Hundreds of racing enthusiasts will gather this month in Monterey, Calif., for the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s inaugural Aston Martin Festival. Over Labor Day weekend, August 29 to 31, the event will showcase the British marque’s current street and track models, including the all-new carbon-clad version of the Vanquish. It will also hold a concours of the brand’s best vintage cars, as well as the third round of the new Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of North America—a six-event series that allows amateur drivers to purchase or lease track versions of the V8 Vantage GT4 and compete. The weekend will also include a tour along the area’s famous 17-Mile Drive and ride-alongs with professionals such as the Indy 500 champion Danny Sullivan and the former Formula 1 driver Eliseo Salazar.
Aston Martin owners will have the opportunity to drive and race their vintage and modern-day models on Laguna Seca’s professional-grade track, which is known for its rare natural-terrain elevation change. Drivers will also get to try their hand at the notoriously challenging Corkscrew turn, an experience that Kevin Buckler—a former U.S. racecar driver and the current owner of TRG-AMR, Aston’s Martin’s racing team in North America—likens to jumping off a seven-story building. “You go into the big left turn blindly and start looking for the oak tree on the hill long before you ever see the ground,” he explains. “You have to trust your judgment and position as you hit the gas and hope like hell that the track is under you.”
Multiple sessions per day are scheduled for enthusiasts to drive and race their Aston Martins on the track; depending on the type of car, the experience will be limited to a maximum of 45 participants at a time. Ticket packages begin at $495 per person and range up to $4,995 for four people to meet Buckler and the TRG-AMR drivers, drive the Vantage GT4 racecar, receive instruction from a pro driver, and more. Individual one-day spectator admission tickets are also available, starting at $20. (www.trg-astonmartinracing.com/festival)