Inside the Paddock / 2017 Rolex Motorsports Reunion

Writing and Photography by Alex Rodriguez. See more of Alex's photos on Instagram @robininspandex

My Rolex Motorsports Reunion experience started early on Sunday morning, at about 4AM. I made a last minute decision to head over to Laguna Seca and photograph the event. I’m always looking for an excuse to be behind the lens and see some beautiful vintage machines ripping around the racetrack, so this was a perfect opportunity.

Upon entering the gates to the paddock, you are greeted by the smell of petrol and a symphony of cold-starting engines from each and every direction. In fact, you hear and smell the cars before you can see them.

I had never seen so many dedicated race cars all in one place, or been on a real racetrack for that matter (aside from Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA). To say it was overwhelming would be an understatement.

At the turn of every corner, you are greeted by race cars of every era, make and model. I’d be lying if I said I could name off every car I photographed that day, because I couldn't. For some cars, it was my first time seeing one in the flesh, for others, I had no idea they existed.

My personal favorite in the paddock was this 1989 Mazda 767B. With it’s bright contrasting fluorescent orange and green livery, it’s massive tires stuffed under the body, and it’s unmistakable 4 rotor noise, it’s everything my inner child thought a race car should be.

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I shot the entire event on film as I felt it would be period correct to do so. There's just something magical and unreplicable about the colors and elicited nostalgia when viewing film photographs. I shot a total of six rolls that day, consisting of a mixture of Portra 400, Fuji 400H, and Fuji ProPlus 200, shot between my Olympus OM10 and Olympus XA. For this particular event, I preferred shooting on the OM10, as it's an SLR, allowing me to look through the viewfinder better frame my shots.

Seeing as a I had a bit of a drive back home, I decided to head out before the day was over. For the fear of missing out on something special, a common occurrence with events of this scale, I made a couple laps around the paddock once more; it was a good idea too. I stumbled upon “The Urban Outlaw” himself, Magnus Walker, admiring the infamous Interscope Porsche 935, definitely a solid way to close off the day.

Overall, I had an amazing time and a great first experience going to a racetrack. The 2017 Rolex Motorsports Reunion was one for the books. Maybe someday I’ll be behind the wheel at Laguna Seca instead of the lens... One can dream!