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Laguna Seca responds to lawsuit over noise complaints, track usage

The track management of Laguna Seca has responded to the lawsuit filed by a group of disgruntled locals, which is seeking a reduction in its usage and noise levels.

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

The 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course – which was constructed in 1957 – is owned by Monterey County, which signed a long-term concession agreement with the non-profit organisation Friends of Laguna Seca (FLS) in July last year to secure its long-term financial future.

The Californian venue, famed for its Corkscrew sequence of corners, is scheduled to run seven major racing events in 2024, including the IMSA SportsCar Championship in April and IndyCar Series in June, and was resurfaced last year.

On 12 December, a group called the Highway 68 Coalition filed a lawsuit against Monterey County, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and the Friends of Laguna Seca, alleging nuisance issues for local residents, including increased noise and traffic, during its use on race weekends and track days.

Friends of Laguna Seca counters that the Highway 68 Coalition is ‘attempting to interrupt its stewardship and improvements of the Laguna Seca Recreational Area’.

“We live here too and share the same concerns as our neighbours about noise and traffic,” said Ross Merrill, President of FLS.

IMSA GTD action at Laguna Seca

Photo by: Perry Nelson / Motorsport Images

IMSA GTD action at Laguna Seca

“Our team of experienced business and community leaders are eager to move forward to revive this staple in our community for decades of future success and revenue generation for Monterey County.”

FLS states that it is ‘bound in the concession agreement to the historical usage of the Laguna Seca Recreational Area and the existing policies limiting attendance and sound at the Park’ and is ‘required under the contract to invest in the facilities and infrastructure including a sound study and noise mitigation’.

In its complaint, Highway 68 Coalition – represented by lawyers Richard Rosenthal, Alexander Henson and Greg James – allege that the number of events at Laguna Seca have increased “substantially” over the last two years.

The lawsuit states: ‘These increases include but are not limited to more racetrack event days, higher permitted noise levels, additional track rental days with intensified noise in excess of 100 dB, increased traffic, inadequate water supply and water quality, inadequate sewage disposal and expansion of the camping grounds.’

A spokesman for Monterey County told sfgate.com that it “is unfortunate certain individuals have chosen to file a complaint against the County concerning operations at Laguna Seca” and that it “does not recognize any merit to the allegations and expects a favorable legal conclusion”.

The lawsuit is not expected to impact any of Laguna’s operations during the 2024 season.

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