Rolex Sports Series

Continental Tire Sports Car Festival

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Article and Images by: Randy Jones/SMM Staff Photographer

MONTEREY, CALIF.--On September 7 through 9, 2012, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca hosted the 14th scheduled race of the 2012 Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series. The DSpeedway motorsports magazineaytona Prototypes (DP) and the Rolex Series GT Sports Cars took on this infamous and challenging Monterey track, displaying their amazing power and agility throughout the weekend.


The third generation Daytona Prototypes unveiled an all new look in 2012, with the introduction of new bodies that clearly displayed eye-catching brand recognition.


The Chevrolet Corvette DP and the new Riley MK XXVI DP allowed teams a choice of engines; a Ford or a BMW.


In the Rolex Series GT Class, the almighty Ferrari and cross-town rival Audi, joined in fierce competition with the likes of Porsche GT3's, Chevrolet Corvettes, Camaros, Ford Mustangs, Dodge Vipers, BMW M3's and Mazda RX-8's.


It's 7AM, Sunday morning, September 9th, following two days of practice and qualifying. As the Monterey Bay early morning fog burns off into the atmosphere, a bright yellow ball rises in the east, bringing with it beautiful blue skies awash in temporary peace and tranquility. Car covers are slowly removed and the cars begin to stir after a night of hibernation. One by one, the engines are brought to life and the teams do their obligatory morning warm ups, tune ups and final adjustments. Hearing the engines run up, the team members amp up their activity in preparation for this day's final race. The rest of us feel the excitement, the tension and the edge of competition building in the air. A scheduled 20 minute warm up gets the drivers and cars ready for the 2 hour and 45 minute enduro that starts at high noon.


As the clock inched toward 11:00AM, the fans were greeted with a driver autograph session followed by a stroll on to pit lane. Many fans walked to their favorite cars and teams, taking the opportunity to be up close and personal with cars, drivers and, teams. From little ones to retired ones, it was a great time to have your picture taken.

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With a Mardi Gras band providing entertainment in the background, being on the grid became a festive moment. A few minutes later, the National Anthem is played and the skies are filled with WWII aircraft. At this point, the grid was cleared and the 40 plus racing machines headed out for a recon lap to take their respective positions for the rolling start. Precisely at noon the green flag dropped and the race was finally on.


After a record breaking 111 lap race that only had 2 full course yellow flags, the Spirit of Daytona, the # 90 Corvette piloted by Antonia Garcia and Richard Westbrook took the win with a 3.878 second lead. They were followed by John Fogarty and Alex Gurney in the # 99 Corvette DP sponsored by Gainsco. The # 8 Riley Ford Starworks Motorsports machine driven by Ryan Dalziel and IRL Driver Alex Tagliani came in third. The Ganassi/Sabates Riley #01 Telmex BMW team with Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas managed a sixth place finish, which tightened up the points for the grand finale at Lime Rock Park in 3 weeks.


In the GT Series, the # 43 Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8 with Dane Cameron and Wayne Nonnamaker took the checkered flag for their class. Leading over the 2nd place team of Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato driving the # 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Racing with their Ferrari 458. The second place finish gives the Ferrari Team the first GT Championship of 2012 as the result of 3 class victories and 8 top positions in 12 starts. This was enough to earn the Ferrari team their 3rd Manufacturers Title. Rounding out the field, Andy Lally and John Potter brought home the 3rd place trophy in the # 44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3.


Complete racing results can be found at the links appearing below;


Racing Results link: www.grand-am.com/scheduleresults/rolex.aspx


Visit Grand Am: www.grand-am.com




   
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Klay Thompson Named Grand Marshal
of GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma


SONOMA, Calif. (Sept. 13, 2017) – Golden State Warriors All-Star Klay Thompson has been named Grand Marshal of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Sonoma Raceway, Sept. 15-17.


Thompson, a shooting guard for the reigning NBA Champions, was selected in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft by Golden State with the 11th overall pick. In 2014, he and teammate Stephen Curry set a then-NBA record of 484 combined three-pointers in a season, earning the pair the nickname the "Splash Brothers". 


Thompson is a three-time NBA All-Star and a two-time All-NBA Third Team honoree. In 2015, he helped lead the Warriors to their first NBA Championship since 1975. Thompson then helped the Warriors return to the NBA Finals for a third straight year in 2017, winning his second NBA Championship.


In his role as Grand Marshal of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Thompson will take part in pre-race activities on Sunday, Sept. 17, give the official command of, "Drivers, Start Your Engines" and wave the green flag. Thompson will also enjoy a high-speed lap around the road course with racing legend Mario Andretti in a two-seat Indy car. This will mark his first visit to a motorsports event.


“I am beyond excited to be Grand Marshal for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma,” said Thompson. “I have heard so many good things about this race, and I can’t wait to see everything up close in person.”


Thompson is extremely active with Warriors community outreach programs and has been recognized off the court for his efforts in the community. He received the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for November 2014 and the Alvin Attles Community Impact Award in April 2015 in recognition of his efforts to make a positive impact on the lives of underserved youth in the Bay Area.


“Klay is a core member of one of the greatest sports teams in Bay Area history. He's a true champion and we're excited he will be with us to help crown the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion this Sunday,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager.


For more information or to purchase tickets for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, including preferred parking, garage access, pit and pre-race passes, visit www.sonomaraceway.com/indycar or call 800-870-7223. Kids 12 and under are admitted FREE all weekend and parking is FREE.


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GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Verizon IndyCar Series Season Finale

WHEN: Sept. 15-17
CIRCUIT: 12-turn, 2.38-mile road course
2016 WINNER: Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske)
INFORMATION: 800-870-RACE (7223), sonomaraceway.com/indycar
SOCIAL MEDIA: @RaceSonoma; #GoProGP

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June 2-4


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NASCAR Weekend
June 23-25


NHRA Division 7 drag races, presented by Korbel 
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Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals
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Sept. 29-Oct. 1


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