A Decisive Finale And Strong Ticket Sales: Monterey Speed Week

Features, Racing I By Peter Nelson I September 10, 2019

This weekend marks the finale of the WeatherTech Sprint Cup at Laguna Seca, with a slim margin of 1 point separating the leaders until the race ends on Sunday.

After 6 events this year, the 7th and final of its inaugural year will be a nail-biter in GT Daytona: Zacharie Robichon, co-driver of the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R has a 175-174 advantage in the standings over Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman, drivers of the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3.

For these drivers it’s a dream come true to have the deciding race at the beautiful, historic, NorCal track.

“I’ve been fortunate to go there a lot over the years, and anytime I get to go there, it still kind of gives me the goosebumps just thinking about the 4- or 5-year-old Trent playing Gran Turismo 2, Gran Turismo 3.” Trent Hindman told IMSA.com.

Photo: michaelshankracing.com

Rookie WeatherTech Championship driver Robichon, who’s also the reigning Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama champion, had similar things to say to IMSA.com:

“Being a track that’s quite famous, it’s been on all the video games for the last 20 years,” Robichon, 27, said. “I probably spent hours on it when I was 10 years old, so I kind of know the layout. But that doesn’t give you the real impression of what you’re going to get. I’ll approach it like I do any other track and be cautious when I get there, and lean on more experienced guys around me.”

Farnbacher and Hindman have two strategies on their minds. They could potentially win the Sprint Cup crown without winning one of the races, as long as they gain just two points on Robichon. The No. 86 duo could also claim the overall GTD title if they leave Laguna Seca with a gap of more than 35 points on the nearest competitor. They take a 37-point lead over Robichon into the weekend.

“Our focus is not, ‘Hey, we need to finish in this position to win a championship,” Hindman said. “Our focus is on we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and if we have the opportunity, we’re going to go for a race win.”

Whatever happens, it will be in front of a good amount of fanfare compared to previous years. According to this article on Racer.com, IMSA ticket sales increased 30% over 2018. This is partly due to the track offering discounted, bundle pricing for both the IMSA race and the IndyCar finale the following week, as well as handsome packages for sponsors and partners that include off-track entertainment; a strategy fine-tuned from hosting Monterrey Car Week. IMSA and IndyCar being back-to-back is proudly referred to as Monterey Speed Week.

Photo: the Drive

Speaking of IndyCar’s season finale, the September 20-22 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey marks IndyCar's return to the track after a 14-year hiatus. It is also considered by many to be the “spiritual home” of IndyCar, thanks to significant events in it’s history happening there. These include Mario Andretti’s farewell race, as well as Alex Zanardi’s legendary pass (in fact, the Pass) on Bryan Herta at The Corkscrew in the 1996 PPG IndyCar World Series season finale.

Get ready for two consecutive weekends that will surely be major highlights of the 2019 international motorsports season.

One more thing of note: check out this race preview of Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series 9 and 10 on IMSA.tv, which is also going down this weekend.

The Guide to Road Racing: Winding Road Magazine's ultimate guide to getting your start in racing.

Table of Contents

Related Articles

Ask Ross: Square Corners & Min Speeds

Historically, we at Winding Road have hosted Ross Bentley’s Speed Secrets on our site. Ross’s wisdom and expertise stacked alongside his ability to communicate to…

April 04, 2024
Volvo Restomods Soften My Heart

There are ways of leveraging the industrialized world within which we live to draw goodness out of everyone who encounters that which is produced. Struck…

April 04, 2024
EV Inspired Automobile Renaissance

By the start of the 20th Century, the development of consumer automobiles was in full swing, and, seemingly, everyone was throwing their hat in the…

March 14, 2024
BUGATTI TYPE 35: The Making of A Champion

Setting the blueprint for all Bugatti cars that followed, the Type 35 was designed and engineered like no other, and featured world-firsts to ensure unmatched…

March 14, 2024
Audi accelerates preparations for successful entry into Formula 1 and significantly expands its commitment

Supervisory Boards of Volkswagen AG and AUDI AG vote for complete takeover of Sauber Group Oliver Hoffmann takes over responsibility for Audi’s Formula 1 commitment…

March 08, 2024


Get the latest driving and racing news straight to your inbox.

no thanks

Begin typing your search above and press return to search.