Oldest Indy 500 car set to race at Monterey Historics

Michael James

Rolex Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Forty years after it debuted as a gathering of old friends in old cars, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will again offer its yearly reverence to racing i n the Monterey Historics.

This year’s edition, the fourth year with its new sanction and title sponsor, will likely feature the enduring event’s most diverse field.

About 550 cars from nine countries and spanning 81 production years will participate April 14-17.

Cars from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States are entered.

Vehicles are accepted based on the car’s authenticity, race provenance and period correctness.

The inaugural Indy 500 winner will race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The inaugural Indy 500 winner will race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the Rolex Reunion

Brian Blain’s 1911 National 40 is the oldest registered car. The 100-horsepower machine was driven by Charlie Merz in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 held in 1911. It finished seventh at an average speed of 70.36 mph and earned $700.

The newest vehicle enter is the 1992 Mazda RX-792P GTP (chassis 001). It’s one of two prototypes that competed in the 1992 IMSA GTP championship. Price Cobb and Pete Halsmer were the original factory drivers to pilot the entirely new 720-horsepower car against the established Eagle Toyotas and factory Nissans.

Rolex Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
This 1992 Mazda will be the newest race car competing in the Rolex Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

“The past 20 years have flown by like they were 24 hours,” said Steve Millen, the versatile former IMSA champion from New Zealand. “So getting back behind the wheel of the No. 75 with the support of many of the original team members will be like stepping into a time machine.

“People might forget that this car was so dominant in 1994 that IMSA banned its twin-turbo V6 engine. I think we’ve got a great chance to bring it into Victory Lane one more time against some other amazing race cars at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. I can’t wait.”

Between the oldest and most recent examples of race cars and the focus on the 100th anniversary of Maserati, the Motorsports Reunion will celebrate several additional milestones.

It will be the 50th racing anniversary of the Sunbeam Tiger. Popularized in the 1960s television shoe Get Smart, the Sunbeam Tiger was, beginning in 1964, modified by Carroll Shelby to race in the 24 Hours of LeMans.

Porsche, as always, will also be celebrated. Sixty-four Porsches, the most of any manufacturer at the Motorsports Reunion, will participate — from the earlier 356 and 911 models to the 962.

The 15 racing categories will include: Run Groups: Pre-1940 Sports Racing and Touring Cars; 1927-1951 Racing Cars; 1955-1962 GT Cars; 1963-1966 GT Cars over 2500cc; 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX AAGT, GTU Cars; 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars over 2000cc; 1966-1972 Trans-Am; 1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars under 2000cc; 1970-1979 Sports Racing cars under 2000cc; 1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars; 1963-1972 FIA Mfg. Championship; 1981-1990 FIA Mfg. Championship, IMSA GTP/1980-1991 GTO; 1961-1966 GT Cars under 2500cc; 1963-1974 Can-Am & USRRC; 1974-1980 Formula Atlantic.

For more information on the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion or to purchase tickets, visit MazdaRaceway.com or call 800-327-7322.

Article Last Updated: August 13, 2014.

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