Monterey Motorsports Reunion promises to be the highlight of IMSA’s 50th year
Images courtesy of WeatherTech Raceway
As we get closer to IMSA’s 50th anniversary year, it’s becoming clear that the absolute highlight of IMSA birthday celebrations will take place during the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion on 15-18 August 2019 at California’s famed WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. It will be the first time an entire series has been honored, and three of the 14 race groups will be dedicated to the series: IMSA Prototypes (including GTP, WSC, LMP, and DP cars), 1981-1991 IMSA GTO/GTU cars, and 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA, GT, GTX, and AAGT cars–with many of the legendary drivers returning to race.
IMSA, or the International Motor Sports Association, was formed in 1969 by SCCA stalwart John Bishop and NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. The series started slowly, amid legal challenges from the SCCA, with the first race featuring Formula Vee and Formula Ford at Pomona Raceway. Attendances were poor initially until IMSA introduced sports car and touring car championships, which boosted public appeal. Within five years IMSA had taken an annual slot at Laguna Seca that lasted until 1987, with races run during the Monterey Triple Crown as well as, on occasion, the Monterey Grand Prix. After a three-year absence between 1988 and 1990 and a two-year absence in 1995 and 1996, IMSA became a fixture at Laguna Seca again in 1997, starting with the World Sports Car Challenge, through the American Le Mans Series period, and into the current incarnation as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Now when we think of IMSA at the iconic 11-turn, 2.238-mile Laguna Seca we remember the early Porsche versus BMW versus Datsun battles, the exhilarating GTP Prototype era, the contact-heavy Jan Magnussen versus Jörg Bergmeister GT2 race to the finish line in 2009 and 2017’s incredible Corkscrew pass by Renger van der Zande with one lap to go. Seeing historic IMSA race cars back on the track during the Rolex Monterey Reunion is going to feel like a great way to celebrate 50 years of IMSA. Tickets are already on sale!