The 1.5-mile Lime Rock track was originally conceived of in 1956 by Jim Vaill, who, along with John Fitch and Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, built the track utilizing state-of-the-art road and highway safety principles of the time. The first race was held on on April 27, 1957. In 2008, the track was re-paved and two new corner complexes were added.
The track has a loyal following, though it did face some resistance from the local community shortly after it opened. In 1959, 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. While restrictive, the carefully crafted injunction was also enabling. It preserved the track's right to conduct unmuffled sports car racing on Fridays and Saturdays, plus testing on Tuesdays and other operating benefits. The injunction stands to this day.
For years the 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 (see below), 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.