The Monterey Peninsula’s love affair with world-class racing traces its beginnings to the inaugural running of the Pebble Beach Road Races in 1950. Those sports car events quickly outgrew the public roads of the Del Monte Forest and a beautiful new road racing facility was born on November 9, 1957.
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.
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. In 1974, the property was deeded over to the Monterey County Parks Department and continues to be part of the park system to this day.
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, Champ Car, American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am, Superbike World Championship and MotoGP motorcycle races and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
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 length to its current 2.238-mile length, plus the relocation of pedestrian bridges and embankments, and the expansion of gravel pits for additional runoff.
The original media center was demolished in 2006 and replaced by the Red Bull Energy Center, a modern entertainment facility with commanding views of the facility.
Perhaps one of the most famous moments of racing took place at the Corkscrew when Alex Zanardi passed Bryan Herta on the inside of the Corkscrew on the last lap of the 1996 CART race to take the victory.
See the cars that will be racing in the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered By Mazda up close on Saturday during the pre-race Grid Fan Walk. Teams will be making final preparations in their pit stalls and many of the drivers will be standing by waiting for the race to begin. You can't get any closer to the action than this!
Many of this weekend’s activities take place in the Marketplace, located in the track infield between turns 5 and 6. Stop by the Marketplace to enjoy great food vendors, merchandise, and even wine and cheese samplings!
The most iconic turn in all of motorsports, the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a must-see! The drop is blind and the turn is late, making this a very risky and exciting part of the racetrack!
Turn 2 is the Andretti Hairpin. For most approaches, this is a single apex corner. This is a great place to watch cars accelerate as they exit the Andretti Hairpin!