BMW and Can-Am celebrated at Monterey

Historic Racing

With BMW as the featured marque and a special race to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Can-Am category, the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion lived up to its reputation as America’s biggest historic racing festival.

For three days over the weekend, 550 period race cars tackled the famous Laguna Seca circuit in California as early morning fog gave way to warm sunshine. In all, 15 classes were in action; ranging from Pre-War racing cars to fairly recent Group C and GT cars.

The featured marque for 2016 was BMW as the German manufacturer celebrated its centenary. A total of 64 BMWs entered the Reunion, from a 1937 BMW 328 to a 2001 BMW M3 GTR.

Laguna Seca has hosted some of the USA’s most exciting racing over six decades including races for Can-Am and the Canadian-American Challenge Cup. Sir Jackie Stewart, who attended this year’s event, was twice victorious in the 1971 Can-Am season driving the Lola T260.

A superb field of more than 25 Can-Am cars gathered for Saturday’s race and it was a pair of UOP-liveried Shadows that dominated as Kirt Bennett headed Dave Handy in their 1974 DN4s. A fantastic line-up of 10 McLaren M8s were on the grid and the best of them was the M8F of seasoned historic racer Chris MacAllister in fourth, though Canadian Claude Malette took the final podium place in his Lola T222.

Dan Marvin topped a 27-strong 3-litre F1 field in his Brabham BT44, winning by just under a second from the Williams FW07B of Charles Nearburg and Grand Prix ‘bike champion Eddie Lawson in his Wolf WR4.

Group 3B, for World Championship sports cars from 1963 to 1973 was won by the stunning Ferrari 312PB of Bob Earl from the Porsche 917K of Bruce Canepa, with modern sports car racer Gunnar Jeannette third in a Porsche 908 ahead of a trio of Chevron B16s. Canepa went on to top the Group C/IMSA race in a Porsche 962C while Jeannette also took a win in his Porsche 935.

Photos below by Alex Bremer

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