Eye Candy: Nicole takes on Laguna Seca

1970 Ferrari 512M
1970 Ferrari 512M at Laguna Seca | Nicole James photos

After months of anticipation and enduring a solid week of seemingly endless days, Monterey Car Week has passed and I’m left with over 6,000 photos and memories that will last a lifetime.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO descending the Corkscrew

Back home, people have asked if I was at The Quail or the Pebble Beach concours, the things for which Monterey Car Week is known. I smile and tell them I wasn’t, but that I was doing something 10 times more exciting than looking at some old cars parked on grass.

I love motorsports and going fast so being assigned to cover the Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was a dream come true. Laguna Seca is an iconic race track that you dream to visit watching videos, reading articles and after spending hours at a game console controller racing down the Corkscrew.

At Laguna, I caught myself thinking more than I care to admit: “How is this even real life right now?”

It’s not everyday you find yourself not only at a place you’ve wanted to visit for years, but here I was, trackside.

1988 Porsche 962 Group C
1988 Porsche 962 Group C

And the vintage racing was awesome as well. I have always been infatuated by the GT Prototype Le Mans-style cars but I had never had the opportunity to see them in person until I went to my first vintage racing event earlier this year at Fontana, California.

But vintage racing not only had those cars but also gives Indy cars and F1 cars and other historic racing cars a second life while providing new enthusiasts the opportunity to see and experience cars they otherwise would not.

I enjoyed story hunting at Laguna Seca because so many of the cars had such colorful histories and, in some cases, the event truly was a reunion, such as for the seven Trans-Am cars that had all raced against one another in 1972.

My favorite thing was to watch and photograph the pre-war cars taking on the Corkscrew. From where I watched, you could see the drivers hanging on for dear life, flying down the corkscrew on these rare machines.

Photos by Nicole James

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