Monterey Motorsports Festival returns to Car Week in 2024 with two Italian automotive legends on board

Monterey Motorsports Festival returns to Car Week  in 2024 with two Italian automotive legends on board

Monterey Motorsports Festival

MONTEREY, Calif. — Following its 2023 debut as a unique, innovative and interactive event for automotive enthusiasts, Monterey Motorsports Festival promises an awe-inspiring return to Monterey Car Week in August.

MMF founder and CEO Paolo Manca will build on the success of his inaugural event — heralded for its unique blend of entertainment and technological innovation — with the help from an Italian automotive legend and a renowned events coordinator.

Famed in the Italian motoring scene with a 40-year career as the former chief test driver of Lamborghini, Valentino Balboni will appear at MMF when it returns to the Monterey County Fairgrounds on Aug. 17, from 2-10 p.m.

Manca also has announced the addition of former Lamborghini communications director Raffaello Porro to the team, bringing his wealth of experience to a similar role with MMF.

Manca said he is “beyond excited” to welcome both automotive industry legends to the fold, believing they will only elevate MMF into a hallmark event on a global stage.

Balboni is so monumental in Lamborghini history that the brand created a special edition car just for him. The Gallardo LP 550-2 “Valentino Balboni” edition was limited to only 250 units and, unlike the contemporary Gallardo, was converted to rear wheel drive at Balboni’s request, thus reducing the curb weight by 66 pounds.

In his role as marketing and communications director, Porro brings decades of experience in the creation and promotion of cultural and entertainment events, particularly within the automotive sector. Among his records, still unbeaten: 350 cars from 29 countries for the 50th anniversary of Lamborghini, the highest speed on the Miami Int’l airport runway with a Lamborghini Aventador Roadster and the spectacular presentation of the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster on an Italian aircraft carrier in the military port of Abu Dhabi.

From Modena, Italy, Porro is already familiar with the Monterey Peninsula. His hiring comes two weeks following his departure from Concorso Italiano, a preeminent, Italian-focused lifestyle event during Monterey Car Week. Porro said he is excited to help expand on the event’s “fresh and exciting offerings.”

“Joining this dynamic team is an honor, and I’m grateful to Paolo Manca for his confidence in me,” he said. “The Monterey Motorsports Festival breaks new ground with its innovative spirit, aiming to revolutionize the traditional, conservative narrative of Car Week.”

A graduate in Modern Literature, Porro embarked on his career at Fiat in 1991, before joining Lamborghini in 2009. Since 2014, he has offered his skills as an independent strategic advisor to industries, including automotive, sailing, aerospace, biotech, and the performing arts. Porro’s decade-long tenure as co-organizer and ambassador for Concorso Italiano underscores his substantial contributions to the automotive community.

Manca said Porro’s respected organizing and public relations expertise will be invaluable, particularly outside the U.S.

“Launching this event last year, our aim was to introduce a novel and exhilarating element to Monterey Car Week,” Manca said. “With ambitious plans for our second edition on Aug. 17, we rely on a strong, inventive team — now further bolstered by Raffaello’s involvement.”

MMF highlights for 2024

Promising an unforgettable experience for car enthusiasts and visitors, the 2024 event will showcase an array of classic and modern vehicles, including rare and exotic models from across the globe, complemented by unique aviation highlights.

Attendees will have the opportunity to explore a broad spectrum of automotive marvels, from the latest offerings by leading manufacturers to vintage treasures dating back to the early 1900s. The festival will feature a diverse range of vehicles, ensuring something for every interest.

MMF goes beyond static displays, offering interactive activities such as racing simulators, vehicle wrap demos, off-road exhibits, live entertainment, and a variety of food and drink options, making it an essential destination for anyone passionate about the automotive world.

Throughout the day, guests can engage with a wide array of industry representatives, from car manufacturers and dealers to custom shop owners and technology experts, gaining insights into the automotive world through interviews and panels.

The festival also offers a range of activities suitable for all ages, including simulators, video games, live installations, and interactive areas inspired by motorsports, ensuring an engaging experience for both adults and children.

Open until 10 p.m., the event extends into the evening with MMF Under the Lights, featuring nighttime viewing, live performances, dance groups, food courts and outdoor bars.

Mecum returns as MMF sponsor

A long-time participant in Monterey Car Week through its renowned auction (this year held Aug. 15-17 at Monterey Hyatt Regency Hotel & Spa), Mecum Auctions will resume its sponsorship with MMF.

Founded by company President Dana Mecum in 1988, Mecum hosts large-scale collector car auctions throughout the year, including as host of the world’s largest collector car auction held each January in Kissimmee, Fla.

2024 Event details

Date: Aug. 17, 2024Time: 2-10 p.m.Location: Monterey County FairgroundsTickets: General admission, VIP and special rate tickets are available here.Credentials: Members of the media, influencers and content creators should apply here.Nonprofit partners: Heritage Foundation; Boys and Girls Club of Monterey County; Monterey County Family Justice Center; Seneca Center; Alliance on Aging; Gil Basketball Academy; Monterey Rape Crisis Center; Monterey Symphony; Animal Friends Rescue Project; Sun Street Center; YMCA Central Coast; Alzheimer’s Association; Legal Services for Seniors.

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