighted by the circuit's signature turn, the downhill-plunging "Corkscrew" at Turns 8 and 8A. A variety of racing, exhibition, and entertainment events are held at the raceway, ranging from superkarts to sports car racing to music festivals.

The name Laguna Seca is Spanish for "dry lagoon": the area where the track now lies was once a lake, and the course was built around the dry lake bed. After the course was reconfigured, two artificial ponds were added.

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
Laguna Seca Raceway from between Turns 1 and 2
 
Mario Andretti at Laguna Seca, 1991
 
The original layout

The earliest development of the local area occurred in 1867 with the founding of the nearby Laguna Seca Ranch, which has operated continuously for 140 years with grazing and equestrian uses.[3]

The track was built in 1957 at a cost of $1.5 million raised from local businesses and individuals on part of the US Army's Fort Ord (a maneuver area and field artillery target range) after the nearby Pebble Beach Road Races were abandoned for being too dangerous. Since 1974, the property was deeded over to the Monterey County Parks Department and continues to be part of the park system.

The first race, held on November 9, 1957, was won by Pete Lovely driving a Ferrari. In the intervening years, the track has hosted USRRC, Can-Am, Trans-Am, Formula 5000, IMSA GT, CART, American Le Mans Series, Grand American, Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Speed World Challenge, AMA (American Motorcyclist Association), WSBK Superbike World Championship and MotoGP motorcycle races (but 125/Moto3 and 250/Moto2 are not admitted).

The day-to-day operations of the track, along with the management and promotion of major racing events, are handled by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), which is a non-profit organization. With oversight by a board of local residents, SCRAMP operates with a professional staff on-site with the goal of generating income through the operations of the racetrack which is then redistributed to local charities.

The track itself has undergone significant changes over the past two decades to meet evolving safety homologation requirements of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and other sanctioning bodies. Changes include the addition of the entire infield area in 1988 (present day turns 3, 4, and 5, eliminating the straight that started at present day turn 2 and ended at present day turn 5) extending the track from its original 1.9-mile (3.1 km) length to meet the minimum-track-length criteria of the FIM for MotoGP events, plus the more recent relocation of pedestrian bridges and embankments, and the expansion of gravel pits outside turns 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 for additional runoff. The original media center was demolished in 2006 to make way for additional run-off room in Turn 1. Also in 2006, the 'hump' at the top of the Rahal Straight was flattened to accommodate the MotoGP riders, though some claim that this increases the wind effects that can perturb a race motorcycle. Remnants of the old configuration can still be seen from the parking lot between turns two and five. They are found underneath a road leading to the parking area for entrant trailers and RVs.

 
The "Corkscrew" at Turn 8, with gradient up to 16%
 
A view of the "Corkscrew" from the bottom

The famous Turn 8 and 8A combination, popularly referred to as the Corkscrew, is considered one of the motorsport world's most challenging turns,[citation needed] due to the 18-metre drop in elevation as well as its blind crest and apex on the uphill approach.[4]

Turn 2, with its difficult and technical double-apex, has been renamed the Andretti Hairpin, in honor of former Formula 1 World Champion Mario Andretti, while Turn 9 has been renamed 'Rainey Curve' in honor of 500cc Grand Prix motorcycle racing World Champion Wayne Rainey, a resident of nearby Salinas, California. Also the straight that runs between Turn 6 and Turn 7 has been renamed the 'Rahal Straight' after four-time consecutive Champ Car race winner Bobby Rahal.

A Champ Car World Series weekend had been a prominent event from 1983 through 2004, when its spot on the calendar was shifted to the San Jose Grand Prix. On the last lap of the 1996 CART race, Alex Zanardi passed Bryan Herta on the inside of the Corkscrew to take the victory. Uruguayan driver Gonzalo Rodríguez died during the practice session of the 1999 CART race after crashing at the same corner. Because of the incident, runoff was installed at the end of the Rahal Straight.

Champ Car announced on September 11, 2007 that they would be returning the Northern California race to Laguna Seca from San Jose over the May 16–18 weekend in 2008.[5] But the subsequent merger of Champ Car and IndyCar resulted in the race being canceled.

The track is also the site of the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, formerly known as the Monterey Historic Automobile Races. The event features an extraordinarily eclectic mixture of race cars on the course. Each year features a different marque. Considered one of the two greatest historic racing events (along with the Goodwood Festival in England), attendance often rivals, or surpasses the professional racing events listed above.

There are many permanent dry and hook-up camping facilities located at the raceway, which are available year-round as part of the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, the county park in which the racetrack is set.

The track's primary corporate sponsor is WeatherTech which began April 2018. As part of the sponsorship, the track is now officially referred to as WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Previously, the sponsorship belonged to Mazda for 17 years with the track being known as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

A study by California State University, Monterey Bay and commissioned by SCRAMP states that the raceway generates $62.1 million to the Monterey County economy and $5.2 million in state and local taxes.[6]

RacingEdit

Major events each year include the US round of the World Superbike Championship (held in conjunction with a round of the MotoAmerica championship), Monterey Sports Car Championships (WeatherTech SportsCar Championship), and the Monterey Historics for classic racecars.

Formula OneEdit

In 1989, the year following the last Formula One race in Detroit, choices for a new location for the United States Grand Prix came down to Laguna Seca and Phoenix. The aforementioned 1988 improvements to the track were made in part to lure the F1 race. In the final decision, Laguna Seca was thought to be too remote and too small for an F1 crowd, and so Phoenix was granted the Grand Prix.

Lap recordsEdit

On August 20, 2006, Toyota F1 test driver Ricardo Zonta set an unofficial lap record of 1:06.309.[7] The previous record time was 1:07.722, set by Hélio Castroneves in a Penske Champ Car during qualifying for the 2000 CART Honda Grand Prix of Monterey. The unofficial record was re-taken by a Champ Car on March 10, 2007 by Sébastien Bourdais, who lapped in 1'05.880 during Champ Car Spring Training. The unofficial record was again re-taken by a Formula One car on May 19, 2012 by Marc Gené, who lapped in 1'05.786 in a Ferrari F2003-GA during the 2012 Ferrari Racing Days.[8]

Officially, Castroneves is still the recordholder as the times of Zonta, Bourdais and Gené were set during exhibition and testing sessions, and official records can only be set in race conditions (either in practice, qualifying, or during a race).

At the 2008 Monterey Sports Car Championships, David Brabham set a pole position time of 1:10.103 in a Le Mans Prototype.[9]

The fastest lap at the 2006 A1GP race was 1:17.951, set by Nicolas Lapierre.

At the 2012 United States motorcycle Grand Prix, Jorge Lorenzo set a pole time of 1:20.554 on the Yamaha. During the 2014 Superbike World Championship season, Tom Sykes set a time of 1:21.811 on the Kawasaki.[10]

The Porsche 918 Spyder held the previous production car lap record with 1:29.89.[11]

The 2016 Dodge Viper ACR holds the current production car lap record with 1:28.65.

During qualifying for the 2011 FIM e-Power International Championship/TTXGP World Series race, Steve Rapp rode the Mission Motors Mission R to the electric vehicle record with 1:31.376. [12]

Other useEdit

AutomotiveEdit

When not being used by the major events the track can be rented. Approximately twice a year the Sports Car Club of America holds regional club races for the San Francisco Region. Various clubs rent the track throughout the year for informal high performance driving schools that allow the public to drive their own cars at speed. The raceway has also played host to prototype testing of the Nissan GT-R in 2007.[13]

The track is featured in video games such as the Gran Turismo series (including the bike version Tourist Trophy), Forza Motorsport, and the MotoGP series. In a bid to compare real life versus video games, Jeremy Clarkson of the British automotive show Top Gear attempted to beat his Gran Turismo time of 1:41.148 in a Honda NSX by racing the real track in the same car in 2005. During the trials, Clarkson determined that the game omitted a few details of the track, and the game's physics allowed him to brake later when coming into turns than he could in real life. As a consequence, reality prevailed and he managed a best time of only 1:57 on the real course.[14] However, both he and the track instructor agreed that it is possible to complete the course in 1:41 in a Honda NSX if the driver were sufficiently experienced, talented, and most importantly fearless.

It was also used in 1975 for the film Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo as a qualifying track.

Other non-automotive eventsEdit

Laguna Seca and the part of the old Fort Ord that is now Bureau of Land Management land annually host the Sea Otter Classic "Celebration of Cycling". The event has now become the largest cycling festival in the United States, bringing in over 10,000 racers and over 100,000 spectators - and is now the first major event of the year, typically held in April – for both the road bike and mountain bike professional seasons.

Several times each year, bicycles are permitted on the track for 2 hours. The admission fee is $10 per bicycle rider.

Laguna Seca served as the finish line for Stage 4 of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California bicycle race.

On September 17, 1987, Pope John Paul II celebrated mass at Laguna Seca Raceway, where 72,000 people had gathered to see him.[15]

On June 24, 2011, John Mueller of Muellerized Suspension Systems married Sheila Stone on the top of the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca. This is the location where the ashes of Lee Mueller (4 time SCCA National Champion, IMSA GTU Champion, 3 time winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona, and 12 Hours of Sebring winner), John Mueller's father, were spread.[16]

RacesEdit

Major eventsEdit

Other eventsEdit

A1 Grand PrixEdit

Season Sprint Race Winner Feature Race Winner
2005–2006   Salvador Durán   Salvador Durán

MotoGPEdit

Year Winner Team Bike
1988   Eddie Lawson Marlboro Yamaha Yamaha YZR500
1989   Wayne Rainey Lucky Strike Yamaha Yamaha YZR500
1990   Wayne Rainey Marlboro Yamaha Yamaha YZR500
1991   Wayne Rainey Marlboro Yamaha Yamaha YZR500
1993   John Kocinski Cagiva Agostini Cagiva C593
1994   Luca Cadalora Marlboro Yamaha Yamaha YZR500
2005   Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Honda RC211V
2006   Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Honda RC211V
2007   Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Ducati Desmosedici GP7
2008   Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Yamaha YZR-M1
2009   Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Honda RC212V
2010   Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Yamaha YZR-M1
2011   Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Honda RC212V
2012   Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Honda RC213V
2013   Marc Márquez Repsol Honda Honda RC213V

Superbike World ChampionshipEdit

Year Races Winners Team Bike
1995   Anthony Gobert
  Troy Corser
Muzzy Kawasaki
Promotor Ducati Corse
Kawasaki ZX-7R
Ducati 916
1996   John Kocinski
  Anthony Gobert
Ducati Corse
Muzzy Kawasaki
Ducati 916
Kawasaki ZX-7R
1997   John Kocinski
  John Kocinski
Castrol Honda-HRC
Castrol Honda-HRC
Honda RC45
Honda RC45
1998   Troy Corser
  Noriyuki Haga
Ducati Corse
Yamaha World Superbike Team
Ducati 916
Yamaha YZF750
1999   Anthony Gobert
  Ben Bostrom
Vance & Hines Ducati
Vance & Hines Ducati
Ducati 996
Ducati 996
2000   Noriyuki Haga
  Troy Corser
Yamaha World Superbike Team
Aprilia Racing
Yamaha YZF-R7
Aprilia RSV1000
2001   Ben Bostrom
  Ben Bostrom
L&M Ducati
L&M Ducati
Ducati 996R
Ducati 996R
2002   Troy Bayliss
  Colin Edwards
Infostrada Ducati Corse
Castrol Honda-HRC
Ducati 998 F02
Honda RC51
2003   Pierfrancesco Chili
  Rubén Xaus
PSG-1 Ducati
Ducati FILA
Ducati 998 RS
Ducati 999 F03
2004   Chris Vermeulen
  Chris Vermeulen
ten Kate Honda
ten Kate Honda
Honda CBR1000RR
Honda CBR1000RR
2005 - 2012, Event not held at Laguna Seca
2013   Tom Sykes
  Eugene Laverty
Kawasaki Racing Team
Aprilia Racing Team
Kawasaki ZX-10R
Aprilia RSV4
2014   Marco Melandri
  Tom Sykes
Aprilia Racing Team
Kawasaki Racing Team
Aprilia RSV4
Kawasaki ZX-10R
2015   Chaz Davies
  Chaz Davies
Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Ducati Panigale R
Ducati Panigale R
2016   Jonathan Rea
  Tom Sykes
Kawasaki Racing Team
Kawasaki Racing Team
Kawasaki ZX-10R
Kawasaki ZX-10R
2017   Chaz Davies
  Jonathan Rea
Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Kawasaki Racing Team
Ducati Panigale R
Kawasaki ZX-10RR

Formula 750 World ChampionshipEdit

Year Winner Bike
1977   Skip Aksland Yamaha
1978   Kenny Roberts Yamaha
1979   Kenny Roberts
  Kenny Roberts
Yamaha
Yamaha

AMA Grand National / AMA Road RacingEdit

Season Winner Team/Entrant Bike
1972   Calvin Rayborn II Harley-Davidson Motor Co Harley-Davidson
1973   Gary Nixon Erv Kanemoto/Kawasaki Kawasaki
1974   Kenny Roberts Yamaha Factory Team Yamaha
1975   Kenny Roberts Yamaha Factory Team Yamaha
1976   Steve Baker Yamaha Factory Team Yamaha
1980   Kenny Roberts Yamaha
1981   Randy Mamola Suzuki
1982   Kenny Roberts Yamaha
1983   Randy Mamola Suzuki
1984   Kenny Roberts Yamaha
1985   Randy Mamola Honda
1986   Mike Baldwin Yamaha

AMA Superbike / MotoAmericaEdit

Season Winner Team/Entrant Bike
1976   Reg Pridmore Butler & Smith BMW BMW
1977   Steve McLaughlin Yoshimura Suzuki
1978   Wes Cooley Yoshimura Suzuki
1979   Freddie Spencer Kawasaki Factory Kawasaki
1980   Freddie Spencer American Honda Honda
1981   Eddie Lawson Team Muzzy Kawasaki
1982   Eddie Lawson Team Muzzy Kawasaki
1983   Wayne Rainey Team Muzzy Kawasaki
1984   Fred Merkel American Honda Honda
1985   John Ashmead Ashmead / Gary Meadley Honda
1986   Wayne Rainey American Honda Honda
1987   Bubba Shobert American Honda Honda
1988   Bubba Shobert Shobert/Honda Honda
1989–1991: No race
1992   Doug Polen Fast by Ferracci Ducati
1993   Doug Polen Fast by Ferracci Ducati
1994   Pascal Picotte Fast by Ferracci Ducati
1995   Freddie Spencer Fast by Ferracci Ducati
1996   Doug Chandler Team Muzzy Kawasaki
1997   Doug Chandler Team Muzzy Kawasaki
1998   Miguel Duhamel American Honda Honda
1999   Anthony Gobert Vance & Hines Ducati
2000   Nicky Hayden American Honda Honda
2001   Eric Bostrom Kawasaki Factory Kawasaki
2002   Eric Bostrom Kawasaki Factory Kawasaki
2003   Mat Mladin Yoshimura Racing Suzuki
2004   Ben Bostrom Parts Unlimited American Honda Honda
2005   Eric Bostrom Parts Unlimited MotoAustin Ducati
2006   Ben Spies Yoshimura Racing Suzuki
2007
July
  Ben Spies Yoshimura Racing Suzuki
2007
Sept
  Ben Spies Yoshimura Racing Suzuki
2008
July
  Mat Mladin Yoshimura Racing Suzuki
2008
Sept
  Mat Mladin Yoshimura Racing Suzuki
2009   Aaron Yates Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki
2010   Ben Bostrom Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha
2011   Tommy Hayden Yoshimura Racing Suzuki
2012   Josh Hayes Graves Motorsports Yamaha
2013
July
  Josh Hayes Graves Motorsports Yamaha
2013
Sept
  Josh Hayes Graves Motorsports Yamaha
2014
July
  Josh Hayes Graves Motorsports Yamaha
2015
July
  Josh Hayes Graves Motorsports Yamaha
  Cameron Beaubier Graves Motorsports Yamaha
2016
July
  Cameron Beaubier Graves Motorsports Yamaha
  Josh Hayes Graves Motorsports Yamaha
2017
July
  Toni Elias Yoshimura Racing Suzuki
  Toni Elias Yoshimura Racing Suzuki

Rolex Sports Car SeriesEdit

Season Winning Drivers Car Team Event Name Duration
2005   Luis Díaz /   Scott Pruett Riley Mk XI-Lexus Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Road & Track 250 250 miles
2006   Max Angelelli /   Jan Magnussen /   Wayne Taylor Riley Mk XI-Pontiac SunTrust Racing U.S. Sportscar Invitational
2007   Patrick Long /   Jörg Bergmeister Crawford DP03-Porsche Alex Job Racing U.S. Sportscar Invitational 2:30
2008   Ryan Dalziel /   Henri Zogaib Riley Mk XI-BMW SAMAX Motorsport RumBum.com 250 250 miles
2009   Jon Fogarty /   Alex Gurney Riley Mk XI-Pontiac GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Verizon Festival of Speed 250 miles
2010 Event not held
2011   Jon Fogarty /   Alex Gurney Riley Mk XI-Chevrolet GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Continental Tire Sports Car Festival 2:45
2012   Richard Westbrook /   Antonio Garcia Coyote-Porsche Spirit of Daytona Racing Continental Tire Sports Car Festival 2:45
2013   Max Angelelli /   Jordan Taylor Dallara-Corvette Wayne Taylor Racing Continental Tire Sports Car Festival 2:45

Trans-AmEdit

Year Class Driver Car
1969 Over 2000cc
Under 2000cc
  Mark Donohue
  Peter Gregg
Chevrolet Camaro Z28
Porsche 911
1970 Over 2000cc
Under 2000cc
  Parnelli Jones
  Lee Midgley
Ford Mustang BOSS 302
Alfa Romeo GTA
1971 Event not held
1972 Under 2500cc   John Morton Datsun 510
1973–1977 Event not held
1978 Category I
Category II
  Bob Tullius
  Greg Pickett
Jaguar XJS
Chevrolet Corvette
1979 Category I
Category II
  Bob Tullius
  Peter Gregg
Triumph TR8
Porsche
1980   Greg Pickett Chevrolet Corvette
1981   George Follmer Chevrolet Camaro
1982   Elliott Forbes-Robinson Pontiac Trans Am
1983–1999 Event not held
2000   Kenny Wilden Chevrolet Camaro
2001   Justin Bell Chevrolet Corvette
2002–2003 Event not held
2004   Tommy Kendall Jaguar XKR

Intercontinental GT ChallengeEdit

Year Class Drivers Team Car
2017 GT3 Pro
GT3 Pro-Am
GT4
  Pierre Kaffer   Kelvin van der Linde   Markus Winkelhock
  Jeroen Bleekemolen   David Calvert-Jones   Tim Pappas
  Jeff Kearl   Sean McAlister   Jeff Westphal
Audi Sport Team Magnus
Black Swan Racing
Rearden Racing
Audi R8 LMS
Porsche 911 GT3 R
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Modified.com - Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca - Track Review
  2. ^ Detailed course map by Whitson Engineers
  3. ^ Environmental Site Assessment: Laguna Seca Ranch, Earth Metrics Inc., on file with the County of Monterey (1989)
  4. ^ Google Street View image
  5. ^ Champ Car > News Tuesday, September 11, 2007 Archived September 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "CSUMB Economic Study: Mazda Raceway Contributed $62M To Monterey County In 2015". Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Zonta breaks the record, part three... Archived 2008-05-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ http://www.autoblog.com/2012/05/23/ferrari-claims-unofficial-lap-record-at-laguna-seca/
  9. ^ "ALMS Final Grid" (PDF). International Motor Sports Association. 2008-10-18. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  10. ^ http://resources.worldsbk.com/files/results/2014/USA/SBK/Q2A/BES/BestLapsAndSpeeds.pdf?version=c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b
  11. ^ http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/exotic/1503_2015_mclaren_p1_vs_2015_porsche_918_spyder/track_performance.html
  12. ^ https://www.asphaltandrubber.com/racing/e-power-ttxgp-laguna-seca-qualifying-2011/
  13. ^ 2009 Nissan Skyline GT-R conquers the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca Archived 2008-06-09 at the Wayback Machine. By Ed Hellwig Edmunds Inside Line 2/16/2007.
  14. ^ Top Gear, Season 7, Episode 6 2005.12.27
  15. ^ Glick, Shav (October 12, 1987). "Laguna Seca Indy Car Race". The Los Angeles Times. 
  16. ^ http://www.muellerized.com/about.html
  17. ^ "2014 MotoGP Schedule Announced: Laguna Seca Dropped". Fox Sports. October 2, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 

Further readingEdit

"Laguna Seca Raceway: 40 Years Through the Corkscrew: 1957-1997" (David and Mary-Ellen Wright-Rana, 1997) — ISBN 0966024818

External linksEdit