Skip to main content

Racetrack legends explain why they risk million-dollar vintage Bugattis and Ferraris

Ever wonder who was crazy enough to suggest racing vintage cars on one of the toughest tracks in America? Well, Digital Trends got the download from two of the racers who took part in the original Rolex Motorsport Reunion 42 years ago.

Sir Jackie Stewart, the Scottish Formula One racing icon credited with three World Drivers’ Championships, and David Hobbs, the British racing driver with an expansive motor sport career in all levels of racing, were on hand for the latest Reunion run Saturday with first-hand experiences from the Reunion’s history.

In 1974, the story goes, Steve Earle decided to rent Laguna Seca Raceway the Saturday before Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and invited 20 pals with vintage racecars. Earle demanded only one thing from his attendees: Everyone had to drive their historic racers on track. This was no car show.

Read More: The Best Cars From This Year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed

Vintage racing wasn’t a new concept in the U.S., but it did lack the parameters to keep it safe, fun, and long-lasting. Earle’s event didn’t offer prizes for winning races, and prohibited contact between cars. Before long, automakers took interest. Alfa Romeo was the first “featured marque” of the Reunion in 1975, and other brands followed suit. This year, BMW took the spotlight at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to celebrate its Centenary, bringing with it dozens of its most successful racecars.

Rolex took over from Earle’s General Racing group as the event’s title sponsor in 2009. Of course, the luxury watch manufacturer is no stranger to motor sport involvement. Rolex supports Formula 1, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the 24 Hours at Daytona. Now the event includes two weekends of racing, including a Pre-Reunion, and spans over 100 years of vehicle models. It’s truly a sight to behold.

As the two racing legends bantered on a stage, pausing for the roar of cars to fade around turn 3, the frightening — and sometimes hilarious — stories of years past revealed the significance of this racing series. Vintage racing in the U.S. just simply wouldn’t be the same without it.

Miles Branman
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Miles Branman doesn't need sustenance; he needs cars. While the gearhead gene wasn't strong in his own family, Miles…
Mercedes-Benz G580 vs Rivian R2: Is the much cheaper Rivian actually better?
2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 from three quarter view.

Mercedes-Benz has finally taken the wraps off of the new "Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Technology." Yeah, it's a mouthful, but it's basically a new electric G-Wagon. It looks a lot like the G-Wagon you know and love, but with an electric powertrain and a battery. It's not the only electric SUV out there, however, and there are some great ones -- like the Rivian R2.

Both the Mercedes G580 and the Rivian R2 have a lot going for them, but they also approach the electric SUV slightly differently. Is one better than the other? I put the two head-to-head to find out.
Design
The approach that the two vehicles take to design is quite different -- and you might like one better than the other.

Read more
Mercedes-Benz G580 vs GMC Hummer EV: rugged EVs face off
2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 from three quarter view.

There's finally an electric G-Wagon. Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new vehicle, officially called the Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Technology, after months of rumors and camouflaged sightings. But it's not the only rugged electric vehicle out there. In fact, there are quite a few EVs that could be considered rugged -- like the Rivian R1S, the Rivian R2, and, of course, the Hummer EV.

But how do the Mercedes-Benz G580 and GMC Hummer EV compare? Is one a better rugged electric vehicle than the other? Here's a look at the two vehicles, head to head.
Design
If you love the look of recent-generation G-Wagons, you'll love the look of the new G580. To be sure, it isn't exactly the same as other recent models, but it's certainly close, with a squared-off design and sharp corners. It keeps the metallic ladder frame panels and the flat roofline, and it's available in a variety of colors.

Read more
The Kia EV3 could be the cheap electric SUV we’ve been waiting for
White Kia EV3

The Kia EV9 was already one of the cheapest ways to get an electric SUV, but now the company is taking things to the next level. After teasing the Kia EV3 last year, the car is now official.

The EV3 is built to be a slightly smaller, cheaper version of the EV9 -- following the path of the Rivian R2, which arrived after the Rivian R1S. It's certainly not as technologically advanced as the EV9, but it still looks unmistakably like a modern Kia, and is clearly a sibling of the larger SUV. On the outside, the vehicle has the same split taillights and very similar Tiger Face front. But it is quite a bit smaller. The vehicle will be available in nine finishes -- however only "Aventurine Green" and "Terracotta" are being announced right now.

Read more