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The Thrill of the Uphill: Review of the Second Annual Corkscrew Hillclimb at Laguna Seca

The Thrill of the Uphill: Review of the Second Annual Corkscrew Hillclimb at Laguna Seca

Corkscrew Hillclimb 2023: A Deep Dive Review

In the world of motorsports, few events have captured the imagination of fans and racers alike as quickly as the Corkscrew Hillclimb at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Returning for its second year on August 20, 2023, the event has already solidified its place as a must-see spectacle. With race cars and special guests taking on the counter-course from the Start/Finish line through the iconic Corkscrew, the event was nothing short of electrifying. This comprehensive review aims to delve into the various facets that make the Corkscrew Hillclimb a unique and exhilarating experience.

The Counter-Course Challenge

The Corkscrew Hillclimb is not your typical race. It defies the norms by running counter-course, offering a disorienting yet thrilling backwards run of Laguna Seca's most iconic section. This year, over 50 entrants took on the uphill battle, navigating from the start-finish line, through Turn 11, and finally ascending the iconic corkscrew. The steep uphill section tests the mettle of both the vehicle and the driver. As the surface flattens, the vehicle's suspension unloads, making the car incredibly light just when it needs to make a crucial right turn to cross the finish line. This sequence of weight transfer has led to some jaw-dropping moments, including cars lifting a tire off the ground and drivers struggling to maintain grip.

Notable Performances: The Speed Demons

Chris Locke, piloting his John Player Special Lotus 77—a car once driven by the legendary Mario Andretti—was the star of the show, clinching first place for the second consecutive year. But he wasn't the only one turning heads. The Drako GTE, a 1200-hp electric vehicle, shattered the production-car hillclimb record set by a Lucid Air last year with a staggering time of 37.0 seconds. Christine Sloss also made waves in the early session, setting a formidable time in her Ferrari SF90.

A Community Affair: Beyond the Race

The Corkscrew Hillclimb is not just about high-speed thrills; it's a community event that offers something for everyone. Families could enjoy a dedicated kid zone and a Ferris wheel, while car enthusiasts had the opportunity to participate in car corrals and parade laps. The atmosphere was further elevated by live music from DJs and a variety of food vendors and marketplaces.

Expert Opinions: The Evolution of the Event

Will Elkadi, publisher of the Monterey Car Week Guide, had this to say about the event: "I had the opportunity to see the first year of this race, and I must say, this second year is even more fun. What a great way to end Monterey Car Week, before viewing the Best of Show at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance."

Elkadi's sentiments echo the general consensus that the Corkscrew Hillclimb has not only maintained its initial excitement but has also managed to elevate the experience in its second year.

Ending Monterey Car Week on a High Note

The Corkscrew Hillclimb and Community Day served as the grand finale to a bustling Monterey Car Week at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The event ran on Sunday morning, the day after the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion wrapped up, making it a perfect conclusion to a week filled with automotive marvels.

Looking Ahead: The Future is Bright

With the third annual Corkscrew Hillclimb already scheduled for August 18 next year, the future looks promising for this unique motorsport event. The organizers have clearly found a formula that works, blending high-speed racing with community engagement in a setting that is both challenging and iconic.

Final Thoughts

The second annual Corkscrew Hillclimb at Laguna Seca was a resounding success, offering a unique blend of high-speed racing and community engagement. Whether you were there for the thrill of the race or the communal atmosphere, the event had something to offer for everyone. With plans already in place for its third installment, the Corkscrew Hillclimb is set to become a staple in the motorsports calendar, offering a unique challenge to drivers and a thrilling spectacle for fans.

To stay up-to-date with the Monterey Car Week schedule and make the most of your experience, check the Monterey Car Week Guide. Explore the upcoming events and auctions, and immerse yourself in the world of automotive excellence that Monterey Car Week 2024 has to offer.

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