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DATE News (chronologically)
07/20/07
motogp
Red Bull US MotoGP track preview  Now known as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Californian track was built in 1957 on US Army land.

The track at Fort Ord was established after the Pebble Beach Road Races had to be abandoned because of safety concerns, with locals - both individuals and businesses - raising the money to complete the project.

Seventeen years later the track - which was originally 1.9 miles in length and formed part of the grounds of the local county park - was handed over to the Monterey County Parks Department, which retains control over the circuit today.

In its time it has hosted various forms of motor racing including Champ Cars and the American Le Mans Series, while MotoGP racing began there two years ago, with local Nicky Hayden having won both races there.

In order to meet FIA and FIM standards, the track has been lengthened to 3.602km (2.238 miles), an in-field run-off area has been added (1988), and pedestrian bridges and the original media centre have been moved.

The gravel pits area has also been enlarged to increase run-off, which was also increased at turn one with the demolition of the press area, while the main straight was widened and last year the hump that was located at the top of Rahal Straight was flattened.

The most famous section of the 11-turn circuit is the 'Corkscrew' that makes up turns 8 and 8A, which tests riders like few others with its blind summit after an uphill approach and then a drop in elevation.

The elevation change from the highest to the lowest point of the track is 300 feet.

Apart from the Corkscrew, there are also turns named after 1978 Formula One world champion Mario Andretti (turn 2) and triple 500cc world champ Wayne Rainey (turn 9), and the Rahal Straight is named after Champ Car legend Bobby Rahal.

Champ Cars featured prominently there for 20 years from 1983 before being shift to San Jose three years ago, while in more recent years MotoGP, the US AMA Superbike Series and A1 Grand Prix have all held events there.

Camping is available around the circuit all year round and the Skip Barber Racing School operates there with race and street driver training, while it has also played host to a number of non-motorsport events.

The annual Sea Otter Classic cycling is held there, Pope John Paul II celebrated a mass there in September 1987, the Spirit West Coast Christian music festival is held there every year and part of the Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo movie was filmed there in 1977.

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