A cornerstone of Monterey Car Week, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (RMMR) is undoubtedly one of the preeminent vintage racing gatherings in the world. Spanning four days, the sheer breadth of machinery on display and racing on track is mind-bending, even for ardent enthusiasts of yesterday’s automotive stars. If you think seeing a 1976 Porsche 935 belch fire from its exhaust is “old school,” try watching a 1908 Locomobile make its way around the circuit, hissing and popping every few feet of the way. The Trans Am group featuring late 60s muscle cars is always a crowd-pleaser, as are the soft-serve ice-cream cones in the pits. Where ever you turn, something is stopping you in your tracks.

Ranson Webster’s 1976 Porsche 935 K3 burning off a little extra fuel on its way to turn 9. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee


Sports cars and the Monterey Peninsula have gone hand and hand since the first Pebble Beach Road Races sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) in 1950. After six years of racing through the dangerous Del Monte Forest, the Laguna Seca Road course was built early in 1957 using decommissioned Fort Ord land. In 1974, sports car enthusiast Steve Earle decided the need for exercising these unique machines had grown to the point where he established the Monterey Historics, held during the same weekend of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. A new era in vintage racing was born, eventually transforming over time into what is referred to as the Rolex Reunion.

Chris MacAllister captured between shadows in his 1976 Ferrari 312 T2. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

Corvette turns 70

If ever there was a “Baseball and Apple pie” story on wheels, it would be the Chevrolet Corvette. Born in the early 1950s with a fiberglass body and inline 6-cylinder engine, the 150 hp convertible was more on the “sporty” side than being a genuine sports car. Competition would soon enter from Ford’s Thunderbird, among others, and a V8 soon became available, further popularizing the Corvette.

Often ahead of their competition, Corvettes utilized disc brakes, fuel injection, and large displacement engines that were hard to beat on track. As early as 1960, a Corvette won its class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; an extraordinary feat it would earn no less than nine times. 2023 marks the 70th anniversary of the Corvette, and this weekend’s racing showcased Corvettes from numerous eras giving fans a front-row seat to the evolution of an American icon.

The 1958 Chevrolet Corvette 283 of Edward Hugo leads several Corvettes into the Corkscrew. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

Heritage display

Situated under a large tent in the paddock, fans this year got to walk through dozens of famous Corvettes, each with a story. Several were owned by the General Motors Heritage Collection, meaning they are one-of-a-kind milestones representing a chapter in Corvette’s legacy. For the ultra-rare, both CERV I and CERV II were on display (CERV stands for Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle).

From the GM Heritage Collection, this 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray racer gave visitors a glimpse of an era when GM was secretly developing the Corvette during the ban on factory racing. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfeeThis 1957 Chevrolet Corvette SS was only raced one, at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Overheating yieled in a DNF. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

Favorite Race groups

Unlike attending a professional race weekend, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion offers spectators an “up close and personal” look at various racing cars spanning a century in time. Each group has a unique personality and offers something the others don’t. Some of my favorite groups included:

1955-1967 SCCA Production—Small Displacement

Post-WWII Sports car racing in America was built on small-bore European cars, and Group 1 exemplifies this with Porsche Speedsters, MGs, Alfas, etc.

Traffic jam heading into turn 6 with Robert Davis leading the way behind the wheel of his 1953 Siata 208S 8V. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfeeBill Lyon drops into the famous Corkscrew piloting his 1960 Porsche RS 60 Spyder. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

1961-1971 FIA Manufacturers Championship

Gray Gregory, in his 1969 Chevron B16, chases a few Porsches into the turn 8 Corkscrew. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

1927 – 1955 Grand Prix/Open Wheel Single Seat Racing Cars

While these cars may date before WWII, don’t let that fool you in their technology and speed. Many are supercharged and utilize overhead-cam engines, far ahead of their time. It’s exciting to watch the Bugatti racers approach turns as some use the hand-brake lever on the outside of the car to help slow it down.

Rick Rawlins, no stranger to pre-war racers, makes time behind the wheel of a 1926 Bugatti 37A. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfeeKurt Engelhorn looked smooth all weekend long running a 1955 Maserati 250 F. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

1972-1981 FIA, IMSA, GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU, Trans Am

Mike Thurlow thunders down the hill into turn 9, piloting his 1976 Chevrolet Corvette “Greenwood Wide Body.” Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

1966-1974 Can-Am/1963-1968 USRRC

The Canadian American Challenge Cup will always be remembered by its brutish-powered racers built to a minimal set of rules. American fuel-injected V8s ruled the earth until Porsche decided to spoil the fun with its turbocharged 917.

Chris Springer ran smoothly all weekend long behind the wheel of his 1972 McLaren M8F Can-Am racer. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfeeGunnar Jeannette pilots the ultra-rare 1969 Porsche 917PA (Porsche – Audi) powered by a 5-litre flat-12. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

1966-1972 Trans-Am.

Fender rubbing road racing using American muscle cars powered by iron block push-rod V8s with open exhaust. Talk about excitement!

Jim Hague enjoys some track time in the ex-Peter Greg 1970 Ford Boss 302. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfeeJoshua Feiber slides his 1969 Chevrolet Camaro down the famous Corkscrew turn. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

Formula 5000.

Think of America’s version of Formula 1 in the 1970s. Push-rod V8s ruled the earth, and primitive wings front and rear gave downforce. While looking pretty fancy, most of these cars are primitive in nature that were physically demanding to drive.

Kirt Bennett dominated the Formula 5000 run group all weekend in his 1976 Lola 332 F5000. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfeeZak Brown takes a weekend off his F1 schedule to enjoy his 1974 Lola T332 F5000 racer at the Rolex Reunion. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

1955-1967 SCCA Production – Large Displacement

Patrick Byrne, in his 1963 Chevrolet Corvette 327, enters the Corkscrew. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

1966-1985 Formula One – non-turbo.

Undoubtedly, this group represents the pinnacle in open-wheel racing during an era of innovation. Most cars use a Cosworth V8 engine to help minimize disparity and maintenance costs. Friday’s race was a fan favorite, especially with IndyCar Champion Dario Franchitti and McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown competing.

Year Make/Model Displacement
Steve Romak
1985  Tyrrell  12   3000
Charles Nearburg
1981  Williams  FW07C   2992
Danny Baker
1976  McLaren  M23   3000
Dario Franchitti
1974  Brabham BT44 3000
Martin Lauber
1976  Penske  PC4   2993
“Robert “”Bud””” Moeller
1982  Williams  FW08   3000
Cal Meeker
1979  Tyrrell  009 F1   3000
Carlos de Quesada
1977  McLaren  M26   3
Chris Locke
1976  Lotus  77   3000
Gray Gregory
1976  March  761   3000
Kevin Weeda
1982  Lotus  91   3000
Dwight Matheson
1979  Tyrrell  9   3000
Niky Griot
1976  March  761   3000
Zak Brown
1980  Williams   FW07/B   2993
Octavio Rincon
1982  March  March 821 F1   2993
Richard Griot
1974  March  741 F1   2933
Chris MacAllister
1976  Ferrari  312 T2   3000
Michael Eckstein
1972  William Iso Marlboro  F1   300
Alex Dodd
1975  Shadow   DN5B   2993
Charles Warner
1979  SHADOW  DN9   3000
Zak Brown exits turn 11 and accelerates towards Start/Finish in his 1980 Williams FW07/B. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

Group 12 – 1947-1960 Front-Engined Sports Racing and GT

“Backyard specials” and V8 transplants were infamous in the 1950s for spoiling the fun of the refined European sports cars (like the Ferrari below) that often cost two or three times as much. Many used inexpensive flat-heads, while the more competitive entries ran overhead-valve engines like the Buick “Nail-head” or Cadillac 331. Using primitive drum brakes, these cars slide a lot in the corners and are an authentic link to the golden era of sports car racing.

Ned Spieker is always a welcome site behind the wheel of his 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfeeArdent vintage racer Al Arciero navigates turn 11 in his 1958 Lister Knobbly. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

Group 13 – 1981-2007 GTP, Group C, DP, WSC, LMP & GT1

Bruce Marquand enjoys blue skies and clear track navigating turn 7 in his 1984 Jaguar XJR5. Photo © 2023 Rex McAfee

Photo Gallery Coming Soon

 The 2023 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion took place over 4 days at Weathertech Raceway, Laguna Seca, to the thill of thousands.