Seven years after having attended the Monterey Historics for the first time, I can now happily cross the event off the bucket list. What an amazing experience with even more amazing people. I want to especially thank the VIPS crew, Z Car Garage, Randy Jaffe, Classic Datsun, Ermish Racing, and all others that helped me make this happen. I am hoping that I will be able attend this event for many more years to come.
We will start with the Pre-Reunion weekend. The Pre-Reunion is often seen as a less crowded weekend, where a vast majority of the cars competing in the Reunion weekend come out to test their priceless machines before flogging them in front of thousands of historic race fans. For me, I wanted to soak the two weeks in as much as possible. We arrived to drop off the car Wednesday afternoon, meeting our pit mates Randy Jaffe, Z Car Garage, and the rest of the BRE crew. The highlight of the weekend had to be following John Morton out onto the track for the first time in Randy Jaffe's BRE #46 car. This is the re-tubbed chassis that holds many of the original parts from the original chassis wrecked in 1977, including the motor, wheels, exhaust system, roll bar, gauges, etc. There is simply no other sport where you can head out on the same playing field as legendary drivers like John Morton! What an amazing experience.
The car practiced and qualified beautifully with no issues. However, during the first race on Saturday we ended up breaking a transmission. A big shot to the gut, as it was a rare Datsun Competition Option #2 box... a pretty penny. Luckily, I found out later that the countershaft and input shaft gears were swappable from a street box (probably the only replaceable items in the box!). All-in-all, it was a blast of a weekend. A great way to get my feet wet in preparation for the big stage come the next weekend.
Then came the weekend of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. We returned to the pits where our car awaited and had a great first couple days practicing and qualifying. On Friday evening, we joined the Dinner of the Vines with the other drivers. We sat at a table with none other than John Morton, Sylvia Wilkinson, and the #46 BRE car owner, Randy Jaffe. Just to have the opportunity to listen to John and Sylvia's experiences over the last 50 years was priceless. Here are some photos of the weekend in no particular order.
For the whole event, the VIPS Z took the fight to the Porsches - out-qualifying and beating cars valued 10x the little Datsun! We even qualified one place in front of celebrity Adam Carolla in his 'new to him' $4.8M Paul Newman / Dick Barbour 935. At our car's best, we were hitting 1:42's. Not too shabby for running the smallest tires and least aero on the track! Oh yeah and bias-ply tires to beat! We finished mid-pack, I'd like to think it was very respectful for a production car in an IMSA race. The final race of the weekend saw me battling with the green 911 RSR and Jonathan Ornstein in his Morris Clement '84 Championship 280ZX. Unfortunately, after only six laps into the race, we had a camshaft failure... leaving the VIPS 240Z stranded just after Turn 11. John Morton's 240Z would suffer a failure half-shaft failure shortly after, and Orstein's ZX would get black flagged for a loose body panel. The lone Datsun to finish was none other than Dave Stone in his Bon Temps / Bob Bondurant IMSA 260Z.
At the end of the day, this event was all about the people. Behind each car is a group of individuals who come together to ensure that their car can relive history out on the race track. Kudos to all the participants who worked tirelessly to ensure their cars were at their best. I look forward to 2018!