Lime Rock Park
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|Road Racing Center of the East|
|Location||Lakeville, Connecticut, United States|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (UTC-4 DST)|
|Major events||IMSA SportsCar Championship
Northeast Grand Prix
Pirelli World Challenge
Lime Rock Park Grand Prix
(1992–1993, 1995-2005, 2007-2008, 2013, 2016-)
American Le Mans Series
Northeast Grand Prix
Rolex Sports Car Series
Lime Rock Grand Prix
(2000–2001), (2006–2008), (2010–2013)
|Length||1.50 mi (2.41 km)|
|Lap record||43.112 seconds (P. J. Jones, Eagle Mk. III-Toyota, 1993, GTP)|
Lime Rock Park Race Track
|Area||325.2 acres (131.6 ha)|
|Built by||Vaill, Jim; et al.|
|Architectural style||Other, Race track|
|NRHP reference #||08001380|
|Added to NRHP||October 16, 2009|
Lime Rock Park is a natural-terrain motorsport road racing venue located in Lakeville, Connecticut, United States, a hamlet in the town of Salisbury, in the state's northwest corner. Built in 1956, it is the nation's oldest continuously operating road racing venue. The track is owned by Skip Barber, a former race car driver who started the Skip Barber Racing School in 1975. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
The 1.53-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, a mix of G-Production class and an MG class, was held on April 28, 1957. The winner of the G-Production was Ted Sprigg in an Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The winner of the MG class was Charles Callanan in an MG TC. In 1959, Lime Rock hosted the Little Le Mans race, won by Charles Callanan and Roger Penske in a Fiat Abarth. 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.
The track has featured many well-known racers including Paul Newman, who supported his own Newman-Haas team with Bob Sharp, Mario Andretti, Stirling Moss, Dan Gurney, Sam Posey, and Mark Donohue.
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 Chevrolet 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. Interestingly enough, the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship gives the distance of the track as 1.474 miles to be precise. The "classic" configuration is seven turns, while the three optional layouts are eight, nine and ten turns, respectively.
- SCCA National Sports Car Championship (1958-1964)
- Trans-Am (1967-1974, 1981, 1985-1989, 1992-1993, 1995-1999, 2002-2003, 2010, 2012-2015)
- SCCA Continental Championship Formula 5000 (1968-1972)
- Lime Rock Grand Prix
- Pirelli World Challenge (1992–1993, 1995-2005, 2007-2008, 2013, 2016-present)
- Northeast Grand Prix
- Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (2006-2013)
- NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (1993-2010)
- NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (2010-2011)
- North American Touring Car Championship (1996)
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "The View From Lime Rock: Neighbors learn to live with the noise". New York Times. June 25, 1989. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
- "About Us". Lime Rock Park. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- Lime Rock Park Floats Idea of Renewed Sunday Racing- Lakeville Journal – December 8, 2005
- Crudele, John (January 18, 2011). "Newman's own will not enough to find a way". New York Post.
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