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With about 550 classic racecars lapping Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca over the course of the weekend, the Monterey Motorsports Reunion might be one of the largest vintage racing events in the country, maybe even the world. It was certainly one of the highlights of the lavish Monterey festivities last weekend.

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The Pebble Beach weekend is without a doubt one of the preeminent classic car gatherings on the calendar. But while most of the events that make up the weekend are essentially static displays, our favorite may be the Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. That's where you can actually see classic racing cars doing what they were made for in the first place. And every year, organizers of the event select a featured marque.

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The entry list for all of the events in this year's Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion totaled 15 single-spaced pages long. That's explains how the field for this past weekend's Trans-Am race contained 41 cars, which is a larger field than ever competed in a real Trans-Am race.

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Chevrolet is already the featured car the Monterey Motorsports Reunion races, but it's also aiming to make a big splash outside the track. The Bow Tie has put all seven generations of production and racing Corvettes up to the C7 (which of course, doesn't have a racer based on it yet) on display for fans. You'll recall that Shelby made a similarly grand display last year, showing off several historic Cobras.

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It's been 50 years since Carroll Shelby stitched together the first Cobra. In the intervening half-century, the little British car with a big American engine established itself as an icon of the automotive industry. To celebrate the car's golden anniversary, Shelby American and Ford assembled a collection of some of the most historically significant Cobra models in existence at Laguna Seca as part of this year's Monterey festivities.

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Last year, the Monterey Motorsports Reunion announced that the Shelby Cobra would be the featured marque for 2012 in honor of the company's 50th anniversary. It's shaping up to be quite the celebration. Earlier this month it was announced that no fewer than 45 competition Cobras will be racing on the track come August, with owners from across the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Canada in attendance. In fact, demand to participate was so high that several entrants actually had

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There are always at least a few Shelby Cobras at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, mixing it up with Shelby Mustangs and Corvettes, but for 2012 there will be quite a few more. Laguna Seca has announced that the Cobra has been selected as the featured vehicle for 2012 in honor of the car's 50th anniversary.

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Seeing a Ferrari 250 GTO in action is something that should be on every car enthusiast's bucket list. For us, it's been checked off this weekend. Last week we saw several 250 GTOs participate in the Pebble Beach Tour, driving up and down Hwy 1 on the Monterey coastline, and just a few days later we headed to the track to see them in action at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

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It's difficult to choose where to be on Friday during the Monterey Car Week. Various car shows vie for our attention, including the Quail Motorsports Gathering, Concorso Italiano and Legends of the Autobahn. Deciding where to spend our time on Saturday, however, is easy. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is the place to be, with the Monterey Motorsports Reunion hosting hundreds of vintage race cars at the famous 2.24 mile racetrack.

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Earlier this year the Monterey Motorsports Reunion announced that Jaguar would be the featured marque for the 2011 event. Dozens of Jags will be featured in many of the races, including the C-Type, which will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of its win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as the XK120, D-Type and E-Type.

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Jaguar at the Monterey Historics - Click above for high-res image gallery

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1969 Ford Boss 302 Team Shelby Trans-Am Mustang - Click above to watch the video after the jump

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2010 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion - Click above for high-res image gallery

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Dan Gurney Tribute at the 2010 Monterey Motorsports Reunion - Click above for high-res image gallery

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Ferrari F1 Cars at the 2004 Monterey Historics – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Few people have had as great an impact on motorsports as Dan Gurney. He's been a driver, team owner, and manufacturer, and has won races doing all at the same time. Gurney has competed successfully at Daytona, Sebring, the Nürburgring, Indianapolis and Le Mans.

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