Can-Am cars in the Corkscrew, 1973. Photo courtesy Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
How many times do you see two thunderous racing divisions both debut in the same season and, moreover, enjoy wild success along parallel courses? We can’t think of another such example. So 1966 is known as more than just the year during which Ford conquered Le Mans, but also when pro-level road racing on our own shores was utterly, spectacularly transformed. It was when the Sports Car Club of America unveiled its Trans-American Sedan Championship for pony cars and sport sedans, and did itself one better by unleashing the fearsome Canadian-American Challenge Cup, the big bangers, a new series for essentially unlimited open sports cars. Among racing aficionados, these series are still spoken about in quiet tones of awe. The cars and drivers of this era will be honored as both Trans-Am and Can-Am see action as featured classes at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, set for August 18-21 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in central California.
Trans-Am cars in pit lane at Laguna Seca. Photo by Kurt Ernst.
For the classes’ 50th anniversaries, a total of 36 Trans-Am cars with documented racing histories will take to the track for three of the festival’s four days. The outrageous Can-Am cars, one of the most macho classes ever turned loose on a race course, will also run at Laguna Seca for three days in two separate groupings. In their heydays, both classes were known to attract international-level driving talent competing for big purses, with full factory support from all American manufacturers in the Trans-Am’s case. In the Can-Am, the talent routinely ranged from Indy winners to F1 and sports car superstars and occasionally, even those from the NASCAR orbit. It was insanity of the first order.
On hand to make sense of all that wildness will be the British racing star, longtime television commentator and Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee David Hobbs, who will speak at the annual Picnic in the Park at Laguna Seca on Saturday, August 20. He’s uniquely positioned to talk about the reunion’s third honored class this year, the 100th anniversary of BMW, given the fact he raced strongly in the works 3.0 CSLs during the 1970s before coming back to run the scary-fast 320 Turbo in IMSA’s GTO category. The Monterey reunion is a not-to-be-missed happening, crammed with hundreds of historic race cars and a premium vendor’s midway. It’s a highlight of the huge Monterey auction and concours week each August. To find out more, visit MazdaRaceway.com.