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Porsches the featured car at 2021 Lime Rock Historic Festival

LIME ROCK — For some, the racetrack at Lime Rock Park is a place to watch large, fast, powerful cars muscle their way around the bends and curves in pursuit of victory.

And then there are those who mainly go to the track once a year, on Labor Day weekend, to watch vintage marques from the beginning of automotive time. Some of them are still quite fast, and some of them are still quite muscular. But the Historic Festival isn’t really about winning, per se. It’s about tradition and history and beauty. 

The Historic Festival weekend is a bit of an archaeological dig. You can see how cars have evolved, through trial and error and time, into the machines they are today. Some of the cars on the track and on display during the vintage weekend have three wheels. Many of them use leather straps to hold the hood of the engine in place. Remember when all cars had a choke that needed to be released before the car could start? Some of the cars at the Historic Festival are so old they need a crank start.

But this isn’t just a convention for old gas-powered engines, like the annual machinery show at the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association in Kent on Route 7. 

These cars are here to race, not necessarily to break land speed records but certainly to stretch themselves and give it their all. The owners of these cars maintain them with love and devotion. They’re race cars and Lime Rock is one of the few remaining places in the world that cars of this vintage can open up and let it rip.

The races are on Saturday and Monday, with practice runs all day Friday. There is no racing allowed at the track on Sundays so on that day there is an immense concours of vintage cars, stretched all the way around the mile-and-a-half track. 

There is a certain irony involved in walking more than a mile along a racetrack that is lined with cars, but vintage auto fans wouldn’t have it any other way. Who would want to speed by these beauties when instead you can lean into the engine compartment (these engines are without exception so clean that you could eat a picnic lunch off them).

This year’s concours, called Sunday in the Park, is sponsored by Porsche North America. The Porsches often line up together around the track for the Sunday concours. 

This year, according to a news release from the track, there will be “a special selection of 911-based Porsche RS models from the Steven Harris collection, in addition to select examples of Porsche 356, 911 and competition models as well as several vintage Porsches that are competing in the Porsche Classic Restoration Challenge Program.”

Not everyone loves a Porsche, of course. Some of the other cars that will be on display will be vintage Miatas, Volkswagens, Audis, Volvos, Vipers, BMW 2002s and other BMW models, cars from Lotus, Fiat, Rolls Royce and Bentley, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari. 

The weekend-long Historic Festival begins on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 2, with a 17-mile tour that begins at Lime Rock Park at 4p.m. Spectators usually start bringing their folding chairs out to the roadsides around 3:30 p.m. 

The parade then heads into Salisbury, stops at Noble Horizons and ends up in Falls Village, where there is a festival with music, food and cars. 

For ticket information, go to https://tickets.limerock.com. 

Children 16 and under are free with an adult. 

All active-duty military and veterans are admitted to free with proper identification.

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