John Bowe has likened the Laguna Seca circuit to a “cross between Phillip Island and Bathurst” after enjoying his first laps at the circuit today.
The two-time Bathurst 1000 winner is competing in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion meeting at the famous Californian circuit, driving a 1965 Corvette Singray Coupe.
Bowe is one of 550 entrants at the meeting, featuring a range of historic race cars and past racing heroes.
After just one practice session, Bowe was blown away with the circuit and the atmosphere of the event.
“It’s like the Phillip Island Classic meeting on a massive dose of steriods,” Bowe told Speedcafe.com.
“It’s awesome. There are some incredibly significant cars here. Personally, it’s mind-boggling. From little Formula Juniors to IMSA Le Mans cars and GT cars. There’s 47 Shelby Cobras competing … I’ve never seen so many racing in my life.
“They call it vintage racing here, but it’s like nothing I’ve seen. There’s massive pantechs, awnings, BBQs and tables with flowers on them! It’s mega.
“And the circuit is terrific. It is like a cross between Bathurst and Phillip Island. I watched the MotoGP a couple of weeks ago, but the TV does the elevation changes no justice at all … similar to Bathurst.”
Bowe’s Singray Coupe, owned by car collector and close friend Joe Calleja, has a long history as an FIA GT race car. In recent times, Peter Brock drove it at the Goodwood Revival in 2006 – the last race meeting that Brock completed before his passing at Targa West in September 2006.
Event rules means that Bowe and his engineer Dick Savy aren’t exactly sure where he was classified at the end of his sole practice session, but Bowe says that he is close to the front of the pack.
“The car was quite good. We’ve made a couple of small adjustments, but you get more out of these historic cars by changing the way you drive, rather than fiddling with things,” Bowe said.
“They don’t publish times at this meeting, because they don’t want anyone thinking that lap times is too important!
“After I do my second practice/qualifying tomorrow, they’ll tell me where I’m starting the race.
“There’s 38 cars in my category, and we think I’m in the first three or four, from what we can gather. There was a Shelby 350 GTR who was the fastest, but we think I was second or third.
“The meeting is run really well, everyone is helpful … I should have come over here 30 years ago!”
Bowe will contest another practice/qualifying session tomorrow (Friday), before racing on Saturday and Sunday.