Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca turns 60 this year

By | February 14, 2017

60th Anniversary Mazda Raceway Laguna Logo

60th Anniversary Mazda Raceway Laguna Logo

Famed race track Mazda Racway Laguna Seca turns 60 this year.

Sixty years.

Think about that for a moment. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes have run across its blacktop for 60 years. Some of the legends that have tried their hand at conquering the track include Moss, Gurney, Andretti, Rainey, Brabham, Rahal, Rossi, McLaren, Shelby… just to name a few!

In this day and age when some tracks struggle to stay around for more then 10 years, it’s an impressive feat!

Laguna Seca is obviously celebrating with a new logo. It’s a bit of a throwback to the past, yet still seems to look “current.”

As you can see in the graphic above, the logo brings back some of the elements of the track’s first logo from 1957: the cypress tree landmark and a classic race car. Newly added are the number 60 to the hood of the car and the current iteration of the track inscribed within the zero of the “60″ on the other half of the logo.

Nice. Clean. Simple.

So fine readers, what are you thoughts on the new logo?

For those wanting to visit the track (AND YOU SHOULD), here’s a calendar of the major events happening this season:

  • Ferrari Challenge, May 12-14
  • Inaugural Spring Classic vintage car race and historical motorcycle exhibition, May 19-21
  • Motul FIM Superbike World Championship GEICO U.S. Round featuring MotoAmerica, July 7-9
  • Monterey Pre-Reunion, August 12-13
  • Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, August 17-20
  • Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix (IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship), September 21-24
  • Pirelli World Challenge, October 12-15

Mitime Group agrees to manage UMC, withdraws from purchasing

By | January 23, 2017

Utah Motorsports Campus

Utah Motorsports Campus

For all those Utah Motorsports Campus / Miller Motorsports Park fans out there, an update to the continued drama over the ownership of the faculty.

It appears that Mitime Group has agreed to run facility through 12/31/17, but has withdrawn its plan on purchasing the 511-acre facility, stating the strengthening US dollar and the delay from the legal issues associated with the sale of the facility.

Press release below:

Mitime Group Agrees to Extend UMC Management Agreement

Company withdraws from track purchase negotiations

TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (January 23, 2017) — Utah Motorsport Campus, Inc., a subsidiary of the Mitime Group, which operated Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC, formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park) under a facility management agreement with Tooele County during 2016, has notified the Tooele County Board of Commissioners that it will agree to an extension of the existing facility management agreement through December 31, 2017.

“We are very excited to complete the agreement to continue managing Utah Motorsports Campus,” said UMC General Manager Willem Geyer. “The County has been great to work with, and we look forward to another exciting season.” Once the agreement has been signed by both parties, UMC will announce its 2017 season schedule.

However, at the same time Mitime Utah Investment, LLC, also a subsidiary of the Mitime Group, informed the County that it is withdrawing from negotiations to purchase the 511-acre facility.

In a letter dated January 20, 2017 from Xinggui Wang, Manager of Mitime Utah Investment, LLC, Mitime cited unexpected legal challenges that started with a lawsuit in 2016 enjoining Mitime from purchasing the facility, ongoing legal challenges delaying the County from selling the facility and losses incurred by Mitime due to the delay and by the strengthening of the U.S. Dollar relative to the Chinese Yuan.

“When the County has resolved the issues underlying the challenges to a sale,” Wang stated in the letter, “should the County re-offer UMC for purchase in a new sale, open to public bidding, Mitime may have interest in bidding.”

For additional information regarding Utah Motorsports Campus, visit the track’s website at www.UtahMotorsportsCampus.com.

Salt City Euros Halloween Video: Scary Clowns Be Warned

By | October 28, 2016

Clownageddon-Purge

Local European enthusiast channel, Salt City Euros, released a “festive” Halloween video this week with a clear warning for all the random scary clowns in the world: Beware the Euros.

Salt City Euro usually provides us with fantastic how-to’s and unique Euro build videos (Including an E-freaking-30 Touring! Awesome!), but this time they took their craft to the next level of entertainment. With “Clownageddon” sweeping the world – instances of random people dressing up as scary clowns and chasing innocent bystanders – this filmette serves as an entertaining warning as to why you should not try it. Aside from being shot, stabbed, or beat-the-hell-up, Clowns now have to worry about the “purge” coming from European car enthusiasts.

I hate clowns. All clowns. So we here at the Daily Derbi fully support violence against clowns*, especially when purging them with classic BMW metal and tasty bagged V.A.G. cruisers. Thank you Salt City Euros for making the world a little bit less scary.

Happy Halloween!

*No we don’t. We do not condone violence of any kind, even if it’s against scary clowns who deserve to rot in hell.

The Sights & Sounds of Petit Le Mans

By | October 19, 2016

Ah, Petit Le Mans. Season ender for IMSA/WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Ten hours of heart pumping, chest pounding action. Racing so hard, they literally tore up the track! Talk about a long Full Course Yellow!

Hit full screen and turn up the sound!

 

From Whence Orange Blossom Special?

By | August 11, 2016

 

Forrest's GT-350 Orange Blossom Special Challenges turn 4

Forrest’s GT-350 Orange Blossom Special Challenges turn 4

One of auto racing’s tried and true car names, Orange Blossom Special, originated with Seaboard Airline Railroad’s fast and luxurious passenger trains connecting New York City through several rail lines to Palm Beach, Florida, eventually extending to Miami. american-rails.com states from 1927 through 1953, excepting a short WWII break, one of the period’s rail fastest and plushest trains opened up Florida’s warm climate to freezing northerners each winter.

Eccentric musician Ervin Rouse in 1938 wrote Orange Blossom Special creating what’s become violin (fiddle playing) musicians’ must know song of the same name. In 1965, Johnny Cash latched on OBS and, with help from more modern communication, concerts and radio play, popularized lyrics describing a lost love returning from a distant journey, created an acclaimed album bearing the same name.

In 1965 Shelby American pinned their iconic GT-350 name to Ford’s runaway hit Mustang performance/sports car. Interesting a train known for performance leant its name to a particular American muscle car known for same. Other cars, mostly Fords, borrowed the name in both high and low profile racing events, but none bore it as well and as proudly as Danny Moore’s Shelby GT-350.

DSC_1088EditSmall Resized TaggedThe first modern Orange Blossom Special originated with Dallas’ Danny Moore transforming his street ’65 GT-350 into the most raced GT-350 ever, according to current owner Forrest. Campaigned 8 to 10 races per year from 1968 through 1971, and many races beyond, Moore piloted Orange Blossom Special in over 100 events including appearances 1970, ’72 &’74 Daytona 24 Hours, Sebring’s ’73 12 Hour, and several Mid Ohio 6 hours.

Pulling OBS out of retirement, Forrest tells me he’s owned this GT-350 (SAAC 5S-307) more than 4 years. It spent its 1st 3 of his ownership under restoration in Yukon, OK, with Greg Reynolds and many of the same guys responsible for its original 1960’s race preps.

A beautiful Friday, August 14th and an unusually hot Saturday, August 15th, 2015, brought Forrest’s and 35 other registered Shelby GT-350s from locations around the world and across the US to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Rolex’ Motorsports Reunion’s annual vintage racing celebration. Many bore familiar white bodied blue striped livery. One stood out, brilliant orange, still featuring Moore’s RAM Racing moniker. I don’t know how many GT-350’s started Group 3A’s race that morning but it might as well have been all of them. That many racing icons pounding out RPM’s and dbs nearly piercing my hearing protection may never happen again. Inspiring fails its description. Maybe orgasmic suits better.

Forrest tells me he race preps his cars himself and 2015’s Motorsports reunion only its 2nd race after Sonoma earlier in that year. Powered by a well experienced 289 engine bearing GT-40 heads, Forrest placed Orange Blossom Special back out on the track where it was meant to be. Speed and history….. with a dash of Orange….. make a great weekend long cocktail.

See you at the track.

DSC_1130EditResizedTagged

PWC Announces Provisional 2017 Calendar

By | July 29, 2016

No. 43 RealTime Racing

No. 43 RealTime Racing running in Pirelli World Challenge

 

Pirelli World Challenge released their provisional 2017 calendar today.

Enjoy!

—-

Eleven GT Production Racing Weekends include Prestigious Motorsports Circuits

 

LEXINGTON, Ohio  – WC Vision, producers of the exciting Pirelli World Challenge, today announced its provisional plans for the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge Championships with new series outlines and schedule for North America’s biggest GT Production-based road racing campaign.

In 2016, the PWC trail featured over 20 auto manufacturers and 37 separate models through its eight racing divisions – GT, GTA, GT Cup, GTS, Touring Car, TCA, TCB and SprintX – in its 27th year as one of the world’s most competitive and entertaining sedan racing series.

In addition, the Pirelli World Challenge worked closely with worldwide GT racing leader, the SRO Blancpain Series, in a variety of elements including Balance of Performance (BoP) parameters and other technical regulations.

For 2017, the PWC tour will provisionally host eleven weekends through North America including a return visit to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) with the popular 3.27-mile, 17-turn permanent road circuit set to host all eight PWC classes on April 28-30. PWC’s last VIR appearance was in 2010. In addition, the series season-opener the past two years, Circuit of the Americas (COTA), will host all eight categories in a Labor Day spectacular set for Sept. 1-3.

As usual, the Pirelli World Challenge will visit many of North America’s most prestigious and legendary race facilities starting with the season opener scheduled for the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 10-12, the annual Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“We are extremely excited about our provisional 2017 Pirelli World Challenge schedule especially after the competition level in 2016,” said Greg Gill, president and CEO of WC Vision. “We will give our racing fans the opportunity to witness the excitement and wheel-to-wheel action that makes the Pirelli World Challenge so special. We want to thank many of North America’s most iconic road racing venues in bringing the best GT Production-based motorsports racing to their racing facilities in 2017. We hope to have the schedule finalized very soon.”

In addition to the provisional look at the 2017 schedule, Pirelli World Challenge also announced a new format for the GT and GTS events include five single-driver sprint events at the five weekends with the Verizon IndyCar Series including St. Petersburg, Long Beach (April 7-9), Road America (June 23-25), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (July 28-30) and one other weekend to be announced. All except Long Beach (GT single race) will be doubleheader weekend.

In the five PWC headliner races, all eight PWC classes will compete at VIR (April 28-30), Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (May 19-21), Lime Rock Park (May 26-27), COTA (Sept. 1-3) and another summer weekend event to be announced in the near future.

In the PWC headliner weekends, the GT and GTS classes will be competing in the SprintX two-driver format with a 60-minute limit for each of the doubleheader features. Each entry will have two drivers competing in either a GT or GTS car during those contests.

“The GT3 and GTS/GT4 customers now have increased opportunities to run for a single or two-driver championship or compete in all events for an overall title,” said Marcus Haselgrove, Pirelli World Challenge Competition Director. “Plus, the addition of the Am (non-pro) class in GTS/GT4 is in response to our customer feedback.”

The Pirelli World Challenge finale again will take place at the prestigious Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a unique weekend set for racers and fans on Oct. 13-15. Working in conjunction with the popular European-based SRO Blancpain GT Series, the SRO Motorsports Group Intercontinental GT Challenge will include a six-hour GT endurance contest with US-based GT teams.

The Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca event will be part of the global GT3 series which includes the Liqui-Moly Bathhurst 12 Hours, Total 24 Hours of Spa and the Sepang 12 Hours. The Intercontinental GT Challenge is aimed at manufacturers, who are encouraged to use local teams to represent them in the leading GT3 races, as it is more cost- and time-effective to fly engineers and drivers around the world rather than cars and equipment.

# # #

2017 Provisional Pirelli World Challenge Schedule

Date Track Classes
March 10-12 Streets of St. Petersburg GT/GTA/GT Cup, GTS
April 7-9 Streets of Long Beach GT
April 28-30 Virginia International Raceway GT/GTA/GT Cup, GTS, TC, TCA, TCB, SprintX
May 19-21 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park GT/GTA/GT Cup, GTS, TC, TCA, TCB, SprintX
May 26-27 Lime Rock Park GT/GTA/GT Cup, GTS, TC, TCA, TCB, SprintX
June 23-25 Road America GT/GTA/GT Cup, GTS
July 28-30 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course GT/GTA/GT Cup, GTS
August TBA GT/GTA/GT Cup, GTS, TC, TCA, TCB, SprintX
Sept. 1-3 Circuit of the Americas (COTA) GT/GTA/GT Cup, GTS, TC, TCA, TCB, SprintX
September TBA GT/GTA/GT Cup, GTS
Oct. 13-15 SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge GT

 

[photo | mike gillilan]