Monterey Country has accepted the proposal from automotive aftermarket company WeatherTech to take over the naming rights of the Laguna Seca road course, starting in April. After the existing naming deal with auto manufacturer Mazda completes its term on April 1, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will be rebranded as WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and start a five-year agreement worth $5 million.
According to the Monterey Herald, an option to extend the contract for a second five-year term is also included in the deal.
Under a more peaceful and constructive relationship between Monterey County, which owns the circuit, and its long-term facility managers, the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), Laguna Seca has taken an upward turn as overdue infrastructure and property upgrades have been in motion. With the ongoing reinvestment of profits into the track and new annual investments from WeatherTech, a modernized, fan-friendly experience should be within reach by the end of the decade.
"Nobody could ask for a better partner than WeatherTech," SCRAMP's Steve Fields told the Herald. "This is an opportunity to expand our portfolio of partners."
In the switch from Mazda to WeatherTech, a particular area of development for Laguna Seca could be in its use as an automotive testing and benchmarking facility. With its branding attached to a specific automaker for the last 17 years, other manufacturers and even the automotive media have looked to other tracks for comparison tests and general promotions.
Under a neutral name like WeatherTech, which also happens to be one of the largest advertisers in the auto industry, promoting the track as a world-famous venue where lap records and pre-production R&D work can be completed is known to be among the county's goals.