Venue Profile: Lime Rock Park

It can be easily argued that Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park is the most significantly historic road racing circuit in North America. Only Wisconsin’s Road America and California’s Laguna Seca can compare to Lime Rock with respect to longest continuous operation – Road America opened in 1955, Laguna Seca and Lime Rock in 1957 – but only Lime Rock’s circuit remains exactly the same as when it opened in spring of that year.

And it was Lime Rock Park that hosted the race that forever changed the face of motorsports in America, the 1959 Formula Libre event. The best pros and the best amateurs in the best cars went head-to-head in a three-heat format. Thanks in equal part to its major media coverage and the startling result – Indy 500 winner Roger Ward won the contest in a midget, besting F1 cars and world championship sports cars – the Formula Libre weekend knocked down the walls that had separated professional road racing drivers from their amateur brethren.

Thanks to Lime Rock and the Formula Libre event, sports car road racing became a significant element of the American sporting scene.

Lime Rock is 1.50 miles of up hill and down dale, a track that looks deceivingly simple but is immensely challenging to drive quickly. Its setting is a village in Connecticut’s Litchfield County, renowned for its vast historical, cultural and recreational resources. Lime Rock’s history is inextricably entwined with that of sports car racing’s. Almost all of the sport’s greats have raced here, from that industry changing Formula Libre race through the SCCA hay days of the 1960s, 70s and 80s in Can-Am, F5000, Trans-Am and Atlantic as well as the Camel GTP and ALMS championships. From the mid-1990s onward, Lime Rock has seen everything from ground-pounding NASCAR stockers and modifieds to the technological tour de force IMSA prototypes.

Incredibly historic yet modern. Not a hint of a grandstand but tremendous spectator viewing. Fan friendly in the extreme. A beautiful venue – it is truly a park – even those who are not motorsports fans are familiar with Lime Rock Park.

Under Skip Barber’s stewardship, Lime Rock has been serviced by two major, multimillion-dollar renovations.

The first was in 2008, when the track surface was repaved in its entirety, and a number of safety elements were brought to the latest standards. Crucially, the project was engineered specifically so as to not change any aspect of its original track design and layout; by Skip’s demand, the same tricky cambers, the same widely variable track widths and the same sinuous radii were precisely preserved. If a driver from 1957 were somehow time-machined into the future and plunked down onto Lime Rock today, he or she would find no difference in the racing line. The braking, turn-in, apex and track-out points a driver experiences today are the exact same as those Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Skip Barber, Sam Posey and dozens of other legends navigated back in the day. The 2008 project was a remarkable accomplishment, and today it makes Lime Rock unique among its North American peers.

The second major renovation got underway in late 2014 – the Road to 60 Project. As Lime Rock prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2017, millions of dollars have been invested in upgrading every part of Lime Rock that’s not the racing surface itself. All-new, fully paved paddocks. All-new paddock restrooms. All-new gardens, ponds and landscaping. All-new spectator areas, and vast improvement of the existing ones. All-new walkways, spectator fencing and signage.

In other words, thanks to the 2008 work (for the competitors) and today’s Road to 60 Project (for the fans), Lime Rock is totally the same. And totally different.

Lime Rock is unique and cannot be compared to any other track, arena or sporting venue. Its fans are loyal, vocal and knowledgeable. It delivers what it promises: Great, safe racing at an historic but modern track, in a beautiful yet easily accessible setting.

Welcome to the “new” old Lime Rock Park…

At Lime Rock, parking is free and children 16 and under. With acceptable identification, veterans and active military are admitted free