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Infrastructure improvements underway at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca


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#1
Johnny D

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Monday, 03 July 2017

 

The partnership between the County of Monterey and Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) continues to reap benefits for visitors enjoying the Laguna Seca Recreation Area. Eyes from around the world will be tuning in to watch this week's Motul FIM Superbike World Championship GEICO U.S. round where 21 riders compete for valuable world championship points on their lone appearance in North America. An additional 94 riders will swell the paddock who are competing in three classes of the MotoAmerica Honda Championship of the Monterey Peninsula.

 

What many will also see are the wide ranging improvements being made to the entire Monterey County-owned facility. Together, infrastructure improvements are on the fast-track to enhance everyone's experience.

 

County Board of Supervisors entered into a three-year management agreement with SCRAMP just six months ago and the results of the newfound partnership are quite evident.

 

"We have accelerated plans that became slightly dormant but are now being implemented. Perhaps the most notable for fans was the demolition of the paddock restrooms and showers," said Gill Campbell, CEO and general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "In the interim before the new replacement is built, we will have executive washrooms in their place, which are actually far nicer than the wooden building they replace."

 

In just six months, the following projects have been started or completed:

 

    Paddock Retrsoom - removed
    Paddock classroom – removed
    Paddock office – removed
    Spectator medical – removed and relocated
    Vendor services building – replaced
    Marketplace First Aid – removed and replaced
    Souvenir Store storeroom – removed and replaced
    Tower stairs – being replaced
    Campground restroom and shower – removed
    South Boundary Road maintenance
    Culverts repairs
    Painting of all buildings and offices

 

Among the projects that are on the immediate horizon are:

 

    Paddock restroom and showers
    New Start / Finish Bridge
    Track surface repaving
    Cruisin' Café replacement

 

"There are many more projects on the drawing board, but we are very pleased with the progress that has been made in a short period time. It is a thrill to see all the activity, increased number of campers and an overall increase in use of the Laguna Seca Recreation Area," Campbell said.

 

The remaining Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca major event season continues with Monterey Pre-Reunion, Aug. 12-13; Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Aug. 17-20; Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix (IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship), Sept. 21-24; and Pirelli World Challenge, Oct. 12-15.


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#2
Johnny D

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Friends of Laguna Seca re-enters talks

 

Six months of peace and progress made between the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) and Monterey County at Laguna Seca has taken a step backward.

 

A report from the Monterey Herald on Wednesday confirms the county has resumed discussions with the non-profit "Friends of Laguna Seca" (FLS) organization to run the road course. This comes just six months after a three-year deal was signed with SCRAMP to continue running the facility while making wholesale improvements to the aging property.

 

It also comes after the county spent three months, from Oct.-Dec. 2016, attempting to hand control of the track to FLS before negotiations were ultimately abandoned.

 

By all accounts, the strengthened ties between SCRAMP and the county, which included forgiving some old debts owed to the country and repayment of others, has resulted in the swift commencement of renovation projects that appear to be happening on a continual basis.

 

Triggered by a former leader on the county's board of supervisors who insisted upon removing SCRAMP as Laguna Seca's track manager, two separate searches were held in an effort to displace SCRAMP, the non-profit group that has run the circuit since its formation in 1957.

 

Years of strife came to a head late in 2016 when the FLS group, formed by a team of wealthy local business owners, was awarded the right to sign a long-term management contract. The FLS was chosen over bids tendered by SCRAMP in a partnership with the International Speedway Corporation, and the World Automotive Championship of California group formed by Long Beach Grand Prix founder Chris Pook.

 

As part of the FLS proposal, a vast sum of money – in the tens of millions – was promised as a charitable gift to overhaul the facility. As weeks and months went by without a signed contract being produced, details emerged suggesting the FLS group did not indeed possess the large angel investment; it had a much smaller amount in hand and verbal commitments for the remainder.

 

With a change in supervisorial leadership taking place at the beginning of the year, and no contract in sight, a peace accord was established between the county and SCRAMP. By early February, both sides agreed to start fresh and get Laguna Seca back to a place where it would generate income for the county and take a step into the new millennium through widescale infrastructure improvements.

 

According to The Herald, FLS president Ross Merrill says there are "ongoing discussions" with the board of supervisors and "said Friends of Laguna Seca is still proposing a 25-year agreement with a $50 million financial investment in Laguna Seca, as well as providing leadership for SCRAMP as the facility manager and the large cadre of community volunteers who devote countless hours to the raceway operation."

 

News of the board's re-engagement with the FLS was not received in a positive manner by the Monterey County Hospitality Association (MCHA). The support for SCRAMP from the MCHA is noteworthy, considering it once backed the board to search for an alternative to SCRAMP in 2015.

 

Further details provided by The Herald suggest the FLS is the only party the county is negotiating with for a long-term contract, and that per the three-year contract in place with SCRAMP, the board can terminate its agreement with a 60-day notice. This week's track management conversations with the FLS were held in a private session.

 

SCRAMP president Michael Smith would also like to be included in those closed-door board meetings, and cited the advancements made with its new contract as evidence his group should remain in its current position.

 

"At the end of the day we're focused on what's best for the raceway, and we believe we've demonstrated a management agreement is cleaner and more efficient," he said. "We've completed more in the past six months than we did in the past six years."


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#3
Johnny D

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SCRAMP replaces Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca CEO

 

SCRAMP Board of Governors President Michael Smith has been appointed temporary CEO of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, replacing long-time General Manager and CEO Gill Campbell.

 

Under the reorganization, which SCRAMP (Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula) described in its announcement as “part of an ongoing evolution of operations” at the track, Campbell will move into a new role as Senior Vice President of Event Operations. A search for a permanent new CEO is underway.

 

"This is a response to the needs and plans of the new SCRAMP that began operation under a new agreement and structure with the County of Monterey in January," Smith said in a statement. "It will enable SCRAMP to address the increased demands of running the entire Laguna Seca Recreation Area while staying focused on an ambitious plan for racing and non-racing events at the facility.

 

"The realignment allows Gill and her team to focus solely on ensuring future success to meet SCRAMP and Monterey County's shared vision for the future of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca."

 

In the same statement, Campbell said that her new position will play to her strengths in event organization and promotion.

 

“"I'm looking forward to doing what I do best, which is to organize and promote events, starting with the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion in August," she said. "Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a world-class facility that has a rich history of bringing once-in-a-lifetime events to the Monterey Peninsula for the shared enjoyment of fans and the community alike and we're going to continue that tradition."

 

A protracted debate over the Monterey circuit’s track management ended in January with the local county extending SCRAMP’s deal through to at least 2019.


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We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Beta-Tester - Assisted us with beta testing the website. Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver Novel Approach - When a paragraph simply won't do... Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill - Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill Instigator - Made a topic or post that inspired other Make it Rain - Made Paypal donation of $100+




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