With about 550 classic racecars lapping Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca over the course of the weekend, the Monterey Motorsports Reunion might be one of the largest vintage racing events in the country. The organizers of the Reunion select cars based on each vehicle’s authenticity, race provenance and period correctness. And as a result it is always one of the highlights of the lavish Monterey Motor Week festivities.
For race car driver Steve Millen, anniversary gifts don’t get any sweeter than the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. To mark the 20th anniversary of Nissan’s win at the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans, Millen brought his legendary No. 75 Nissan 300ZX twin turbo racer out of retirement for this year’s event.
“This Monterey historic reunion is the biggest and best of the classic car races in America,” said Millen. “I’ve always come up here as a spectator thinking I’d like to do that one day. This time we decided to come to compete and celebrate the 20th anniversary of our Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring and championship wins. We had so much success for this car in 1994 that we had to come and celebrate our 20th anniversary.”
The 800-horsepower No. 75 Nissan 300ZX twin turbo was invited to compete in what has become the cornerstone of the Monterey Peninsula’s annual Classic Car Week. In fact, this car – chassis No. 7 – still has its inspection sticker from Le Mans 20 years ago.
“We had a lot of success with this car. But, the car sat dormant for 20 years essentially. So when we decided to come to this event here in Monterey we ran right through the car from front to stern. Mark Honsowetz rebuilt the engine and freshened that up for us. We put on new shock absorbers. We put on new AP Racing brakes. So we had to restore the car back and get it to where we could run it hard like we are doing this weekend,” said Millen.
This year’s featured marque was Maserati, which was celebrating its 100th anniversary, and plenty of trident logos could be found both on and off the track, ranging from the 250F grand prix car to some of the company’s later sports cars like the MC12.
Throughout the 15 groups across the ages there was something for any motorsports fan. Among the highlights were the Trans-Am race that brought together rumbling hunks of American muscle to jostle for position on track. There was also a fantastic class from the ’50s and ’60s with Ferraris, Corvettes and even a Volvo P1800 and Toyota S800 racing together.
Watching these iconic racers back on track at full pace was a joy to behold and we can’t wait for the 2015 event.