SONOMA, Calif. (May 5, 2011) - Of the 400 historic cars entered in the Second Annual Sonoma Historic Motorsport Festival, June 4-5, at Infineon Raceway, more than 250 hail from the State of California, a hot bed for collectors of exotic street cars and significant race cars. The event features the McLaren marque, which was a dominant force in the Can-Am, Indy 500 and Formula 1 racing series in the '60s and '70s.
While nearly 190 of the entries list Northern California as home, the remaining are from the Los Angeles and Central California areas. Included in the San Francisco-based cars are a 1934 Bugatti T-59, owned and driven by Charles McCabe, a 1977 McLaren M23 and a 1963 Lotus 27 Formula Junior driven by Danny Baker, and Len Auerbach's 1938 Aston Martin.
Jim Gallucci, of Danville, will race his 1969 McLaren M8C, while Peter Giddings, also of Danville, will compete in his 1931 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 and 1956 Maserati 250F.
From nearby Yountville, home of the world-renowned restaurant, French Laundry, Steve Cook will race his 1964 March 741 and 1968 McLaren M6B. Jeremy Nickel, also from Yountville, will pilot his 1963 Lotus 27 Formula Junior in one of the 13 races groups that will compete during the weekend. Jeffrey O’Neill, who lives and works in the heart of the wine country in Kentfield, has entered his 1957 Maserati 250F, and Frank Altamura, of Napa, will drive his 1966 Porsche 911S.
Petaluma will be represented by the 1974 Shadow DN4A, entered and driven by Fred Cziska, and the 1963 Corvette of Dan Payne, while the quaint seaside town of Sausalito boasts six entries, including a 1934 Lagonda Rapier (owned and driven by Alan Patterson), David Swig's 1957 Montsterati Special, and Howard Swig's 1931 Chrysler CD8 LeMans.
The L.A.-area entries include Bob Lee's 1968 McLaren M6B (of Rolling Hills), Mitch McCullough's 1956 Lotus 11 LeMans (of Redondo Beach), and from Santa Monica, Dave Hagan's 1960 Cooper T-52 Formula Junior.
"The state of California is well represented at this year's event," said Steve Earle, president of General Racing, Ltd., who for four decades has devoted his life to organizing historic car racing events. He is the originator of the Monterey Historic Automobile Races and the Wine Country Classic that preceded the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival.
"Many of the owners from Sonoma, Petaluma, San Rafael, Sausalito, Novato and Mill Valley could actually drive their cars to Infineon Raceway, and I suspect a few of them will. After all, a drive through the Northern California countryside can only enhance the adventure that will face these owners when they get on track at the stunningly beautiful Infineon Raceway. We expect great late spring weather." A complete entry list may be found at www.sonomahistoric.com.
The weekend’s festivities will also include the Historic Race Car Festival in the Sonoma Plaza Saturday evening benefiting Speedway Children’s Charities, and other special programs to be announced.
A popular event away from the racing action is the Wine Country Pavilion at Infineon Raceway, where the best food and wine from the Sonoma and Napa Valleys may be sampled. Admission to the Pavilion is FREE with an event ticket. Local restaurants participating in the Wine Country Pavilion are Girl in the Fig, Botanical Bakery and CIA Greystone. The wineries include Tin Barn, Dawn Hughes, Frank and Andy Aspina, Clarbec Wines, Sidejob Cellars, Rielle Wines, Meadowcroft, Bennet Lane and Korbel. Additional restaurants and wineries are expected to participate and will be announced in the near future.
Additional information may be found at www.sonomahistoric.com. Companies interested in supporting special events during the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival, should contact General Racing Ltd., at 805-686-9292.
Having dominated the Can-Am series from 1967 through 1971, McLaren was considered unbeatable. There were also McLaren victories at the Indianapolis 500 for American drivers Mark Donohue (1972) and Johnny Rutherford (1974, 1976). In Formula 1 racing, the McLaren name is equally famous. Only Ferrari has competed in more F1 races in the modern era, and McLaren’s driver lineup has included the very best the sport has produced including Bruce McLaren, Peter Revson, Denny Hulme, James Hunt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Fernando Alonzo and current world champion drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
Today, the McLaren Group, headquartered in Woking, Surrey, England, is comprised of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 Racing Team and McLaren Automotive. In 2011, the company will introduce its new road car, the McLaren MP4-12C. The carbon fiber composite chassis with a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine develops 600 horsepower and has a top speed of 200 mph. The seven-speed gear box with paddle shifter will accelerate from 0 to 124 mph in under ten seconds. The MP4-12C’s shapely form and extraordinary performance pays tribute to McLaren’s racing heritage.
About General Racing, Ltd.:
General Racing Ltd. was formed in 1970 to encourage the restoration, preservation and the use of historic sports and racing cars. Founder Steven J. Earle envisioned an event that would unite former racing greats with enthusiastic amateurs who owned some of the rare motorcars that once graced road courses worldwide. Earle’s vision forever changed the vintage racing landscape.
In 1974, with the support of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance organizers, he launched the inaugural one-day Monterey (Calif.) Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca Raceway. It was a huge success and attracted a field of 66 cars.
It also sparked the interest and vision for what would become the world’s premier historic auto race. In 1975 it became a two-day affair and since then has grown to a full three-day event.
The success of the Monterey Historics spawned additional General Racing events, including the Portland (Ore.) Historic Automobile Races, the Coronado (Calif.) Speed Festival, special events at the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Kansas City Historic Grand Prix, as well as the Wine Country Classic, the forerunner to the current Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival.
In addition, General Racing assisted the organizational team from 2001-2008 at the Lime Rock Park (Conn.) Vintage Festival, held over Labor Day weekend.
Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival
WHAT: Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival
WHEN: June 4-5, 2011
CIRCUIT: 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course
TICKETS: $40 day/$60 weekend; Youth (Ages 13-20): $20 day/$30 weekend; Children 12-and-under FREE and parking is FREE. Each ticket includes entry to the Wine Country Pavilion and souvenir program
INFORMATION: 800-870-RACE, infineonraceway.com/historics, ticketmaster.com
Accredited media wishing to cover the event may apply for event media credentials at www.smicredentials.com