In the American Le Mans calendar, there are three races that outshine a good portion of the other stops. The first is the 12 Hours of Sebring, then there's the last race of the season, the Petit Le Mans (which is a 10 hour race), then there's the six hour race in the hills of Monterey, California…
…at the historic Laguna Seca racetrack. It should also be noted that the track is no longer referred as Laguna Seca, but rather Mazda Raceway.
The American Le Mans race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is defined by many iconic things. First being that the track is nestled in the beautiful hills of Monterey.
Secondly, the ALMS circuit is filled with a huge variety of beautiful race cars. This Gulf livery clad Lola Aston Martin being one of the prime examples of this.
Then there's the reason why almost anyone would attend a race at this iconic race track: the infamous corkscrew –a daunting downhill chicane which is considered one of the most challenging set of corners in motorsports.
Though the track overall is difficult. Throughout the two practice sessions on Friday, cars kept flying off track or simply started breaking down.
The track workers were put to work immediately after each crash or oil leak.
Even during the practice sessions, all the drivers were driving all out. There were a few close calls throughout the morning and afternoon practice sessions. Luckily, during qualifying, all the drivers like to put as much space between them an the other cars to work in some solid lap times.
The Lola Aston Martin, it looks fantastic and sounds amazing with its 6 liter V12.
During an ALMS race, the track is filled with five different classes: LMP1, LMP2, LMPC, GT, and GTC.
It's always astonishing to see when a prototype pass GT-C Porsches.
The Risi Competizione Ferrari F58, 'nuff said.
The Jaguar RSR XJS is one of the cooler looking GT cars on the grid, but sadly, the team seem to have some gremlins with the car that they just can't seem to squash.
Of the many race tracks I've had the opportunity to visit in my time, Laguna Seca will always be one of my favorites.
The use of the pit garages add a rather large level of professionalism to the race.
Having a garage gives teams the chance to close all the doors, and hide away from other teams' prying eyes and also the hustle and bustle of the public. The Falken Tire team used this privacy on many occasions on Friday.
Sharing the same garage space with the Falken Tire Porsche were these three classic looking race cars. Later in the day ALMS announced a new support series, the Unlimited Racing Championship, which these cars would be racing in.
URC is a heritage Can-Am series using modern built Can-Am cars which look suspiciously like old McLaren racers….
The guys at the Falken tire rig were busy all day prepping and mounting tires for qualifying and also the race the next day.
All the serious race prep hustling didn't stop their tire guy, Edo Ichikawa, from having a bit of a fun by showing off his impressive farmers tan.
I was rather blown away by the artwork of the Tequila Patron Ferrari rig. This sort of rig art reminds me of rigs seen in the NASCAR paddock.
Their paddock setup is equally, if not more, impressive than their rig decor.
There was much business to take care of on Friday afternoon as it was qualifying day.
After the dust and action cleared from the GT class qualifying, the #56 BMW stood in pole position with the #4 Corvette sitting in second and the #55 BMW hailing in 3rd.
The #3 Corvette, which was driven by Olivier Beretta (Tommy Milner's Corvette co-driver) during qualifying, qualified 8th on the grid.
The Falken Tire Porsche, which was driven by Bryan Sellers, qualified 9th.
If the last few laps of the same race two years, at Mazda Raceway, ago proved anything, it is the fact that anything can happen in the time span of six hours. We're looking forward see what unfolds during tomorrow's race.