It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Lime Rock’s Historic Festival so special, but there is no denying that it is, truly, a special event. I think it probably is a well-balanced mixture of timing and location. The event takes place over the long Labor Day weekend, which, in New England, is considered by many, to be the unofficial end of summer.
As far as location, Lime Rock Park may very well be the Fenway Park of American road courses. Willing to adapt and modernize to an extent, but never willing to compromise what makes it so beloved. There is nearly 60 years of built-in, well-earned racing history amongst those hallowed hills in Lakeville, Connecticut. Add it all together and you get one of the premier historic racing events in the North America.
The Lime Rock Historics spans five days. It starts with a race car parade through neighboring towns and wraps up at the drop of the final checkered flag on the Labor Day holiday. In between, spectators are treated to three full days of vintage racing action and the incomparable Sunday in the Park Concourse d’Elegance and Gathering of the Marques car show.
Headlining this year’s Historic Festival was a small but impressive gathering of historic race cars from Mercedes-Benz. Arguably, the most significant race car among the group was the 1955 #722 300 SLR which was driven to decisive victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia by Sir Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson. The two finished the 1000 mile race, held on public roads in Northern Italy, in a still scarcely believable 10 hours 7 minutes and 48 seconds while averaging 98 miles per hour, breaking the previous average speed record by more than 10 mph.
The 722 was presented by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center of Stuttgart, Germany, alongside a 1954/55 W196 “Silver Arrow” Grand Prix racer. The Revs Institute of Naples, Florida, also presented two cars: a second “Silver Arrow,” this one a 1939 W154 and a 1914 Mercedes Grand Prix racer. Also in attendance was the 1908 Mercedes Brooklands that finished fourth in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, which was presented by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, and, from Ralph Lauren’s personal collection, the 1930 SSK “Count Trossi.”
One of only 42 SSKs (Super Sport Kurtz) built, this one has streamlined, one-off coachwork which was commissioned by Italian race car driver and builder, Carlo Felice Trossi. Amongst this cars long list of accolades are Best of Show trophies from Pebble Beach (1993) and Villa d’Este (2007). Not surprisingly, it also took best of show at the 33rd Lime Rock Historics as well.
For full race and concourse results visit www.limerockhistorics.com