IMSA set at Laguna through 2023

IMSA’s annual visit to the Monterey Peninsula has been confirmed through 2023 as part of a new approval from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors.

“We are thrilled that the board of supervisors enthusiastically approved the IMSA agreement, and that many business leaders also voiced their support,” a track representative told RACER.

The session held on Tuesday eased tensions after the upcoming WeatherTech SportsCar championship race scheduled for September 10-12 was called into question by the Board over event fees and marketing expenditures by SCRAMP, the former track operators replaced by A&D Narigi, LLC, in 2020. Without the new approval, the upcoming race would not have been held.

According to the Monterey Herald, the request presented to the Board was to approve the “Monterey Sports Car Championship at Laguna Seca during the years 2021-2023 for an amount no more than $1.4 million.”

Referencing the last IMSA race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca held in 2019 with normal financial data after the 2020 race was postponed and run without fans due to COVID-19, the Herald added more details to the Board’s review of past practices in regards to SCRAMP’s handling of the series: “In 2019 the championship was held one week before the Indianapolis 500 and although ticket sales for the Laguna Seca event were up, the ‘overall financial results were not positive,’ officials say. One problem could have been that in 2019 ticket pricing was increased by up to 25% over 2018, which hurt attendance in 2019. Part of the problem may have originated from the less than $40,000 that was spent on marketing for the event, even though the agreement was for the promoter to spend $150,000.”

RACER understands the circuit’s ongoing plans with IMSA was the only matter raised for review by the Board; all other major events on the calendar, including September’s IndyCar weekend, remain confirmed and unchanged.

Under the direction of A&D Narigi, the hope is to re-establish IMSA as a race weekend that delivers a healthy crowd that brings a healthy bump in spending throughout the region by its participants and attendees. The 2021 season will also see the full implementation of Narigi’s new Laguna Seca Volunteers Association headed by Lee Ames, which supplants the SCRAMP organization’s wide network of volunteers that looked after the road course from 1957-2019.