Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Shelby GT350 Mustang

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Stirling Moss’ Shelby GT350 Mustang on the track | Bob Heathcote /Mazda Raceway
Stirling Moss’ Shelby GT350 Mustang on the track | Bob Heathcote /Mazda Raceway
Stirling Moss’ Shelby GT350 Mustang on the track | Bob Heathcote /Mazda Raceway

Carroll Shelby’s performance skill was already well-known to Ford when the automaker asked him to work his magic on its new sporty compact, the Mustang, to make the car formidable in competition.

So just one year after the Mustang’s debut, the 1965 Shelby GT350 roared onto the scene, immediately racking up successes in SCCA road-racing events and winning three consecutive national championships. The GT350 also became known for its unbridled power and handling on back roads for those drivers lucky enough to obtain one.

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic Shelby-enhanced performance coupe as the featured marque for the vintage racing events held August 13-16, 2015, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

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The immediate success of the Shelby GT350 helped catapult the entire Mustang program onto the worldwide stage.”[/pullquote]

“The immediate success of the Shelby GT350 helped catapult the entire Mustang program onto the worldwide stage through its pure performance and reliability,” said Gill Campbell, chief executive and general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “We are also adding a special 1965-1972 Shelby GT350 Mustang race group to the schedule as a way to further highlight the marque.”

Ford Motor Company is adding to the celebration with a paddock display showcasing the history of the GT350, its racing successes and the cars that made it famous.

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“We couldn’t be more excited to be able to share one of the most iconic performance Mustang nameplates – the Shelby GT350 Mustang – with all of the Shelby enthusiasts and race fans at next year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service.

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, one of the world’s premier historic racing events, takes place during the world-famous Monterey Classic Car Week. A total of 550 historic and period-correct cars are accepted to compete in 15 different race groups, which serve as a racing museum springing to life, as authentic cars that go as far back as the early days of motorsports compete in gentlemanly races on the challenging circuit.

Tickets to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion go on sale December 3. For more information, see www.mazdaraceway.com/rolex.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.