Laguna Seca ’97 & ’98 –

Here’s another dip back into the DSC archives, this a story posted by Gary Horrocks back in December 2003 with Gary looking to a little historical perspective, as he looked back to two events at Laguna Seca, events that got his juices flowing.

As a historical note, the Circuit Manager when these two races happened was future IMSA President Scott Atherton.

Sportscar racing in the United States was possibly at an all-time low. Gone were the glory days of the IMSA Camel GTP Series, a victim of its own success. Instead of the all-conquering Toyota GTP, we were served upconverted GTP cars and later some decent racing between Ferrari 333SPs and Riley and Scotts. While there was some good racin’, it was not racing that captured the imagination of the fans. Unfortunately, there were many instances when the competitors outnumbered the paying spectators.

Us hardcore racing fans knew about another series, one that were mainly based on the other side of the Atlantic, and maybe it was a situation of feeling that the grass was greener over there, where some of it sure looked interesting. To me, the BPR was the series that caught my interest. The thought of seeing Ferrari F-40s race amongst various Porsches, Lotus and later the McLaren F1 was just too much. These were genuine, exotic, supercars and while they were street legal, they were also full of technology. ‘Why, oh why can’t they race here in the States?’, I kept asking. Little did I know, but later on, I was to get my wish.

Well, as is known to happen when a sportscar series gets popular, the FIA took over, just as it really got going. I’m not sure if it was the rules, the manufacturers, the personnel or the sanctioning body (or all four) that again let things get out of hand, but for 1997 and 1998, we were able to witness some spectacular machines, racing is truly an international series. Were the costs out of hand? Of course, they were. Would you expect anything else when the factories are…

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