Nicole takes on Laguna Seca

After months of anticipation and enduring a solid week of seemingly endless days, Monterey Car Week has passed and I’m left with over 6,000 photos and memories that will last a lifetime.

1970 Ferrari 512M at Laguna Seca | Nicole James photos

After months of anticipation and enduring a solid week of seemingly endless days, Monterey Car Week has passed and I’m left with over 6,000 photos and memories that will last a lifetime.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO descending the Corkscrew

Back home, people have asked if I was at The Quail or the Pebble Beach concours, the things for which Monterey Car Week is known. I smile and tell them I wasn’t, but that I was doing something 10 times more exciting than looking at some old cars parked on grass.

I love motorsports and going fast so being assigned to cover the Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was a dream come true. Laguna Seca is an iconic race track that you dream to visit watching videos, reading articles and after spending hours at a game console controller racing down the Corkscrew.

At Laguna, I caught myself thinking more than I care to admit: “How is this even real life right now?”

It’s not everyday you find yourself not only at a place you’ve wanted to visit for years, but here I was, trackside.

1988 Porsche 962 Group C

And the vintage racing was awesome as well. I have always been infatuated by the GT Prototype Le Mans-style cars but I had never had the opportunity to see them in person until I went to my first vintage racing event earlier this year at Fontana, California.

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But vintage racing not only had those cars but also gives Indy cars and F1 cars and other historic racing cars a second life while providing new enthusiasts the opportunity to see and experience cars they otherwise would not.

I enjoyed story hunting at Laguna Seca because so many of the cars had such colorful histories and, in some cases, the event truly was a reunion, such as for the seven Trans-Am cars that had all raced against one another in 1972.

My favorite thing was to watch and photograph the pre-war cars taking on the Corkscrew. From where I watched, you could see the drivers hanging on for dear life, flying down the corkscrew on these rare machines.

Photos by Nicole James

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