MONTEREY, Calif. – official track release — Richard Dole/LAT for IMSA photo —
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will celebrate 59 consecutive seasons of hosting motorsports events in 2016 with a packed major events schedule showcasing national and world championship series’ of sports car, open wheel and motorcycle racing, as well as one of the most prestigious annual historic car racing events in the world.
The Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda (April 29–May 1) once again opens the season featuring the fourth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Prototype and GT teams, representing at least 10 different car manufacturers and utilizing both professional and pro-am driver lineups, will compete for the overall victory and class bragging rights in the two-hour, forty-minute race on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course.
The weekend of racing will also include an incredibly strong schedule of additional series, including the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo, and the first-ever Global Mazda Battery Tender MX-5 Cup race.
Elite competitors of both international and national motorcycle road racing take over July 8-10 with round nine of the Motul FIM World Superbike Championship GEICO U.S. Round featuring the MotoAmerica Honda Superbike Showdown. The World Superbike Championship showcase event will receive a decidedly American shot in the arm with 2006 MotoGP World Champion and two-time Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca race winner (2005, 2006) Nicky Hayden returning to compete at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time since 2013.
MotoAmerica returns for its sophomore season of doubleheader races with five levels of wheel-to-wheel and handlebar-to-handlebar action, including the showcase Superbike class.
The anchor event of every race season at Mazda Raceway is the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and 2016 will continue its legacy as one of the great motorsports events in the world. Classic Car Week on the Monterey Peninsula officially kicks off Aug. 13-14 with the Pre-Reunion and then, Aug. 18-21, the 550 entries chosen from around the world for their authenticity, historical significance and period correctness fill the paddock with the sights and sounds of more than a century of automobile racing. BMW, which will be celebrating its 100th anniversary, will be honored as the featured marque.
A full schedule of doubleheader open-wheel racing on three different competition levels will be on tap Sept. 9-11 with the Mazda Road to Indy. Season champions will again be crowned at Mazda Raceway in all three classes of the driver developmental racing series which provides scholarships to the next level. Beginning with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda, drivers and teams can then move up to the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, and finally Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, which provides the opportunity for the champion to compete in a number of events of the next season’s Verizon IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500. The event will also include competition by the IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda.
The 2016 major events calendar will conclude Oct. 7-9 with the Pirelli World Challenge, one of North America’s longest continually running automobile racing series. The fast-paced weekend will consist of seven driver classifications in six classes of Grand Touring (GT) and Touring Car (TC) sports cars competing in a maximum 50-minute race format. The expected 100 entrants will take to the track representing more than a dozen car manufacturers in this competitive production-based race series.
CREDIT: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca