Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (previously known as Laguna Seca Raceway) is a paved road racing track used for both auto racing and motorcycle racing, originally constructed in 1957 near both Salinas and Monterey, California, USA. The current racetrack is 2.238 miles (3.602 km) in length with a 180 feet (55 m) elevation change. It has eleven turns, including the famous "Corkscrew" at Turns 8 and 8A. A variety of racing, exhibition and entertainment events are held at the raceway, ranging from superkarts to sports car racing to music festivals. The name Laguna Seca is Spanish for "dry lagoon". The area where the track is was originally a lake. The course was originally built around the lake, which has since dried up entirely. An artificial pond has since been added.
When not being used by the major events the track can be rented. Approximately twice a year the Sports Car Club of America holds regional club races for the San Francisco Region. Various clubs rent the track throughout the year for informal high performance driving schools that allow the public to drive their own cars at speed. The raceway has also played host to prototype testing of the Nissan GT-R in 2007. The track is featured in video games such as the Gran Turismo series (including the bike version Tourist Trophy), Forza Motorsport, and the MotoGP series. In a bid to compare real life versus video games, Jeremy Clarkson of the British automotive show Top Gear attempted to beat his Gran Turismo time of 1:41.148 in a Honda NSX by racing the real track in the same car in 2005. During the trials, Clarkson determined that the game omitted a few details of the track, and the game's physics allowed him to brake later when coming into turns than he could in real life.
Other Non Automotive Events:
Laguna Seca and the part of the old Fort Ord that is now Bureau of Land Management land annually host the Sea Otter Classic "Celebration of Cycling". As the first major event of the year – typically held in April – it kicks off both the road bike and mountain bike seasons. Several times each year, bicycles are permitted on the track for 2 hours. The admission fee is $10 per bicycle rider. On September 17, 1987, Pope John Paul II celebrated mass at Laguna Seca Raceway, where 72,000 people had gathered to see him. Laguna Seca has proven popular in computer games in simulations, with over twenty popular packages containing interpretations at the venue. Laguna Seca was featured in the movie The Love Bug, where Herbie competes in a fictional Monterey Grand Prix, as well as the qualifying sequences in the sequel film Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo.
- Major events: United States motorcycle Grand Prix
- American Le Mans Series
- Monterey Historic Automobile Races
- Surface: Paved
- Length: 2.238 mi (3.602 km)
- Turns: 11
- Lap record: 1'05.786 (Marc Gené, Scuderia Ferrari, Ferrari F2003-GA, 2012, Formula 1)