California looks forward to marking 100 years of Le Mans



Next week, the Monterey Peninsula will once again be transformed into a motoring haven. Visitors from all corners of the globe will experience a spectacular array of tours, concours and races between Wednesday 17 and Sunday 21 August. This year, French endurance racing meets Californian tradition as activities centre on the highly anticipated 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023. From the prestige of the world’s oldest twice-around-the-clock race to the automotive excellence on show throughout the five days, Rolex supports the celebration of heritage and pioneering technology that makes these events truly timeless.
An association which first began in 2001, the brand has now been Title Sponsor of the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion since 2010, sharing a desire to preserve the legacies of racing heroes and those who so expertly maintain these vintage machines. The hallmarks of the four-day meeting are authenticity, period correctness and provenance, with 500 historic cars taking to the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca across 14 categories. From Wednesday 17 August, the undulating 3.602 kilometre (2.238 mile) track will be the scene of wheel-to-wheel racing as drivers face the challenging Corkscrew descent and double-apex Andretti Hairpin. This year’s competition features the largest ever assembly of winning or historically significant Le Mans cars, in appreciation of the legendary endurance race. As the only driver to have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans nine times and an emblematic figure in the world of motor sport, it is fitting that Rolex Testimonee Tom Kristensen will serve as this year’s Grand Marshal. Kristensen, who joined the Rolex family in 2010, says:“I’m immensely proud of the legacy of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and it makes me very nostalgic when I see these events in California recognizing it. Marking milestones and reflecting on the past helps you move forward, succeed and achieve new records. It’s what Rolex and motor sport are about – always improving and breaking down the boundaries of possibility. Taking part in such a wonderful occasion gives me the chance to reminisce on the remarkable time I had competing, and it also inspires me to look ahead to the future as technology rapidly develops.”
On Thursday 18 August, attention turns to the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance® presented by Rolex as more than 150 cars from across the decades begin a scenic journey along the Pacific Coast. Seeking to prove the roadworthy qualities of their vehicles, while also hoping to catch the judges’ eyes early on, entrants trace part of the famous 17-Mile Drive and navigate the dramatic coastline along Highway 1. They then return to the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links® – a venue that has hosted the U.S. Open on six occasions – for any finishing touches prior to Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®.
Reminiscent of the earliest, more intimate days of the Concours, the picturesque garden-party scene at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering returns on Friday 19 August. Set against the Santa Lucia mountain range, the greens of the Quail Lodge & Golf Club, Carmel, will welcome the new Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Phantom II for its debut on American soil, while the all-electric Meyers Max 2.0 will be unveiled as the brand reimagines an icon. A glorious step back in time, this year’s festivities will include the ‘50th Anniversary of the BMW M Division’, ‘All Things MINI Cooper’ and ‘70 Years of Jaguar and their Wins at Le Mans’.
Jenson Button, the 2009 FIA Formula 1® Drivers’ World Champion who recently joined the Rolex family of Testimonees and is set to attend the event, says:“The Quail is truly unique and inspires everyone who attends. I love seeing pioneering new designs and prototypes being launched by the resourceful and independent coachbuilders, alongside car manufacturers who are household names. Equally, the style and functionality at the heart of Rolex watchmaking is reflected here in the beauty and longevity of these classic cars. For me, it’s all about the stunning lines and seeing machines that are like carefully sculpted works of art.”
Staged on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links®, the grand finale of this car extravaganza takes place on Sunday 21 August. The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® is a glamorous showcase of automotive design and engineering, where the camaraderie among competitors and aficionados is always strong. As the much-anticipated Talbot-Lago Grand Sport takes to the field, the centennial of Lincoln’s luxury cars will also be honoured. Rolex first partnered the Concours in 1997, as a testament to the Swiss watchmaker’s commitment to uphold tradition and continuously innovate. As is the custom after the closing ceremony on Sunday afternoon, the winner of the Best of Show is awarded a Rolex Timepiece and a trophy in honour of their exceptional commitment to preserving motoring heritage.

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