Hitting Apexes….. March 2014

April is just around the corner and very soon, we hold our first DE of the season at Lime Rock Park on April 9-10. If you did not know it already, here is a little bit of history and factoids about this famous and storied race track.
Dreamed up in 1956 by Jim Vaill, the son of the landowner, and with the help of John Fitch and Cornell Aeronautical Labs, Lime Rock was the first road racing track to be engineered and designed using scientific and highway-safety principles. Lime Rock is 1.50 miles of up hill and down dale, a track that looks deceivingly simple but is immensely challenging to drive quickly. Its setting is a village in Connecticut’s Litchfield County, renowned for its vast historical, cultural and recreational resources.
Lime Rock’s history is inextricably entwined with that of sports car racing. In its 55-year existence, almost all of the sport’s greats have raced here: Andretti, Moss, Gurney, Posey, Rodriguez, Hobbs, Hill, Donohue, Ward, Fitch… the list of great drivers who have raced here is literally endless, from the drivers in the industry changing Formula Libre race of 1959 through the stars of the 1960s, 70s and 80s in Can-Am, Camel GTP, F5000, Trans-Am and Atlantic.
Lime Rock Park has seen virtually every kind of race car grace its corners and straights… ground-pounding NASCAR stock cars and modifieds… sports cars of every stripe… showroom stock, Formula Fords and Vees… the visceral Grand-Am Daytona Prototypes and the technological tour de force ALMS prototypes… McLarens, Lolas, Astons, Ferraris, Watson champ cars and Kurtis midgets, Jags, Allards and MGs… The track was also the home track of Paul Newman, who supported his own Newman-Haas team with Bob Sharp. Today it is the leading-edge American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am (now combined and known as the IMSA TUDOR United Sports Car Championship) with their own stars and cars that are writing the history.
In 2008, the track was re-paved. Two new, corner complexes were also built, giving Lime Rock the ability to be run in four different configurations. But owner Skip Barber went to great lengths to ensure that every aspect of the original layout, including width, camber, radius and elevation – even the “temporary” Bailey Bridge at the top of the Downhill – remained exactly as it was when the track opened for its first race on April 27, 1957.
Two years after the park first opened in 1957 the Lime Rock Protective Association, with support from the nearby Trinity Episcopal Church, took the park to Litchfield Superior Court in an effort to ban Sunday racing. The court issued a permanent injunction against Sunday racing and its decision was upheld by the Connecticut Supreme Court. Although park officials have expressed a desire to return to limited Sunday racing, the injunction stands to this day.
In any event, it is clear that Trinity Lime Rock is no stranger to tests of speed. Indeed, Trinity has been an immediate neighbor of racing facilities for over a century — the first recorded race track, right in Trinity’s current back yard, began operations in the 1880’s. The other early Lime Rock race track was set up during the great velocipede rage in the late 1880s or early 1890s. A topographical and historical map published by I. W. Sanford in 1899 shows it just north of Trinity Episcopal Church, on Dugway Road. It was named the Golden Rod Cycle Track, and after 10 to 15 years of summertime daily use and nightly races, it lapsed back into a hay field, leaving no trace at all. The advent of the motor car had killed it.
Nonetheless, for years the Lime Rock Park track was listed as being 1.53 miles in length – the story goes that right after it was built, somebody used the odometer in a Chevy to measure the track length – and 1.53 was taken as gospel. Following the 2008 reconstruction, Lime Rock’s operations people measured all four possible configurations, and as it turns out, each was 1.5-miles long, plus or minus a few hundred feet. The “classic” configuration is 7 turns, while the three optional layouts are 8, 9 and 10 turns, respectively.
I bet you did not know that there is a second track out there also named Limerock but spelled as one word. It is known as “The Little Track with a Big Heart” and is an 1/8th mile clay oval with progressive banking located in LeRoy NY just 30 minutes from Rockchester, NY.
So while you are at Lime Rock Park, take a look around and imagine the great races that have taken place and will continue to take place, continuing its place in racing history.
Well, back to our upcoming DE Season. You will find our 2014 DE Schedule in this issue of Porscheforus, online in the DE section of www.nnjr-pca.com and on www.motorsportreg.com, the site where you register for our events. So if you are like me, I put my car away for the winter following our 2013 VIR DE and will now begin to get it ready for our 2014 season. Besides getting all the fluids changed and/or checked, a good checklist and starting point is our 2014 DE Tech Form. Now is the time to check out your car from top to bottom and ensure you are ready to go versus at the first Tech session which will be held at Flemington Porsche on March 31 (which is only 2 weeks prior to the event).
If you have any questions about this upcoming event or anything DE, please send me an email or feel free to give me a call.
All the best and see you out there!
Tom Iervolino, Vice President and DE Chair, trackchair@NNJR-PCA.com
862-206-9610 (cell)