Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, Winter-Spring 2019

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 57 of 243

56 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 LOCALKNOWLEDGE Timothy McGrane WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca CEO and Classic Car Auction Specialist S ince June, Timothy McGrane has been in the driver's seat at the Monterey County owned WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as CEO. While managing the iconic 2.238 mile paved 11-turn track, McGrane has shaken things, up and along with the county, is laying out a strategy for the future. Growing up near the Brand's Hatch race track in England, McGrane has motorsports in his blood. Since the early 1980s, he has been immersed in the Southern California race scene. He fre- quented the Monterey Historics before working with Rick Cole and the original Monterey Car Week Auctions, Barrett Jackson auctions and most recently as the director of the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California. For more than 30 years, McGrane has come to the Monterey Peninsula wearing different hats. Q: What is it about motorsports that got under your skin and stuck with you for all these years? A: It's been a collective cumlative effort. In Europe, motorsport is just part of an everyday lifestyle. When I was growing up, it was not unusual for everyone's mom to know who was on pole for the British Grand Prix. This was not just in the sports section, but front page news and was normal in my childhood. My dad was a car dealer, so that urge to enjoy automobiles and motorsports at any level was always there. Q: What led you to your automotive hobby? A: My mom had a red Mercedes 280 SL "Pagoda" and she adored this car. That was probably the earliest car I can remember. She drove fast– "Speedy Sylvia" is what the lads called her around the neighborhood. She always had a car that stood out, and she was always driving fast! Q: What are some of your favorite car collections? A: I've been very fortunate to have the experience with grand collec- tions like the Blackhawk Museum. Being responsible at that level, you get to experience the car world through those cars. It's tough to match some of the cars I curated with Don Williams. I've been extremely for- tunate to be a custodian for some absolutely fabulous cars. Q: What is your best automotive advice and how can it be applied today? A: There are so many different facets of the automotive world—concours and auctions, races and everything in between. The core focus to me is this: find something, buy something and drive something that you enjoy. Q: How do you perceive the next generation of car lovers evolving in the areas of auctions, concours, rallies and events? A: The auction world is a unique platform as the need for buyers and sellers will always exist. The top level of auctions will always serve the group who has the financial ability to purchase unique cars and we're already seeing the transition from pre-war classic cars to later model sports and exotics. There's always going to be a generational shift in tastes. With concours, shows across the board will have to evolve to suit their audience and changing participant demands. Some of the leading shows are established enough to keep the momentum of what made them great but even at that level they will need to adjust. What's impor- tant is the experience both driving and developing relationships, so car owners at many levels can enjoy and participate. Q: What's still left on your bucket list? A: I'm finally ticking the box of the Indy 500. Of all the events that are out there, that has been a must do. With my new involvement with Laguna Seca and adding the Indy Car series, I plan on being there next May and I'm looking forward to this legacy event. Q: Away from the track—how do you like to turn off the engine and get yourself back to center? A: Well, what used to happen is that my wife and I would come to Monterey! Now that's not an option, but we do enjoy traveling. That's been the key for us. I enjoy our time at home and being in our garden. Being hands on and growing things—that's how I unwind. Q: What can we expect to see in term of progression out at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in the years to come? A: The County of Monterey, as owners of the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, are working with us on their redevelopment and upgrade program. Some major infrastructure work has already been completed but that's mostly below the surface. It's not a case of creating anything completely new, but taking the existing facilities and upgrading, replacing or reconfiguring them to accommodate current needs at the track. Guest amenities to suit today's event experience expectations are important, such as Internet access, parking and pedestrian access, and hospitality venues. The whole facility is being refreshed to make sure it represents our position as a first-class and world-class race facility, and one with legendary status. The County has provided us the opportunity to host an exciting 2019 season of race events. We'll have many new spectators and with network broadcast TV coverage on NBC, we need to look our very best. —Steven Kittrell

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Carmel Magazine - Carmel Magazine, Winter-Spring 2019