Last weekend I headed out to Laguna Seca to check out the Rolex series with my brother, Steve. This series is the competition for my usual favorite, the ALMS.
The two series' are similar in that they are timed endurance races for prototypes as well as production cars. The main difference is that the Daytona class prototypes in the Rolex series are much more standardized. The advantage is lower cost to the teams, therefor, more teams and better racing. The downside is all the cars look the same with less exotic technology.
Another aspect of standardization is the focus is more on the drivers than the manufacturers and the Rolex series has some interesting drivers. David Donohue is the son of the late, great Mark Donohue, my old favorite. Alex Gurney is the son of legendary Dan Gurney. Max "Mad Max" Angelelli and Scott Pruett are also familier to race fans.
Steve and I took up our customary positions at the entrance to turn 2 to watch the start. Turn 1 is a dogleg left-hander and hardly counts as a corner. The straight between 1 and 2 is the fastest part of the track. Turn 2 is one of the slower parts of the track, so there's a lot of passing and door handle scratching that goes on there, especially at the start.
There were very few yellow flags, but after the fist one, we moved to turn 5 and got there in time for the restart. It's a good place to watch, but thanks to the double fencing, not a good place to shoot video. One of these days, I'll look into trying to finagle a press pass.
Towards the end, we crossed the pedestrian bridge, stopping briefly at turn 4 on our way to turn 10. This corner is a high bank right-hander and very fast. From a driver's perspective, the straights going into and out of turn 10 are the set-up for turn 11. Turn 11 is a tight hairpin that leads onto the front straight and the start/finish line. If you're going to make a move on the guy in front of you, this is your last chance.
A couple of yellow flags late in the race bunched up the field and made for a close finish. For the record, Gurney's kid won. I still prefer the ALMS, but I'm starting to like this series too now.