Fine weather, fine cars a winning combo for LRP
LIME ROCK — Mostly fine weather over Labor Day weekend made this year’s vintage festival at Lime Rock Park a win-win event for everyone. Racers had safe conditions for driving and showing their lovingly cared-for elder automobiles. Visitors were able to sit on the grassy hillsides around the track and enjoy the racing, or walk Sunday’s concours, without umbrellas. And attendance was high for the five-day event.
“At this point Saturday’s attendance was bigger than last year’s Saturday,” said the park’s public relations manager, Rick Roso over the weekend. “We estimate a nice, five-figure number for the entire slate of events since Thursday.”
Festivities began Sept. 1, the day before the festival opened, with a first-time ever 14.7 mile race car parade. About 70 vintage MG and other race cars paraded through Lime Rock, Lakeville, Salisbury, Amesville and Falls Village. The parade ended with a line up and show at the Falls Village Inn, which hosted a street fair and block party.
The combined vintage festival and Sunday in the Park Concours is one of the biggest events for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut, the official charity of LRP, which set a goal of raising $100,000 this year.
Aside from park donations from program sales, many of the 300 participating vintage race car drivers solicited “per-lap” pledges from family, friends and sponsors for Make-A-Wish.
This year, the track also partnered with The Moviehouse in Millerton for a special showing of the documentary film “Senna,” about a famous Formula One driver who died while racing (see story, this page).
This year’s Historic Festival was presented by Jaguar, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the famous E-Type car and the 60th anniversary of Jaguar’s first win at LeMans.
The Honored Collector of this year’s festival was Philadelphia neurosurgeon Frederick Simeone, who brought a stable of significant vintage autos for the Sunday Concours.
In addition to the many Jaguars on display, this year there were corrals for BMWs, Austin Healeys, Porsches, MGs, Lotuses, Corvettes and other makes, including one special corral dedicated to Italian makes and models.
It was truly an international event. Not only were many of the race cars from overseas, drivers in Saturday’s races came from 23 states (stretching from California to Maine) as well as Canada, Denmark, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
One of the unique attractions of Lime Rock is that fans can walk around the race pits and paddock. That area was crowded with fans of all ages getting close-up views of the vintage cars, watching them being prepared for racing and taking the opportunity to speak with the pit crews.
Complete race results for the weekend will be posted at www.limerock.com.
Click here for more on Labor Day at Lime Rock Park.