History of California’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorney.  As motorcycle race fans gear up for Laguna Seca at the end of this month, this seems like a good time to look back on the history of California’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The track’s history dates back to 1957, when it was built upon the eastern side of Fort Ord U.S. Army post to replace the Pebble Beach Road Races, which were ended due to safety issues.
Pete Lovely won the first race at Laguna Seca on November 9, 1957 driving a 500 Ferrari Testa Rosa. Over the years, this legendary Monterey Peninsula raceway went on to host many well-known auto and motorcycle races including Can-Am, Grand-Am, Superbike World Championship, MotoGP (the Formula One of Motorcycles) and of course, the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.
Over the years, Laguna Seca’s racetrack has undergone many changes in order to keep up with FIA and FIM Homologation. When the International Motorcycle Grand Prix came to Laguna Seca in 1988, the track had to be extended to 2.238-mile length. Other changes to the track in recent years include widening turns, relocating pedestrian bridges, and expanding gravel pits.
Without a doubt, the most spectacular feature at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is “The Corkscrew.” Specifically Turns 8 and 8A, Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew is like no other raceway turn. The hard left followed by a hard right combined with a dramatic drop in elevation (59 feet) makes for a thrilling turn. As many auto race fans know, it was here that Alex Zanardi overtook Bryan Heruniqueta in the last lap of the 1996 CART race with what is referred to as “The Pass.” In 2008, Italian motorcyclist, Valentino Rossi, made a similar move when he overtook Casey Stoner in The Corkscrew to clinch his first victory in the U.S. Grand Prix. Rossi celebrated his win by kissing the Corkscrew before 150,000+ screaming motorcycle race fans.
In 2001, Mazda partnered with the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) and received naming rights to Laguna Seca. Then, in 2005, MotoGP returned to the United States for the first U.S. Grand Prix since 1994. Nicky Hayden won his first MotoGP race at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix that year taking his father for a victory lap to celebrate. Let’s hope this year’s race proves to be as exciting as in years past.
Remember, Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® will be attending the U.S. Motorcycle Grand Prix on July 27-29, 2012! While you’re at the race, stop by our BAM booth to sign up for a Free Breakdown and Legal Assistance for Motorcyclists membership. We Ride—We Care—We Win!