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 third oldest continuously operating road racing venue, behind Road America (1955) and Willow Springs International Motorsports Park (1953). 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. Other racers have included Parnelli Jones, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, and Tom Cruise.
The track is a natural terrain road course, constructed over hilly terrain in the Berkshire Mountains, part of the greater Appalachian mountain range. The famous Appalachian Trail hiking route passes by the circuit on the ridge lines visible from the track a half mile to the east. The venue is somewhat unique in that it features no grandstands or bleacher seating, instead inviting fans to bring chairs and blankets and enjoy the racing from its grassy hillside areas under the shade of trees. While the venue is relatively compact, the relatively short track is renowned for its spectator experience, offering fans an up close view and close quarters racing.
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. The IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship gives the distance of the track as 1.474 miles. The "classic" configuration is seven turns, while the three optional layouts are eight, nine and ten turns, respectively.
Race Lap Records
The fastest official all-time track record set during a race weekend is 43.112 seconds, set by P. J. Jones in a Toyota Eagle MkIII, during qualifying for the 1993 Toyota Trucks Lime Rock Grand Prix. The official race lap records at Lime Rock Park are listed as:
- Formula Atlantic
- Formula Libre
- Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (2006–2013)
- Lime Rock Grand Prix
- NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (1993–2010)
- NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (2010–2011)
- North American Touring Car Championship (1996)
- Northeast Grand Prix
- Pirelli World Challenge (1992–1993, 1995–2005, 2007–2008, 2013, 2016–2018)
- SCCA Continental Championship Formula 5000 (1968–1972)
- SCCA National Sports Car Championship (1958–1964)
- Trans-Am (1967–1974, 1981, 1985–1989, 1992–1993, 1995–1999, 2002–2003, 2010, 2012–2015, 2019, 2021–present)
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
- "The View From Lime Rock: Neighbors learn to live with the noise". New York Times. June 25, 1989. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- "About Us". Lime Rock Park. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Trinity and Lime Rock Park...and before". Trinity Lime Rock. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
- 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.
- Racer Staff (January 24, 2019). "Bertil Roos set for Lime Rock Park return". racer.com. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
- Sinclair, Adam. "From Agony To Ecstasy Robichon Recalls 2019 Lime Rock Win". Speedway Digest. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
- Learner, Preston. "Lime Rock Park: the rescued racing venue with a rich sporting history". Motor Sport Magazine. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
- https://sportscarchampionship.imsa.com/sites/default/files/2016_limerock_official.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- "Lime Rock 2 Hours 1993". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- "American Le Mans Series Lime Rock 2007". Retrieved 9 May 2022.
- "Can-Am Lime Rock 1983". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- "American Le Mans Series Lime Rock 2013". Retrieved 9 May 2022.
- "2004 Lime Rock Indy Pro Statistics". Retrieved 9 May 2022.
- "Lime Rock Park, July 5 Juillet 1980". Retrieved 3 June 2022.
- "2010 Lime Rock Grand-Am". Retrieved 9 May 2022.
- "Lime Rock IMSA WSC 1995". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- "1972 Lime Rock F5000". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- "2021 Northeast Grand Prix Lime Rock Race Official Results (2 Hours 40 Minutes)" (PDF). Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- "Lime Rock 2 Hours 1991". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- "Johnny O'Connell, Jack Baldwin earn Pirelli World Challenge wins at Lime Rock". Retrieved 29 May 2022.
- "Lime Rock IMSA GT 1998". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- "2019 TA SGT GT Official Race Results" (PDF). Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- "Lime Rock Park TA2 Round 4" (PDF). Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- "2022 Lime Rock Park 120 Race Provisional Results (2 Hours)" (PDF). Retrieved 17 July 2022.
- "Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car 2018 » Lime Rock Park Round 6 Results". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- "2010 LIME ROCK 100". Retrieved 1 June 2022.
- "2008 MOHEGAN SUN NASCAR CAMPING WORLD 200". Retrieved 12 May 2022.
- "Lime Rock Park, July 20 Juillet 1996". Retrieved 3 June 2022.
- "NATCC 1996 » Lime Rock Park Round 1 Results". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- "Lime Rock USRRC 1999". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- "Lime Rock: Touring Car race report". Retrieved 29 May 2022.
- "Trans Am Racing Returns To Lime Rock Park | Lime Rock Park". limerock.com. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
- "Trans Am - America's Road Racing Series". gotransam.com. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
- Lime Rock Park website
- Documentary by Chris Szwedo
- Skip Barber Racing School (Uses Macromedia Flash)
- Lime Rock Park race results at Racing-Reference