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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ALMS at Lime Rock Park: FPH wrap-up 2011

On Friday, Danny Chin shared about his first experiences at Lime Rock Park a couple years ago and his affections for the scenic racetrack.

Although I have been an avid fan of motorsports for many years now, I never had the opportunity to attend a live race. Yet since I was armed with a camera and a media pass, I somehow believed there will be no surprises. I was in for a big surprise.

That Saturday morning , Hooniverse contributor Blake Z Rong and I made our way to the Media parking lot with little time to spare for the mandatory Photo Meetings. Surely we must have made a wrong turn somewhere because we drove right into the paddock infield, amongst skeletal race cars being treated with final adjustments before the upcoming races. Really, free parking was just an extra cherry on top. I've only arrived, but the intimacy of the team paddock for journalists and fans alike made my eyes as large as jumbo gumballs. I couldn't believe it!

At the Media Center before receiving my high visibility vest, Lime Rock gave photographers and journalists three clear instructions. Always keep your eyes upstream. Make sure race marshals are aware of your presence. Have fun.

Oh, it's on!

The first events were practices for the Prototype Lites, the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge Porsches, and finally the ALMS Series. This provided an opportunity for Danny Chin and I to scope out ideal areas around the track for great photo ops.

Our hike around the track was incredible. Our first location was towards the infield spectator area, a lazy hill of well trimmed grass overlooking the track below. From there, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the park. Next, we made our way towards West Bend and I could already hear the loud engine roar traveling from hundreds of yards away, the sound amplifying as it bounces off the trees. Finally, we and a couple of new friends we made that day made our way towards the Uphill and No Name Straight. We were so close that the fluid inside my ears were probably boiling every time the Team Corvette racing cars flew by. Lime Rock truly is a place where nature and technology exist in harmony, and together provide its visitors a unique experience.

In a recent episode of Top Gear, the three presenters raced their hatchbacks across the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. Jeremy Clarkson said in particular that the Monaco circuit was so exciting to drive that one could put that circuit anywhere on Earth and it wouldn't lose its magical appeal.

But in regards to Lime Rock, take that track anywhere else on Earth and you would have ruined it. This track belongs to Lime Rock Park and soul mates can never leave one another-- that is perhaps the best compliment a venue can receive.

From Lime Rock's e-mail newsletter:
Spectacular weather and a healthy crowd of racing fans set the stage for the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. Chris Dyson and Guy Smith survived the always heavy race traffic for the win in their G-Oil Lola-Mazda LMP1 prototype, holding off Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf in their Muscle Milk Lola-Aston Martin. Finishing third were Humaid Al Masaood and Stephen Kane in the Dyson sister car, the Oryx Racing Lola-Mazda.

In LMP Challenge, Elton Julian and Eric Lux nipped Gunner Jeannette and Ricardo Gonzalez by less than 2 seconds for the win, finishing fourth overall.

The GT-class race was won by Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller in their Team RLL BMW M3, besting second-place Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long’s Porsche 911 RSR by half a lap, while in the GT Challenge battle (all Porsche GT3 Cup cars), the team of Dion von Moltke and Mike Piera got around Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly team very late in the race for the victory.

It really was a great day of racing and Lime Rock wants to thank all the fans who came out for the races.


  1. ALMS races are some of the best a motorsport fan can attend in the US right now!

  2. It was a bit disappointing the LMP class only consisted of two Mazdas and an Aston. They as well as the GT cars put on a quite a show but it would have been amazing to see some more competition like Audis and Peugeot.

  3. Unfortunately, with the way the ILC is set up - you only see Audi and the Pugs roll out the big guns at the events which count towards the cup. Namely, Sebring and the Petit Le Mans. I went to Sebring this year and then will be at Petit again in October - its definitely a much bigger show when the international teams show up - worth a trip down south!