Monterey County

CENTRAL COASTING: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

The world famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca's story began in 1957, constructed on unused Fort Ord land.

History behind Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

SALINAS, Calif. - The world famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca's story began in 1957, constructed on unused Fort Ord land.

"Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula came out, looked
at this bowl, and said i think we could put a race track here," said the Raceway's CEO and GM, Gill Campbell.

Fort Ord eventually closed. Monterey County Parks took charge of part of
the land, establishing camp grounds around the track, exposing it to
thousands of people.

"Then we were able to add some more events and utilize it for what it is,
which is one of the top ten traditional race courses in the world," said Campbell.

And what started as one event per year has turned into five major events,
with the track in almost constant use.

"On a daily basis, like today we have Motortrend Magazine out here on the
track. The track is used for clubs, new car launches, for testing," said Campbell.

Sports cars, super bikes, and racing cycles are a big part of what goes
on at Laguna Seca, but Mazda Raceway is trying to bring at least one
event back.

"Indy Car. I mean this track is perfect for Indy Car, nd i can assure our
fans we're working hard. One day, they'll be back," said Campbell.

The track has a 2-turn combination that is world famous, and has a unique
backstory dating back to the track's construction.

"When they got to the top of the far hill, the construction boss went to
lunch, he told his bulldozer driver get down this hill any way you can,
the pavers will follow you. And hence the corkscrew," said Campbell.

Two sharp turns and a three-story drop, the corkscrew is one of the most
difficult turns in all of racing.

"You either love it, as a driver, or you hate it, but it is by far the
most famous turn," said Campbell.

Speaking of loving it, this family came all the way from Brazil to see the
track. Young Pedro has raced it thousands of times....in video games.

"I have like all the corners memorized in my head. I don't know, it's
like, I'm freaking out here, seeing all these cars. I'm seeing that it's
real. It's not something that somebody did for us, it's something that
really exists. I don't know how to express this really well, but, it's
kind of a dream come true," said Pedro.

And as Mazda Raceway approaches it's 60th anniversary, it's hoping to keep
bringing excitement to fans for another 60 years.

"This place has history, and has soul, and that's what needs to continue," said Campbell.


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