Nestled in the coastal hillsides of the scenic Monterey Peninsula, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful motorsports facilities in the world. Its aesthetic appeal is now further enhanced with the addition of giant artwork of the legendary Mazda 787B to the hillside visible to those traveling the Monterey-Salinas Highway (State Route 68). The mural painted on a plywood board stands at 32 feet long and 10 feet tall.
The iconic Mazda 787B is legendary in the endurance racing world. Mazda is the only Japanese automaker to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans to date. The No. 55 driven by Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler, and Bertrand Gachot won the prestigious event in 1991 using an aggressive strategy made possible by the car’s impressive reliability and fuel economy. The 787s were the last Wankel rotary-powered racing cars to compete in the World and Japanese championships, using Mazda's R26B engine.
The 787B is distinctive for the glorious, high pitch generated from the rotary engine that easily revved to 9,000 rpm during endurance racing events and the bright orange and green colors inspired by sponsor Renown, a clothing company which made argyle socks. The famed race car has lived on at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with frequent appearances at the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, and its legacy at the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course is enhanced with bright, colorful visual representation on the hillside.
The artwork was created by Salinas, Calif., resident John Cerney. The Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) commissioned Cerney to make the Mazda 787B along with the mural of Grand Prix motorcycle legend Wayne Rainey that began decorating the County of Monterey-owned Laguna Seca Recreation area in July. More of Cerney’s work can be seen HERE.
“The colorful race car that can be seen from the highway will let people know that this is an incredible racing facility,” said Cerney. “The car is huge. I used 10 sheets to complete this board compared to the six that I used for the Wayne Rainey mural. I strived to get all the little details right from the logos to the body lines. The bright orange and green colors really make it stand out.”
“The artwork really demonstrates who we are and what we do,” said Gill Campbell, general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “In addition to being the naming rights sponsor since 2001, our track has served as the spiritual home for Mazda. The artwork cements the relationship between Mazda’s tremendous racing legacy and our world-class motorsports facility.”