I have a lot of anticipation this week for the upcoming Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It’s an event that I’ve heard about for many years, and this is my first opportunity to go out and be a part of it—not just as a visitor, but as an actual participant!

Mazda invited me to be a part of the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, driving one of the GT cars from their collection. It’s a 1989 Mazda MX-6, which ran in the IMSA GTU class. It has a rich racing pedigree with numerous 24 Hours of Daytona wins and class championships.

This is me at Lime Rock in the mid-80s. Before I could drive, I had to settle for playing in the dirt!

This is me at Lime Rock in the mid-80s. Before I could drive, I had to settle for playing in the dirt!

I’ve been to Mazda Raceway numerous times, but always for a contemporary racing series, so this will be a different landscape. Typically, when I go out there, I’m always thinking about the now, but this weekend will be a chance to look back, too.

When I started racing Spec Miata, our first engine was built by Dennis Shaw, our local engine builder. Dennis was a part of Team Highball, which was a factory Mazda team in the same era as the MX-6. While I was at his shop, I’d listen to his sports car racing stories about some of the cars I’ll be around this weekend, including the one I’m actually driving. It’s remarkable to think that I when I first heard about those cars, I had no idea I would someday get to drive one on track.

Certainly the MX-6 is going to be a different experience as I try to learn the nuances of a 28-year-old car, but I’m excited to discover the differences between the cars of today versus the cars of that time period.

I can imagine that a lot of aspects will be similar. After all, driving a racecar is driving a racecar! At the same time, things like electronics and technology have come a really long way, so it will be fun to experience what it was like in the earlier days of IMSA sports cars. Next week, check back for my comparison of driving a modern car and a car that was racing during my childhood.