Open for racing since 1957, Lime Rock Park has played an important role in American motorsports. A natural terrain road racing venue, Lime Rock Park is tucked away in the small hamlet of Lakeville in the Berkshire Mountains area of Northwest Connecticut. But it’s still easily accessible from Boston, New York City and all points in the Northeast. The 1.5-mile, seven-turn course features plenty of deceptively complex hilly driving, thanks to tricky cambers and varied track widths. The park has played host to numerous historic races and drivers.
History of Lime Rock Park
Lime Rock Park began as a gravel pit on land owned by the Vaill family that Jim Vaill used to race his friend Jack Fisher’s MG-TC. As rumors of the informal races spread, local motorsports enthusiasts, including Briggs Cunningham, Bill Milliken and John Fitch, convinced the Vaills to build a permanent road racing course on the 325-acre parcel. The original track was built by Jim and his father Frank, with design input from Milliken, an engineer at Cornell, and safety guidance from Fitch, who became the park’s first general manager.
Lime Rock Park belongs to what many call the Golden Age of road racing in America, opening in 1957, the same year as Laguna Seca, and following closely behind Road America’s debut in 1955 and Watkins Glen’s in 1956. The first race day was held April 28, 1957, with a G-Production class race won by Ted Sprigg in an Alfa Romeo Giulietta and an MG class race won by Charles “Skip” Callanan in an MG-TC.
Lime Rock cemented its fame in 1959, when it hosted a historic Formula Libre where Roger Ward beat out a Maserati Formula One and DBR-1 Aston Martin in a Kurtis-Kraft Offy midget car. The 60s were filled with SCCA championship events at the park, while Can-Am, F5000, Trans-Am, Camel GTP and ALMS championships were held there during the 70s and 80s.
For decades, Lime Rock was owned and operated by racing legend Skip Barber, who is credited with guiding the park through two major renovations while preserving the historic character of the venue. In 2008, the track surface was entirely repaved, while in 2014, just in time for Lime Rock’s 60th anniversary, the park received upgraded paddocks, gardens, walkways and spectator amenities. In 2021 at the age of 84, Barber transferred ownership and operations to an investment group yet remains a member of the management committee.
Fun Facts About Lime Rock Park
- Lime Rock Park is almost exactly halfway between Boston and New York City. Both Bostonians and New Yorkers can reach the track in about 2.5 hours.
- The main course features seven turns, but alternate configurations with eight, nine or 10 turns are possible. All configurations are approximately the same length of 1.5 miles.
- Lime Rock Park has always been a favorite track of top drivers. Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Al Holbert, Geoff Brabham, Paul Newman, Derek Bell, Tom Kristensen, Scott Pruett, Tommy Kendall, Bill Auberlen and many more have raced here.
- At one time or another, the park has played host to most top races, including the American Le Mans Series, IMSA, Grand-Am, NASCAR, SCCA, Trans Am and more.
- Lime Rock Park is unique among track venues because it is actually a park. Spectators can freely picnic on hillsides and under shade trees as they watch events.
- In the 2008 upgrade, Skip Barber insisted on preserving all the original track design and layout features. This makes Lime Rock unique among tracks and means drivers today drive the exact same line with the same corner references as the first racers in 1957.
- The fastest lap time at the park was set in 1993 by Parnell P.J. Jones, who drove the 1.5-mile course in 43.112 seconds in a Toyota-powered Eagle MkIII prototype.
Events at Lime Rock Park are always exciting. Find a complete schedule of upcoming events at Lime Rock Park. And as always, make sure you and your car are protected during track day events with insurance from Lockton Motorsports. Find the policy that fits your needs and explore more track resources.