In Photos: The Spectacular Vintage Race Cars of the 2019 Sonoma Speed Festival

This vintage-racing event has to be seen to be believed.

Rory Jurneckawriter, photographer

Out with the old, in with the new. Well, sort of. The cars are still old, but the annual vintage race event held at Sonoma Raceway (also known as Sears Point to many of us) is under new ownership this year and so the name has been changed from the Wine Country Classic to the more fashionable 2019 Sonoma Speed Festival.

The idea, says winery mogul, vintage racer, and event founder Jeff O'Neill is to not only bring a more premium feel to the event but also more premium cars to the track. In the past, the "run what you brung" mindset that populated the old event's race grids led to replicas and lesser cars sharing the same rarified space as pricey, real-deal vintage race cars. O'Neill says the Sonoma Speed Festival is now of the few vintage race events where you'll only see the real thing on the track, including not one, but two genuine Ferrari 250 GTOs each worth upward of $50 million.

In addition to privately owned race cars, Mercedes-Benz was on hand with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport W07 Formula 1 car chassis No. 4, piloted by former F1 driver and current Mercedes AMG F1 simulation tester Esteban Guttierez. This chassis was the same one Lewis Hamilton piloted to 10 wins, nine poles, and 14 podiums in the 2016 F1 season, only to be beat to the championship by Nico Rosberg in the final race. Keeping with the event's vintage spirit, Mercedes also brought a 1939 W154 grand prix car and a 1954 W196. A McLaren F1 GTR also hit the track for demonstration laps, causing plenty of goosebumps in the crowd.

We were of course on hand for the event, and below you'll find a gallery of all the coolest authentic vintage race cars at the 2019 Sonoma Speed Festival. Enjoy:

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