14 Aug

Make It Six: Historic Festival 33 adds Lauren’s ‘Count Trossi’ SSK to Special Mercedes Collection at Lime Rock Sept. 6

Photo by Michael Furman

Photo by Michael Furman

LAKEVILLE, CT – Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 33 Chairman Murray Smith scored another coup by securing yet another historic Mercedes competition car to join the five already confirmed; he’s arranged for one of the very few remaining 1928-1932 Mercedes-Benz SSKs to join the already outstanding display.

In particular, it’s the streamlined SSK built for Count Carlo Felice Trossi. The spectacular “Trossi SSK,” owned by Ralph Lauren, won best of show at the 1993 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the 2007 Concorso D’Eleganza Villa d’Este.

The SSK’s extreme performance and numerous competitive successes made it one of the most highly regarded sports cars of its era. Fewer than six entirely original SSK models remain. The SSK was the last Mercedes-Benz designed by Ferdinand Porsche before he left to found his own car company.

As of today, here’s the outstanding collection of Mercedes competition cars that will be at Historic Festival 33, September 4-7…

  • The “722” 300 SLR driven to victory by Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson in the 1955 Mille Miglia
  • 1954/55 W196 Grand Prix Silver Arrow
  • 1939 W154 Grand Prix Silver Arrow
  • 1930 Mercedes Trossi SSK
  • 1914 Mercedes Grand Prix car (French G.P.)
  • The 1908 Mercedes “Brooklands”
Photo  by IMS

Photo by IMS

The 1908 Mercedes Brooklands, is the sole survivor of only three produced. A Mercedes Brooklands finished fourth in the inaugural 1911 Indy 500 driven by Spencer Wishart, just 10 seconds behind Ray Harroun’s winning Marmon Wasp.

In the 1912 Indy 500, two Brooklands started – one by Wishart and one by Ralph De Palma – and De Palma very nearly won. In the car he nicknamed the Gray Ghost, he led 195 laps, but then a connecting rod broke. De Palma was able to coast one more lap but in the end he was classified 11th, behind winner Joe Dawson. (Wishart completed 82 laps and finished 15th.) These Brooklands were fitted with 583 cubic inch 4 cylinder engines.

The records of the individual Brooklands cars are difficult to distinguish from each other; the racers were leased and loaned to many owners and drivers. De Palma’s Brooklands was later lost in a fire. The Mercedes Brooklands has been kindly lent to Lime Rock by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

“It was the Brooklands models that built the very foundation of Mercedes racing success from the early 1900s onward,” Smith says. “A spectacular grouping, all of these very rare, very special Mercedes in one place at one time? Well, that pretty much speaks for itself, doesn’t it? I can’t tell you how pleased Lime Rock is to bring these cars to its fans and the media in such an intimate, beautiful and historic setting. Having Sir Stirling Moss and Jochen Mass as the weekend’s Honored Guests will add immensely to the Mercedes celebration, of course.”

About the Historic Festival: Since 1983, the East Coast’s premier vintage racing and concours event has been the Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park, held annually over Labor Day weekend. No other venue in the U.S. has three days of on-track racing sandwiching a prestigious concours event all on the same property, all at the same time. Historic Festival 33 is Thursday, September 3 (17-mile Vintage Race & Sports Car Parade) through Monday, September 7, while the Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance & Gathering of the Marques is September 6. Historic Festival 33 features Honored Guests Sir Stirling Moss and Jochen Mass, and one of the most distinctive gatherings of Mercedes-Benz competition cars in recent memory. Schedule: Thursday, Vintage Race Car Parade; Friday, Practice & Qualifying; Saturday, 18 races and demonstration laps; Sunday in the Park Concours; Monday, 18 races and demonstration laps. Ticket and other information at limerockhistorics.com & limerock.com


11 Aug

October 8th, 2015 Survive the Drive “Behind the Wheel” at Lime Rock Park


Survive the Drive will be holding a “Behind the Wheel” Defensive Driver Training event on Thursday, October 8th at Lime Rock Park.   “Behind the Wheel” offers teen friendly, comprehensive, cost effective defensive driver education. The hands-on defensive driver training course was developed to demonstrate:

  • Crash Avoidance Maneuvers
  • Skid Capability
  • Vehicle Control
  • Braking Exercises
  • New Car Autonomous Technologies

Survive the Drive’s “Behind the Wheel” Defensive Driver Training program was created based on information and experience gathered by Survive the Drive’s professional staff and Board of Directors, each offering decades of service, education and experience in driver training, transportation safety and auto racing instruction.

Call Today at (860) 806-3042 to Register or Find Out More!

Participants Must:

• Present a valid DMV Drivers license or permit
• Provide proof of insurance
• Be accompanied by parent or guardian
(If under 18 years of age)
• Provide proof of registration of their participating vehicle
• Wear flat shoe, no sandals or open toes
• Wear comfortable clothing
• Have good tires and possess one spare tire or run-flat tires
* Be sure to check your gas gauge before arrival!

More about Survive the Drive:

Survive the Drive is an independent, not for profit, educational resource that provides risk awareness presentations and safe driving instruction to individuals, schools and community groups

The organizations program is designed to educate novice drivers through the use of a multi-media presentation and a hands-on defensive driver training course. The presentation focuses the students attention on the detrimental activity of texting, reading, drinking, phoning and any other activities that impair consciousness to the ever-present operational hazards of their heavy, moving equipment. The hands-on defensive driver training course was developed to demonstrate crash avoidance maneuvers, skid capability, vehicle control, braking exercises and new car autonomous technologies.

Survive the Drive presentations can be scheduled as a single assembly or as an accompanying presentation that will focus on each student’s competence and the desire to be their “Best Behind the Wheel.”


27 Jul

Four significant M-B competition cars confirmed for Historic Festival 33 at Lime Rock Sept. 3-7


Lakeville, CT – Competition cars from Mercedes-Benz will be the stars of Lime Rock Park’s Historic Festival 33, September 3-7, 2015. Event Chairman Murray Smith has confirmed the presence of four outstanding race cars:

From the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Stuttgart, Germany

  • The “722” 300 SLR driven to victory by Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson in the 1955 Mille Miglia
  • A 1954/55 W196 Silver Arrow grand prix car

From The Revs Institute, Naples, Fla.

  • 1939 W154 Silver Arrow grand prix car
  • 1914 Mercedes grand prix car (French G.P.)

Smith is currently in conversation with additional entities regarding other rare and significant Mercedes-Benz competition cars; announcements to follow.

• Historic Festival 33’s Honored Guests are Sir Stirling Moss and racing legend Jochen Mass, Mercedes-Benz Classic Center driver

• The Honored Collector for Sunday in the Park 2015 is Jim Taylor, of Gloversville, N.Y. Jim’s unique perspective focuses heavily on collecting “survivors” – cars that show their history and wear it proudly, and aren’t always washed much less restored – as well as eclectic, special cars with significant character. Among the cars Mr. Taylor is bringing to Historic Festival 33 are:

  • “The Evangel,” a 1935 Ford V8 “gospel truck”
  • 1937 Horch 853A Cabriolet
  • 1953 Allard J2X Le Mans
  • 1964 AC Cobra (289 – CSX 2171)
  • 1958 AC Ace Bristol
  • 1962 Chevrolet Corvair wagon (with special factory 4-speed manual transmission)
  • 1932 Ford hot rod

• The Honored Motorcycle Collector for Sunday in the Park 2015 is Rob Iannucci – Team Obsolete – of Brooklyn, N.Y. Rob Iannucci is one of the great stewards of the vintage motorcycle racing community in North America and internationally. Through his racing organization, Team Obsolete, he has participated in and won most of the important vintage motorcycle racing events in the world. Mr. Iannucci’s collection primarily focuses on bikes from Matchless and AJS, with a sprinkling of racing Harleys and other two-wheeled masterpieces. Not just any bikes, these are some of the most famous racing bikes in the world coming to Lime Rock Park.

  • 1954 AJS 7R3 “Triple Knocker,” ex-Rod Coleman, 1954 Isle of Man TT winner
  • 1959 Matchless G-50 #1709, ex-Al Gunter
  • 1969 Arter G-50 “Wagon Wheels”
  • 1967 MV Agusta 500/3; this is one of the legendary “triples” used by Giacomo Agostini to win 13 of his 15 F.I.M. World Championships… The Ultimate!
  • 1972 Harley Davidson 750 XRTT – Cal Rayborn’s last and best XR750TT… The Holy Grail of all the XR 750TT Harleys

New... Sunday in the Park is now accepting post-1985 cars in select classes to spotlight modern marvels (click here) to see the complete class list, some of which have post-1985 divisions)

• Lime Rock Park has made a multi-million dollar investment in its infrastructure as part of the Road to 60 Project. The facility is now substantially improved as compared to 2014 and prior. Rebuilt and/or all-new include: Paddocks, restrooms, viewing areas, walkways, landscaping, Wi-Fi system, PA system and more.


Find more information at www.limerockhistorics.com


15 Apr

Lime Rock spending millions as it builds a better fan experience


LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Late last year, Lime Rock Park Track President Skip Barber committed more than $3 million to a wide variety of projects to rebuild, refine and renew Lime Rock’s infrastructure. The goal of the so-called Road to 60 Project is to dramatically enhance the spectator experience from 2015 onward.

“From the paddocks and the bathrooms to the hillside viewing areas, we’re changing Lime Rock’s infrastructure from pre-historic to be perhaps the most fan friendly road course in North America,” Barber said.

Not since Lime Rock Park’s race track surface itself was re-built in 2008 has a construction project of this magnitude been greenlighted at the famous 1.5-mile automotive and motorsports venue in Connecticut’s Northwest Corner. Some of those projects will be complete in time for Lime Rock’s season-opener – the Memorial Day Weekend Trans Am Series, and Royals Sunday Car Show, May 22-24 – and many more in time for the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar weekend July 24-25.

“In 2008, the track itself had to get done – it was exceedingly bumpy, it needed more guardrail, better run-off areas – and that’s what we did for the competitors. Road to 60 is for the fans,” Barber said. The target for completion of all Road to 60 projects is 2017, when Lime Rock Park celebrates its 60th anniversary.

“We’re doing what we need to do – what we want to do – to ensure the track’s professional racing future,” Barber says. “Major sports car races have defined Lime Rock since the day it opened, and I’m making sure that continues well into the future.

“It’s important to note that everything we’re doing, all the changes, all the improvements… all will make Lime Rock more useful, easier to navigate, more sensible – but all with an eye to making Lime Rock even more beautiful than it already is. I have no doubt that, just in the case of our paddocks, Lime Rock’s will be the most attractive in the U.S.”

Of the multitude of Road to 60 projects underway, the highlights are…

To be completely re-done and much larger, plus: laser-graded-and-paved to eliminate standing water; it will be landscaped; there’ll be defined spectator walkways and cobblestone curbing; and the roadways through the paddock will be much wider. The new A-Paddock is specifically designed to allow two complete race rigs, tractors included, to park in-line – with a walkway in between – from inside Big Bend up to Victory Circle. Additionally, it will provide large and extremely efficient driving exercise and hospitality acreage for automakers as well as other ride-and-drive, press day and driver-training clients.

A-Paddock one week after construction began

A-Paddock one week after construction began

April 2015: A-Paddock will have an attractive retention pond behind the newly placed Big Bend inside guardrail

April 2015: A-Paddock will have an attractive retention pond behind the newly placed Big Bend inside guardrail

Being completely re-done: Paved in its entirety (and also laser-graded to eliminate standing water), there’ll be much more usable space. Like A-Paddock, it will provide large and extremely efficient driving exercise and hospitality acreage.

April 2015, B-Paddock: You can see all the white base gravel, in preparation for paving

April 2015, B-Paddock: You can see all the white base gravel, in preparation for paving

Infield Spectator Hillside
Completely re-done: Close to 100,000 square yards of earth was moved, re-contoured, re-sloped and/or removed to dramatically improve and expand the sightlines as well as make Lime Rock’s famous “picnic-blanket-and-lawn-chair” experience even more enjoyable. With this re-working of the hill, close to 45 percent of the track can now be seen from this Hillside; with just a turn of the head.

Additionally, the Infield Spectator Hillside has been extended all the way through the inside curve of the Right-hander, creating an entirely new and exciting viewing area of No Name Straight and the Uphill. The Hillside reconfiguration has also allowed the spectator fencing to be moved even closer to the circuit in many locations.

April 2015: The re-contoured and lengthened Infield Hillside

April 2015: The re-contoured and lengthened Infield Hillside

Hospitality Acreage
There will now be a total of three large areas of Lime Rock property dedicated to corporate, race team and VIP hospitality. The popular Outfield hospitality acreage remains essentially the same but the existing hospitality area in the Infield (between the Chalets) has been significantly increased in size and laser-graded. The third is an exciting new hospitality area that overlooks the Right-hander and No Name Straight.


April 2015: The beginnings of the all-new Hospitality area overlooking the Right-hander. This is looking southwest, toward No Name Straight.

April 2015: The beginnings of the all-new Hospitality area overlooking the Right-hander. This is looking southwest, toward No Name Straight.

A-Paddock Rest Rooms
The Men’s Room will be completely rebuilt, and the Ladies Room totally refreshed.

Handicap Access
It will be improved and/or added throughout much of the facility.

Also: There’ll be a new PA system; expanded and robust Wi-Fi; improved cellular service; and improvements and expansions to the other spectator areas

Skip Barber added, “Road to 60 accomplishes many things for Lime Rock’s future, both short term and long. For each project, I asked myself, ‘What’s the best way to do this to make the Lime Rock experience better for the fan?’ While not forgetting the competitors, sanctioning bodies, the car makers, hospitality clients, the Lime Rock Drivers Club and all the driving and racing organizations, I’m pretty sure we’ve made good decisions.”

About Lime Rock Park
Lime Rock Park, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been “New England’s Road Racing Home” since its opening in 1957. It is a 7-turn, 1.5-mile road racing circuit in Connecticut’s celebrated Northwest Corner – approximately halfway between New York City and Boston – and holds FIA-listed national and international road racing events, driving schools, track days, corporate events, and non-automotive public and private functions. The president and owner of Lime Rock Park is Skip Barber. Learn more at www.limerock.com



06 Jan

Lime Rock Offers Winter Autocross Days Beginning January 9th

Anyone can get ‘Slideways’ on the Winter Autocross Course at Lime Rock Park

Anyone can get ‘Slideways’ on the Winter Autocross Course at Lime Rock Park

Lakeville, CT – In what is a first for a Northeast U.S. motorsports venue, starting this month Lime Rock Park is offering Winter Autocross Days. Lime Rock now has large-capacity snowmaking and grooming equipment and has scheduled Friday and Saturday winter autocross events open to any licensed driver. No winter driving experience is necessary.

“First and foremost, driving hard and getting ‘slideways’ in the snow is simply a whole bunch of fun,” said Lime Rock lead winter driving coach Stephan Bastrzycki. “Who hasn’t booted the tail out or hand-braked their car in a snowy parking lot somewhere?

“You don’t have to have any previous experience. Doing this under the watch of our instructors on Lime Rock’s autocross course, not only is it fun, thrilling and very safe, but you cannot believe what you learn with regard to what we call ‘car control skills’ which will make you a much better, safer driver, whether on snow, ice, in the rain or in the dry,” Bastrzycki continued.

“Any vehicle – all-wheel-, rear-wheel- or front-wheel drive – can be driven quickly in the snow. We’ll teach those uninitiated in the fun of snow driving some specialized techniques appropriate to each vehicle type.”

The Winter Driving events – some people call them “snowcross” or “WAX” (winter autocross) – are held on Lime Rock’s 1,200-foot autocross course in the upper infield area. Three or four cars are sent out at a time, with appropriate spacing between each vehicle; there is no racing involved.

A luxury chalet provides a warm respite for restroom breaks as well as snacks, coffee, hot chocolate and beverages. A bonfire will be going at the autocross staging area, too.

Lime Rock’s Winter Autocross facility is the direct result of requests by the members of the private Lime Rock Drivers Club (LRDC). One of its newest members, realizing he could help bring this to fruition, connected us with the right experts and equipment to make it happen. The Winter Autocross facility was created primarily for the Lime Rock Drivers Club, which has graciously opened it up for non-members between the private LRDC days.

The winter autocross developed out of the success of Lime Rock’s Open Autocross Days (including a season-long series championship) held April through November. The 2013 and 2014 Open Autocross seasons saw more than 500 drivers – from teens and seniors to track-day enthusiasts and race car drivers – experience the fun and excitement of driving as fast as they can in a fun, safe environment. Now anyone can do it all winter long thanks to schedulable, weather-independent snowmaking at Lime Rock Park.

The cost is $300 per driver and includes coaching from professional winter driving instructors.

Lime Rock Winter Open Enrollment Autocross Days:
Friday, January 9
Saturday, January 10
Friday, January 23
Saturday, January 24
Friday, January 30
Saturday, January 31
Friday, February 6
Saturday, February 7
Friday, February 20
Saturday, February 21
Friday, February 27
Saturday, February 28
Friday, March 6
Saturday, March 7

Reservations and purchases of Open Enrollment Winter Autocross can be done online. Questions can be directed to the Winter Autocross specialists at 860.435.5000.

Courtesy: Lime Rock Park



All photography by Casey Keil and Rick Roso at Lime Rock Park.

All photography by Casey Keil and Rick Roso at Lime Rock Park.


05 Nov

Lime Rock’s 2015 Event Schedule is Announced

Lime Rock, CT – Today, Lime Rock Park announced its 2015 Major Event Schedule:


Lime Rock’s Traditional Memorial Day Weekend Season Opener
Featuring the Trans Am Series & the Sunday Royals Car Show
Friday, Saturday & Sunday, May 22-24

Trans Am cars are big, bad ass and brutal – and really fast at Lime Rock. With Dodge coming on board to Trans Am in 2014, the real “Pony Car Wars” are back: Mustang versus Camaro versus Challenger. The next day is the sixth annual Sunday Royals Car Show, Connecticut’s best “workingman’s” show, the anti-concours concours; great cars of every kind, from hot rods to sports cars and everything in between. If it’s cool, it’s here.


TUDOR United SportsCar Championship
Featuring IMSA Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona
Plus Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
Friday & Saturday, July 24-25

IMSA is back after a one-year hiatus, with the super-quick PC Prototypes and the GT Daytona (GTD) production-based sports cars racing together in this mid-summer spree of speed! The ORECA FLM09 prototypes reach more than 150 mph on Sam Posey Straight – and the GTDs (everything from Aston Martins, Audi R8s and BMW Z4s to Ferraris, 911s and Dodge SRT Vipers) aren’t far behind. PLUS, both classes of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge – some of the best stock car road racing in the world – are here. You’ll see the big, loud and fast Camaros, Porsches, Mustangs, Aston Martins, BMWs and 370Zs banging fenders in GS, while the ST race has the quick and agile Hondas, VWs, BMW 128/328, Mazda 3/MX-5 and Porsche Boxsters. IMSA has been racing at Lime Rock since the early 1970s, and the tradition continues.


Lime Rock’s Traditional Labor Day Weekend Historic Festival 33
Featuring the Thursday Race Car Parade and the Sunday in the Park Concours & Gathering of the Marques
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday, September 3-7

Since 1983, the East Coast’s premier vintage and historic motorsport event has been Lime Rock’s Historic Festival and its companion Sunday in the Park Concours & Gathering of the Marques. Honored Guests and Honored Collectors help create five days of motoring magnificence that begins with the free Vintage Race Car Parade and Falls Village Street Fair on Thursday, Sept. 3, continues with racing on Friday and Saturday, the Concours and Gathering on Sunday (more than 1,200 cars are in the Park!), and ends at 6:00 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7, when the final checkered flag falls on the last of 40 races. As always, more than 250 vintage and historic race cars will fill A Paddock, the Swap Meet in B Paddock will be packed, the Midway is alive with activities – and the racing on the track is non-stop from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Monday. Historic Festival 33… There’s nothing else like it anywhere in North America.


Tickets www.limerock.com

15 Sep

NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne at Lime Rock this Thursday, Sept. 18


LAKEVILLE, Conn. (Sept. 15) – Jeff Gordon, along with teammate Kasey Kahne, Rick Hendrick and Alan Gustafson, are at Lime Rock Park from 3:00 to 5:30, Thursday, Sept. 18, for the track’s efforts to raise funds and awareness for AARP Foundation’s “Drive to End Hunger” campaign. NASCAR star Gordon has spearheaded Drive to End Hunger since 2011.

Gordon, Kahne and Gustafson (Gordon’s crew chief on the #24 Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports Chevy SS in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series) are giving “hot laps” around Lime Rock’s storied 1.5-mile, 7-turn circuit to those who donated to Drive to End Hunger, following a 45-minute hosted interview for hundreds of fans, each of whom donated $24 to be here. They’ll be driving prototype 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28s.

Local racing star Liam Dwyer (Southbury, Conn.), the armed forces amputee who made national news in May following his IMSA race win at Lime Rock on Memorial Day weekend – and someone Gordon has wanted to meet – will also be here; he’ll be giving Gordon some “recon” laps prior to the hot laps as Jeff has not raced at Lime Rock before.

Lime Rock Park has set a goal of raising $96,000 in 2014 for Drive to End Hunger, the track’s Official Charity, and Thursday is the biggest element so far of the effort which provides food to needful seniors via the Connecticut Food Bank.

12 Aug

IMSA Tudor Championship Racing Coming to Lime Rock in 2015

Lakeville CT – The IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship series has announced its 2015 schedule, and it is set to visit Lime Rock Park for the first time, featuring the Tudor GT Daytona (GTD) and Prototype Challenge (PC) series on July 24-25, 2015.

“This is simply an outstanding and exciting schedule for racing fans across North America” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett in a statement, “We wanted to further elevate what was an impressive Tudor Championship schedule in 2014 and we accomplished that goal with the addition of Lime Rock Park by popular demand.”


IMSA Tudor GT Daytona (below) and Prototype Challenge (above) coming to Lime Rock in 2015


In addition, both classes (Grand Sport and Street Tuner) of the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series will be racing that weekend. “This will be a fabulous sports car racing weekend,” said track president Skip Barber. “All these championships are known for big, highly competitive fields, especially when they race at Lime Rock.”

Tudor GTD cars include the Aston Martin V12, Audi R8 LMS, BMW Z4, Ferrari 458 Italia, Porsche 911 GT America and the SRT Dodge Viper GT3-R. The Prototype Challenge cars are much like the high-tech LMP2 cars but with a spec engine and chassis.


The Continental Tire series (above) was here this past Memorial Day weekend, where they put on a great show. The GS cars include Aston Martin Vantage, BMW M3, Chevy Camaro GS.R, Ford Mustang Boss 302 R, Nissan 370Z, Porsche 997 and Subaru WRX-STI. The STs are BMW 128 and 325, Honda Civic Si, Hyundai Genesis, Mazda MX-5, Nissan Altima and Porsche Boxster and Cayman.

“IMSA Tudor and Continental sports cars at Lime Rock are perfect for a mid-summer race weekend,” Barber says. “We are all looking forward to it.”

Lime Rock Park


21 Jul

Bentley Motors Named Presenting Sponsor of ‘Sunday in the Park’

LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Murray Smith, chairman of each year’s Lime Rock Park Historic Festival, announced that Bentley Motors has teamed with Lime Rock to be presenting sponsor of Sunday in the Park, the annual concours d’ elegance on Sam Posey Straight supported by the Gathering of the Marques, an enthusiast meet that sees 800+ collector cars displayed on the remainder of the 1.5-mile circuit.

Sunday in the Park is a signature element of Lime Rock’s traditional five-day Historic Festival, and is organized by noted restorer Kent Bain.

“Bentley is a brand synonymous with the terms heritage and performance,” Smith said, “and that makes them a wonderful partner for Lime Rock’s concours. Kent goes to great lengths to ensure our Sunday event celebrates both the art of the automobile and the essence of motorsports.”

With roots deeply engrained in motorsport, Bentley gained fame in 1924 when it entered – and won – the Le Mans 24 Hours, with a 3-litre car piloted by Capt. John Duff and Frank Clement, changing the course of Bentley history in the process. All told, the company secured five Le Mans victories between 1924 and 1930, forever immortalizing all their drivers, dubbed the “Bentley Boys.”

Bain said, “This year celebrates both the 90th anniversary of Bentley’s first victory at Le Mans and their much-anticipated return to motorsport with the new Bentley Continental GT3, run by Dyson Racing in Pirelli World Challenge. Bentley’s partnership with Sunday in the Park is a synergy not often realized. We are so pleased.”

Jon DiVaio, Bentley Motors Regional Marketing & Motorsport Manager, said, “While the brand has enjoyed great success on the racetrack, it also continues to produce the finest automobiles in the world, thanks to unparalleled quality and attention to detail that can only come from the hands of Bentley craftsmen. It is this dedication to company heritage and a passion for performance that continues to drive the new era of Bentley products. With our Sunday in the Park partnership, Bentley Motors joins Lime Rock Park in celebrating its victories of the past, present and future.”

Bob Reed of North Kingston, R.I., has entered a 1929 Blower Bentley for the Saturday and Monday historics races, while another ’29, the spectacular Ralph Lauren-owned “Birkin” Blower Bentley, will be on show all weekend. And at least a half-dozen Bentleys are expected to be entered into the Sunday concours. Dyson Racing is bringing one of its new Bentley Continental GT3 race cars, too.

Since 1983, the East Coast’s premier vintage racing and concours event has been the Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park, held annually over Labor Day weekend. No other venue in the U.S. has three days of on-track racing sandwiching a prestigious concours event all on the same property. Historic Festival 32 is Thursday, August 28 (Race Car Parade presented by Abarth U.S.A.)  through Monday, September 1, while Sunday in the Park is presented by Bentley, August 31. Historic Festival 32 features Honored Guests Sir Stirling Moss & Lady Susie, and a very rare public showing of five cars from Ralph Lauren‘s personal collection. Schedule: Thursday Vintage Race Car Parade; Friday Practice & Qualifying; Saturday 18 races; Sunday in the Park Concours Presented by Bentley; Monday 18 races. Visit limerockhistorics.com

16 Jul

Ralph Lauren’s Collection: The Five Cars Gracing the Grounds of Lime Rock Park, August 29 – September 1

As if you needed another reason to attend Lime Rock Park’s Historic Festival 32 over Labor Day weekend, Murray Smith, chairman of the event, has confirmed which cars from Ralph Lauren’s private collection will be displayed over the four-day Labor Day weekend that comprises historic and vintage racing competition surrounding a concours d’elegance. Mr. Lauren’s private collection is spectacular – and it is a very rare event when cars of his are made available to the public at large.

At Lime Rock Park will be…


1953 Morgan Flat Rad
Ralph Lauren’ first car was a Morgan. This perfect example of a Morgan Flat Rad (radiator) is one of just 750 built and was purchased by Lauren in 1986.



1964 Ferrari 250 LM
The Ferrari 250 LM was introduced at the Paris Auto Show in October, 1963 to great fanfare. In the LM, Pinninfarina presented a great case-study in how form following function can be beautiful. Unable to obtain the necessary homologation for GT racing, the 250 LM raced in the prototype category; a 250LM won Le Mans in 1965. Between 1965 and 1968, chassis 6321 – 31 of 32 built – was campaigned extensively and successfully in 19 Australian racing events, winning 13. Among those victories was the Surfers Paradise 12 hours in 1966, co-driven by Andy Buchanan and a young driver just beginning a brilliant career… Jackie Stewart.



1929 Birkin Blower Bentley
The concept of the 4½ Liter, supercharged Bentleys (The Blower Cars) originated with Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, privileged son of a wealthy family whose resources allowed him to pursue his ambition of becoming a race car driver. Birkin developed a friendship with W.O. Bentley and given Birkin’s connections, Bentley realized that Birkin could help the struggling car maker (which was going bankrupt) to win important races. Birkin knew he would need a lot of power to compete with the supercharged Mercedes, Alfa and Bugatti racing cars of the time and came up with the idea of supercharging the then-fastest 4½ Liter Bentleys. Bentley, though skeptical, conceded and built 50 supercharged cars to qualify for the 1929 Le Mans 24 Hour race. Birkin built two “works cars,” but neither finished. (A “Speed Six” Bentley placed first, followed by 4½ Liter, non-supercharged Bentleys placing second, third and fourth.) With his money running low, Birkin convinced friend, noted socialite and horsewoman Dorothy Paget to help finance his team. Entering Le Mans again in 1930 with two Bentleys (#8 and #9) including chassis HR3976, which carries the Paget crest between the radiator cap and the Bentley badge, the Birkin cars did very well – while they lasted (the fastest race-lap, 6 minutes 48 seconds, was set by the 9 car). Birkin’s cars again failed to finish; HR3976, driven by Dr. Dudley Benjafield and Giulio Ramponi, completed 144 laps before it broke a piston. This car’s best finish was a second at the 1930 French Grand Prix (Pau) at the hands of Birkin. By the end of 1930 Paget’s patience with the Birkin team ran out; she cut off funding and the team closed up shop. HR 3976 was then sold to a Frenchman, racing at Le Mans in 1932 and 1933, again failing to finish either. This car was restored in 1990 by Traction Seabert of England with care given to not over-restore it but rather to maintain it in its “as raced” condition. It is one of only two “short chassis” (9’ 9 ½“) Bentleys built.



1956 Jaguar XKSS
When it comes to performance, the Jaguar XKSS was in a league of its own, likely the world’s quickest and fastest production car in 1957. The XKSS was a road-going version of Jaguar’s incredibly successful D-Type race car; factory run D-Types won Le Mans in 1955, 1956 and 1957 while privateer D-Types won many other races, too. Jaguar was convinced by Briggs Cunningham that it could win in American SCCA production car racing, where the rules required 50 street-legal cars be built. So Jaguar changed the model number of 25 XKDs to XKSS, with 25 more to be built to meet the minimum 50. Turn signals, a larger windshield, bumpers and the like were installed. Unchanged from the competition D-Type was the engine (the 250-bhp dry-sump 3.4-liter straight-6), the rack-and-pinion steering and disc brakes. As the conversion work began on the first 25 XKDs, a fire at the Brown’s Lane factory in February 1957 destroyed nine of the cars – and all of the tooling. The 16 surviving XKSS were converted and delivered. Later, two original D-Types were returned to Jaguar and converted to XKSS specifications. One of those, XKD533, is the Ralph Lauren car, changed to an XKSS at the factory in 1958 for Pierre Chemin of France.



1959 Porsche RSK
Porsche’s first outright victory in a manufacturer’s championship came in the 1959 Targa Florio, as the new RSK led three other Porsches across the finish line for a clean sweep. This car, 718-009, was used for practice in that event and was sent into battle for the remainder of the season. The most significant race for 718-009 was the Tourist Trophy on the Goodwood Circuit in England on September 5, 1959. Porsche lay third in the points with 15 against Ferrari’s 18 and Aston Martin’s 16. Victory for any of the three would bring the crown. The drivers of 718-009 were Count Joakim “Jo” Bonnier and Wolfgang von Trips. Holding off the 3-litre Aston Martin driven by Stirling Moss proved an impossible challenge, but 718-009 headed Tony Brooks’ Ferrari – boasting an engine twice the size of the Porsche – into the last of the race’s six hours. Von Tripps broke the class-B sports car lap record four times, running 92.9 mph on the penultimate lap, and finished in second place, two seconds ahead of Brooks in the Ferrari; Aston Martin took the championship.



1953 Morgan Flat Rad
Serial number:P2472
Quantity Built: 750
Ownership History
1954: Unknown
1986: Ralph Lauren, USA

1964 Ferrari 250 LM
Serial number: 6321
Body Builder:Scaglietti
Quantity built:32
Ownership History
1964: David McKay (Scuderia Veloce), Australia
1984: Ralph Lauren, U.S.A.

1929 Birkin Blower Bentley
Model:4.5 Litre Birkin Team Car
Serial Number HR3976
Body Builder:Vanden Plas
Quantity Built:4 (One of only two short-wheelbase cars)
Ownership History
1929: Dorothy Wyndham Paget, England
1931: Unconfirmed; Jean Trevoux and E. Mary, France
1934: R.C. Murton-Neale, England
1935: Peter J. Robertson-Rodger, England
1946: William Shortt, England
1967: E. Neil Comer, England
1972: Anthony Bamford, England
1988: Ralph Lauren, U.S.A.

1956 Jaguar XKSS
Year:1956 as an XKD (then changed to XKSS in 1958 )
Serial number:XKD533
Quantity built:16 + 2
Ownership History
1956: Delacroix, France; Monnoyeur, France
1957: Pierre Chemin, France
1970: Dr. Phillippe Renault, France
1988: David Cottingham, England
1989: Kerry Manolas, Australia
1989: Ralph Lauren, U.S.A.

1959 Porsche RSK
Serial number:718-009
Quantity built:34
Ownership History
1988: Purchased from Richard Roth

Since 1983, the East Coast’s premier vintage racing and concours event has been the Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park, held annually over Labor Day weekend. No other venue in the U.S. has three days of on-track racing sandwiching a prestigious concours event all on the same property. Historic Festival 32 is Friday, August 29 through Monday, September 1, while the Sunday in the Park Concours d’ Elegance Presented by Bentley is August 31. Historic Festival 32 features Honored Guests Sir Stirling Moss & Lady Susie, and a very rare public showing of five cars from Ralph Lauren’s personal collection. Schedule: Friday Practice & Qualifying; Saturday 18 races; Sunday in the Park Concours Presented by Bentley; Monday 18 races. Visit limerockhistorics.com