Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca announced that for the first time ever, the three Legends of Laguna Seca and Yamaha World Champions: Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey and Kenny Roberts Sr. will join current Yamaha MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi on the world-renowned race track for a SuperKart Exhibition on July 2 to kick-off the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. The Grand Marshal for the Superkart Exhibition will be Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards.
Valentino Rossi Speaks…
"I think the karts in America are 250s which are very fast," said Valentino Rossi. "I remember the karts in Eastern Creek, Australia made a better lap time than Mick (Doohan) on the 500 — 280 kph (173 mph) in the straight."
Wayne Rainey Speaks…
"I don’t think we’ve all ever all been out on the track together, so that’ll be fun," said Wayne Rainey, fellow three-time World Champion and Legend of Laguna Seca. "We’re doing it for Yamaha, doing it for the fans, doing it for the race track. We plan on putting on a show."
Roberts raced with Lawson and Lawson has raced with Rainey, both on two and four wheels, but the quartet of world champions have never been on a racetrack together. The four World Champions will be in Yamaha TZ-250-powered SuperKarts for the exhibition.
"I’m confident that this will be just one more in a long list of historic events that has taken place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca," said Bob Starr, General Manager of National Communications for Yamaha Motor Company, "and I urge all motorsports fans to begin their Independence Day celebrations just a little early and join us in this prestigious event."
"To have the four Yamaha World Champions together is a treat in itself but to have them our track at the same time will be truly special," said Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "Especially since all four of the World Champions have a great racing history here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca."
Rossi has eight Grand Prix World Championships to his name. At last year’s race 131,250 fans watched Rossi score his first victory on American soil. Rossi sealed his victory with a kiss: parking his bike in Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s legendary corkscrew, a series of turns with a 300 foot elevation change and kissing the pavement.
Rossi has tested a Ferrari Formula One car and has competed in the World Rally Championship in a number of rally events, but driving a SuperKart with three fellow Yamaha World Champions is something he has not yet done.
Rainey is a three-time 500cc World Champion and a two-time American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Superbike Champion. He won three consecutive 500cc World Championship races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from 1989 to 1991, as well as AMA Superbike races at the Monterey track in 1983 and 1986.
In a storied career Rainey has been inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) named him a Grand Prix ‘Legend’ and he is a Legend of Laguna Seca.
Roberts was the first American to win the 500cc World Championships and went on to garner three consecutive World Titles and has was been inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. The FIM named Roberts a Grand Prix ‘Legend’ and he is a Legend of Laguna Seca.
Lawson, a four-time Grand Prix World Champion has been inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame and in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. The FIM named Lawson a Grand Prix ‘Legend’ and he too is a Legend of Laguna Seca. Lawson won the first ever 500cc race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 1988.
An active kart racer, Lawson won the Superstars of Superkarts race which supported last year’s American Le Mans Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Rainey races with Lawson in a specially prepared SuperKart. Rossi grew up driving karts and won a regional championship in 1990 before splitting his time between karts and minimoto the following year. From 1992 onwards he concentrated on motorcycles. It’s Roberts who will be new to karting.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was established in 1957. The world-renowned raceway has been operated since its inception by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), a not-for-profit 501C(4) corporation. Each race season, SCRAMP donates its net proceeds to the volunteer groups that help put on the races.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s world-class 2009 racing schedule includes the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix featuring MotoGP World Championship July 3-5, the 36th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races August 14-16 and the Monterey Sports Car Championships featuring the American Le Mans Series October 9-11.