Labor Day weekend at Lime Rock Park is a special time of year for gearheads. A time of year when heroes from a bygone era take center stage once again, both on the track in hard racing action and also polished up to a museum quality shine in a world class Concours D’Elegance.
The 31st installment of the Lime Rock Park Historic Festival took place under threatening skies and an occasional downpour. Neither deterred the throngs of vintage racing fans from making the journey to the Road Racing Center of the East. Nor did the weather lessen the intensity of the racing action on Lime Rock’s historic 1.5 miles.
The two full days of racing action encompassed cars spanning years from the earliest part of the 20th century, like a 1929 Bugatti Type 37, all the way through the big block glory days of the Can-Am racers of the 1970s. More than 300 cars representing more than 20 marques were broken up into 10 groups, with each group battling through two races on each of the two race days.
Group 1, for the Lime Rock Cup: “Nippy and agile,” road-going production and GT cars
Group 2, for the VSCCA Bowl: “The dawn of performance,” early sports and racing cars
Group 3, for the Bandini Trophy: “Fast and fun,” Formula Junior
Group 4, for Murray’s Mug: “50s & 60s flyers,” mid-century sports racers
Group 5, for the Posey Plate: “The real deal,” authentic Trans-Am cars 1966-1971
Group 6, for Skip’s Salver: “No holds barred,” a Formula Libre race group
Group 7, for Mick’s Magnum: “Wild, wild horses,” big-bore production cars
Group 8, for the Litchfield Cup: “Not quite street legal,” modified production cars
Group 9, Finn’s Fancy: “Sophisticated sports cars,” post-1965 sports racers
Group 10, Stuttgart Silver: “Porsche against the rest”
Undoubtedly, the biggest stars on the track were the 30+ original Trans Am cars that thundered their way around the 1.5 mile road course like they did in the heyday of Trans Am racing. Included amongst the historic Trans Am iron were three Chevy Camaros in the classic blue and yellow Penske-Sunoco livery made famous by the no. 6 driven by Mark Donohue in 1968. The Penske/Donohue connection was also on display with a beautiful red, white and blue shod 1971 AMC Javelin which ran at the front of the field for all 4 of the Group 5 races. As cool as the Penske cars were, however, the true fan favorite had to be the 1970 Dodge Challenger campaigned by local hero driver Sam Posey, for which the Lime Rock front straight was recently renamed. Posey, who lives just up the road from Lime Rock, has been a fixture at the track for decades, so the sight of his old Challenger roaring through the Diving Turn was a special treat for Lime Rock regulars.
The “Sunday in the Park” Concours d’elegance, which takes place on the race track along the edge of the “Sam Posey Straight,” saw the second Ferrari ever to reach American shores win Best of Show honors from a field of 248 entrants in 29 classes. The 1948 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa, part of the Miles Collier Collection in Naples, Fla., crossed the podium driven by Collier curator, Scott George, who collected the Best of Show trophy and a Frédérique Constant Genève watch.
Other notable winners included a spectacular 1930 Aston Martin International in the “Risky But Racy – competition machines of merit pre-1945,” presented by Richard and Philip Rader of Briarcliff, N.Y.; a rare and quite valuable 1967 Shelby-prepped Toyota 2000 GT owned by Bob Tkacik from Saco, Maine in the “Speed & Style – GT Cars 1965-1970” category; and a 1964 Ferrari Lusso owned by Roger Werner of Greenwich, Conn., winning the “Businessmen’s Express,” GT cars 1960-1965” class.
A major highlight of this year’s Sunday in the Park was the presence of nearly half of the street Cunninghams ever built. Eleven C3s (including two cabriolets) plus three race cars were on the property. Resulting in the largest gathering ever of Cunninghams in one place at one time.
Chuck Schoendorf’s C3 Coupe (s/n 5214) won the “Briggs’ Babies” class, while the C3 Coupe (s/n 5209) owned by Leslie Lockard was the Cunningham chosen by Briggs’ daughter herself – Lucie McKinney – for her special award.
Then Lucie was awarded Classic & Sports Car Magazine’s “Editor’s Choice” trophy for her own C3 Coupe (s/n 5223), which she’s owned since new.
Yet another Cunningham-related car won the “Road & Track Magazine Car We’d Most Like to Drive” award: the 1960 Chevy Corvette that won its class (GT 5.0) at Le Mans, driven by John Fitch and Bob Grossman, the car run by Cunningham’s race team.
Another major highlight was the collection of cars brought by Lawrence Auriana. His group of vehicles (listed below) was so impressive that the organizers presented Auriana with a special trophy recognizing the whole lot. Auriana himself was given the opportunity to choose his favourite entrant to award the “Auriana’s Apple” award: he chose the 1951 Cisitalia 202 SC owned by Andrew Benenson of Darien, Conn.
Sunday also saw the “Gathering of the Marques” car show, which wound its way around the length of Lime Rock’s famous road course. Every major marque was represented. Spectators were treated to an almost endless array of beautiful machinery spanning all eras of motoring, including a celebration of the Porsche 911, which marked its 50th anniversary in 2013. Organizers were able to bring together an example of nearly every different iteration of the 911 from the first model year in 1963 through to the current Carrera S, providing an interesting and unique look at how little, and yet, how much the 911 has evolved over the years.
Overall, Lime Rock Park delivered yet again on an amazing weekend of ground rumbling vintage racing and an impressive collection of ultra-rare antique and classic pieces of automotive history.
Race results from all 40 races and concours award winners can be found on the Lime Rock Park Historics website. http://limerockhistorics.com/spectators/
The Cars of Honored Collector Lawrence Auriana
1928 Maserati Tipo 26
1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza
1950 Ferrari 166 Barchetta
1953 Maserati A6GCS
1953 Alfa Romeo 3000 CM
1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competition
1965 Ferrari 250 LM
1967 Ferrari 275 GTS/4 N.A.R.T. Spider
1972 Alfa Romeo TT33
1972 Ferrari 512 M
1972 Ducati 750 SS Imola
1978 Ducati 90 TT (ex- Mike Hailwood TT winner)
1953 Fiat Transporter in Maserati Team livery
1966 Alfa Romeo Factory Service Van