WeatherTech Raceway, Laguna Seca
First Orion Monterey Motorsport Celebration
1 – 3 April 2022
Classic Mediterranean Spring conditions on the California coastline!
Classic Mediterranean Spring conditions on the California coastline set the scene to a beautiful weekend of racing with Masters Formula Atlantic Plus and Masters Endurance Legends USA at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with GT Celebration. Over the weekend, morning fog gave way earlier each day to warmer temperatures and blue skies as drivers, families and fans were out to enjoy the racing through green hills around the legendary circuit.
Our drivers and teams enjoyed great racing and a fantastic atmosphere over the weekend!
Masters Endurance Legends – Race 1
Spanning a 14 second difference in qualifying times, the Masters Endurance Legends race brought together eras of race cars in a fun and friendly competitive race lasting 27 laps in the early evening hours at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca. At the front, the Proto 2 class field of Jim Devenport (Oreca 03 LMP2) and Stephen Romak (Pescarolo Morgan) battled with each other for the overall win, and occasionally saw an opportunistic Spencer Trenery (Riley MK XI Gen 1 DP) approaching from behind while all three closed the distance to lapped cars.
“If there were more cars in this class, I would have been poking at you more often” Trenery joked with Devenport and Romak after the race. Several drivers noted Trenery’s ability to use lapped traffic to his advantage.
There was plenty of early drama right from the start, however, when Tom Mueller’s Corvette C7R took several places due to a jumped start, and again when John McKenna (Really & Scott DP MK II) pitted too early. Both drivers would serve drive through penalties. Farther back, Douglas Baron (991GT3R) and Loren Beggs (Porsche 996 RSR) battled with each other, trading fastest class laps with each other.
Loren had a lot to say about his experience running in the GT2-2 class at Masters Endurance Legends today, and he shared:
“I got a reasonable start and I had a bunch of good laps in there pretty close to the qualifying times to begin with and the prototype car guys were super nice… a good clean race and amazing weather here at Laguna Seca… We had a pretty good and consistent drop off with the tires, the track was good, it was nice and cooled down a little bit at the end of the day so that made it easy on the car… Everybody here has a super cool car and the people here treat you with respect, but its still good racing.”
Masters Endurance Legends – Race 2
The Modern Endurance Legends cars got Sunday’s first race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca off to a good start, and at the top of the timesheets another Jim Devenport (Oreca 03 LMP2) and Stephen Romak (Pescarolo Morgan) battle was going to be in store following yesterday’s battle. Romak took fastest lap again with a 1:23.302s but not the victory as Devenport won the overall. Spencer Trenery (Riley MK XI Gen 1 DP) did well again fighting his way up to third.
With todays starting grid based on yesterday’s results, two drivers found themselves at the back with everything to do over the 40 minute, 22 lap race.
Charles Persico’s Ginetta 57 experienced a clutch failure during race 1 yesterday, but he was able to compete in the GT3-3 class today in his Audi R8 GT3 LMS Ultra, starting from the back of the grid to finish a respectable 11th out of 15 cars overall, and 3rd in his class. “I hopped in the Audi for the first time. It’s always a little apprehensive the first time you’re going to go into a race, but I progressively went faster and faster, so it’s always fun…I’m just glad I got the track time today… They both have a ton of downforce but its easier to drive the Audi because the sight lines are so much better.”
Starting from the back also was Mark Brannon in his Ligier JS P315, which was damaged during yesterday’s race. Today was just his third race outing in the car, and shared: “We started last after getting knocked out yesterday, but it was fun working our way through the field.” Finishing 5th overall and 1st in his class, Mark felt good about the result: “We finished about where I should have qualified so it’s probably about right, you know? Traffic is challenging, with 420hp vs 750hp on some of those big guys, it’s hard to get around them… but all in all pretty good day, better than yesterday for sure…”
During the race, Marcus Jewell pitted his Porsche 997R with steering issues, but completed the race just ahead of John McKenna (Riley & Scott DP MK II).
Masters Formula Atlantic Plus – Race 1
After a close finish at the front in qualifying earlier today saw Danny Baker (Ralt RT1) take pole with Wade Carter (March 76B), Stephen Romak (March 80A) not far behind, the battle at the front began with plenty of promise from Todd Willing (March 78B) and Dwight Matheson (March 76B) in pursuit. Gray Gregory, following his Chevron B39’s right front brake failure in qualifying, was able to make the grid with plenty of time to spare after a loose bleed screw was identified as the issue.
Pre-grid went smoothly and the entire field was off to a rolling start when, on lap 3, Gregory’s right front wheel began to smoke just before of the pit entrance, brake caliper failure the cause this time.
Behind him and heading for turn 11 were Dalmo de Vasconcelos (Ralt RT1) and Kyle Buxton (March 77B) running alongside. The two came together in a racing incident that took both cars out of the race as they approached the main straight.
The safety car was out on track quickly, and both drivers were unhurt as their cars finally cleared with just minutes to spare in the timed event. With 10 laps completed and 7 under the safety car, the race was restarted and Dwight Matheson (March 76B) ended up finishing a place higher in P5, and Chris Bender (March 76B) managed to advance two positions from 10th on the grid to P8 at the checkered flag. Danny Baker took the win and fastest lap at 1:26.402s with Wade Carter finishing just .445s behind him in second.
De Vasconcelos’ Ralt RT1 was retired for the remainder of the weekend with a cracked transmission case, but fortunately was able to loan a usable front caliper that will have Gray Gregory able to compete in tomorrow’s running.
Masters Formula Atlantic Plus – Race 2
The final race for Masters Historic Racing this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca ran smoothly for the Masters Atlantic Plus group, with race winner Danny Baker (Ralt RT1) completing 18 laps under steady pressure from Wade Carter (March 76B).
Baker took fastest lap with a 1:24.830s but holds his competition in regard: “Wade being behind me keeps me moving … There’s no chance for me to take it easy so I tried to turn a qualifying lap every lap, and after the 15th lap I was just looking at the starter like… can you please throw the checkered flag? I’m beat! I’d almost thrown the car a couple times, my rears had gone off but it was super fun.”
Unlike yesterday, today’s race was free of safety cars, but a few cars were unable to finish a full race distance.
Early on, Dwight Matheson felt a drop in power with his March 76B and retired the car on lap 4, while Steve Cook (Chevron B27) continued worked his way up to 3rd overtaking Stephen Romak (March 80A) and then Todd Willing (March 78B) when an exhaust leak spotted on the car forced him out of the running late in the race on lap 16.
Tom Minnich (Ralt RT4) shared close racing in 6th behind Chris Bender (March 76B) until Bender went off the circuit 3 laps from the end at turn 7. Minnich went on to finish 5th with Gray Gregory’s Chevron B39 behind in 6th.
Gregory’s race today made up for his off in qualifying and late race retirement yesterday when a replacement brake caliper for his right front was found. After dealing with failures the previous two sessions, determination finally paid off for Goodson, who shared: “It finally was good today, brakes held in there the whole session. I got to where I could see Tom and Chris, and Chris went off so I made up some time there at the end.”