Lime Rock Park
Lime Rock Park is a road course auto racing facility located in Lakeville, Connecticut. Owned by Skip Barber, a former race car driver who started the Skip Barber Racing School at Lime Rock Park in 1975, it is touted as the "Road Racing Center of the East" and each year hosts everything from car shows to vintage races to world class sports car racing events. Located in the quiet Northwest corner of Connecticut, it is renowned as the most picturesque of the major racing tracks, earning the "Park" part of its name.
The track is 1.53 miles long and consists of 7 turns. The optional "John Morton" chicane is located after turn 5 and is named after a driver who was almost killed in 1988 after his car became airborne, crashing at high speed in that area. The track is short, fast and, contains some extreme elevation changes which all add up to a very challenging circuit. Recent repairs to the track have included concrete patches in the corners which have made the track even more difficult to drive and more prone to deteriorate. In preparation for the new ALMS date in July 2004, alterations were made to the false grid/pre-grid area to expand the pitlane. In January-February 2006, the track made some safety upgrades that included the addition of a third rail of armco and some catch fencing to areas such as the No-Name Straight and the Back Straight, along with paved runoff for the daunting Uphill Turn. A new false grid/pre-grid area and the paddock was also paved. Souvenir stands/shops have also been selling "I helped pave Lime Rock Park" bumper stickers since 2004 but evidence of a repave is yet to be seen.
Turns 1 and 2, also known as Big Bend, are one large sweeping right hander which decreases slightly in radius towards the end of the turn. There is a large paved runoff area at the end of the front straight going into Big Bend. Turn 3, the Left Hander, is the first of the two turns known as the Esses and the only significant left hand turn on the track. The Left Hander is banked slightly (a positive camber) which helps keep cars on track. Turn 4, the Right hander, is the second of the two turns known as the Esses and increases in radius towards the exit. Between the Right Hander and Turn 5 is No Name Straight. This section of the track is not really straight with its two gentle bends to the right and back left. Turn 5 at the end of No Name Straight is known as the Uphill thanks to the dramatic increase in elevation immediately after the beginning of the turn. The end of the Uphill coincides with the crest of the hill. The optional chicane at the top of the uphill slows down cars to keep them from becoming too light at the top of the hill. The Back Straight runs between the Uphill and turn 6, known as West Bend. West Bend is flat with no change in radius making it the simplest corner. Turn 7 begins by plunging under the auto bridge before turning right onto the front straight. The Downhill starts to become level at the beginning of the turn, though it is very bumpy.
The track was constructed on farmland by the owner's son, Jim Vaill, in 1955 at the prompting of the local SCCA members. Construction took nearly 2 years due to poor weather conditions and local opposition. Famed driver John Fitch helped design the track and served as circuit director. Legal action ensued in 1959 and the track was ordered to not hold races on Sundays, an ordinance that still stands today.
Since 1957 Lime Rock Park has hosted almost every form of motorsport including Trans-Am, formula racing, SCCA regional races, NASCAR, American Le Mans Series, the annual Rolex Vintage Festival every Labor Day, and the annual Ferrari Racing Days every July, as well as the Driving School.