Mille Miglia-winning 300 SLR Mercedes to star at Lime Rock Historic Festival
Murray Smith, chairman of Lime Rock Park’s Labor Day Weekend historic festival, announced that Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that the factory will send to Connecticut’s Northwest Corner “722,” the 300SLR sports car with which Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson stormed to victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia. Also coming from the factory collection will be a W196 Formula One Grand Prix car of the type that Juan Manuel Fangio and Moss finished first and second in the world championship the same year.
On hand to drive the cars at Lime Rock will be Sir Stirling himself as well as Mercedes Classic official driver Jochen Mass, who of course won the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Sauber Mercedes C9, in addition to being the winningest driver of the Group C era. The Jochen’s C.V. includes a Formula 1 victory for McLaren and a win at the 1987 Sebring 12 Hours, teamed with Bobby Rahal in the Bayside Porsche 962.
Smith said, “Stirling’s drive to victory in the Mille Miglia is one of the outstanding sporting feats of the 20th century… right up there with Roger Bannister's sub-4-minute mile and Jean-Claude Killy’s three gold medals in the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics.
“It is probably the single greatest drive of all time in motorsports.”
Smith continued, “We are delighted that Mercedes have honored us with this gesture. We are planning to reciprocate by underlining the three pointed star's outstanding sporting and engineering legacy as we organize a truly great display of the company's cars from the last 10 decades.”
This exemplary gathering of Mercedes-Benz machinery will stand-out at Historic Festival 33 even as the grounds are graced with 280 vintage and historic cars in nine racing groups Friday, Saturday and Monday, and on Sunday when more than 800 vehicles of the highest calibre are on display for the Sunday in the Park Concours d' Elegance and its concomitant Gathering of the Marques.
Click here for ticket information.
Mille Miglia-winning 300 SLR Mercedes to star at Lime Rock Historic Festival
In 2007, Middletown, Conn.’s Joey Logano was racing in the NASCAR Busch East Series – it’s now the Xfinity Series – and the 10th race of the season’s 13 was the Mohegan Sun 200 at Lime Rock Park. Just a week before, Logano had graduated from his Skip Barber Three Day Racing School. Not only did Logano win the Mohegan Sun 200, he went on to take the 2007 title, winning five races. (Photo: Joey Logano in Lime Rock's Lefthander, 2007)
A couple years later, Skip Barber caught up with Logano and they had a nice conversation about road racing. Motorsports writer Shawn Courchesne, who now runs racedayct.com, wrote up the transcript.
Following you'll find some very interesting reading... and congratulations, Joey, on winning the Daytona 500, from all your followers at Lime Rock Park!
Skip Barber: You didn't do go karts. What do you think about that?
Joey Logano: I don't know, I go back and forth on that. I did the quarter-midgets because my mom wouldn't let me do karts. You don't do any road courses with quarter-midgets. Only did asphalt, not dirt.
SB: When it came time to do the road racing, was school first?
JL: Yes, I did a few things. Went to Bondurant first. And then ran Camping World in Sonoma, then did the Skip Barber School here... I wrecked! (LOL). Then the Lime Rock Camping World race. Then the Watkins Glen Nationwide race. Then Sears Point in Sprint Cup this year.
SB: How do you think you are as a road racer if you put yourself up against a Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Boris Said?
JL: I'm not where I need to be yet. I don't expect to be there. They have been doing it a lot longer. I felt like at Sears Point, I was closer to where I needed to be. Watkins Glen was ok, but I didn't run so great. Need to figure out the different tracks. Going to the Glen tonight to figure out the course...
SB: What do you need most? Knowledge? Set-up? Driving?
JL: There are differences between. Some of its tires, some of its drivers. The biggest thing is knowing what you want when you get to the track. Same thing applies to a road course. Where are you getting beat? What corners do you need to focus on? That's a big deal. A driver needs to know where you want to be, figure out the tricks of the track.
SB: Who can you talk to about all that?
JL: Watch old tapes, talk to Denny [Hamlin], Kyle [Busch], [Mike McLaughlin]. Ask a lot of questions. I play track video games. All the little things add up. It makes a big difference to be prepared. You must be on you're A Game.
SB: When you get to the Glen, try to do a couple of laps on the long course. It's great, it's complicated... So what are you doing tomorrow at the Glen?
JL: Not sure what I'm driving, maybe a Miata. It's all about learning the race track. I have to figure something out. Didn't run well there before.
SB: It's great that you ended up with Gibbs. Did that fall out of the sky?
JL: I was with Roush almost, trying to make a deal work. Looked around, talked to a few teams. Went to Gibbs, had a video, got his father involved, and thought it was great. A week later, had a contract signed, that was it. No agent, just me and my dad. That's how we still do it.
SB: That's great....What would you tell a new kid, you a couple of years ago, coming here to Lime Rock with no road racing experience?
JL: If you've never seen a road course, the Skip Barber Racing School helped; the biggest thing is the cars are so different. Indy-type car to a big stock car. Talking to a lot of different people. Learning different techniques on a road course. Then try to learn the race track. Take in good and bad advice. Sort through and take what you can use and apply to your main game plan. It's not easy and it makes it tougher for an oval driver to come over and do that especially when it's not often on the schedule.
SB: In the School, a long time ago, we saw the difficulty wasn't oval to road course. It was dirt to asphalt. What do you think the biggest surprise is on a road course? Do you get in trouble if it's a slow corner?
JL: If you're a short track racer, you will be used to it. I relate road course racing to short track racing. You're always right up on each other. Swinging the car back and forth. Different feeling then a speedway. I ran dirt a few times and it's completely backwards from everything else I've done. I'm sure that's difficult.
SB: Those guys are all about car control, not thinking about the line. Example: I saw Tony Bettenhausen going down the Downhill. It was great seeing him going sideways, but he wasn't even near the apex!... Where is NASCAR now about racing in the rain. Is there going to be any road racing in the rain?
JL: I did the one in Canada, Montreal. That was in the rain. Nationwide car. I was at the Nationwide shop today and they were getting ready for the rain, putting on wipers.
SB: You know Joey, there are guys that actually like running in the rain!
JL: I don't want to say it was fun, it was wet, odd and crazy. Every lap the track was different. You can't let your confidence build up. Being able to see, that was a big deal. It's hard when you're not ready. Wipers didn't do anything. And the rain line is different from regular line.
SB: Yep, you have to avoid the puddles... One time at Watkins Glen, on the front straight, I didn't see a puddle. I hit it with one side of a sports car, completely spun and ended up going in the direction I was supposed to go, like nothing happened...
JL: Oh yeah, it's nuts. What happened to me in Canada, I was running third. Rain was so bad, the car in front of me had no brake light and I couldn't see it. Finally saw it going at 55-60 and ran right into the back of him – running third! – and finished 20-something.
SB: Joey, in the Montreal race, did you talk to someone about the rain line? Or did you have to fend for yourself?
JL: The only thing I heard, if you run in the rubber where the typical line is, it's too slippery and there is not a lot of grip.
Shawn Courchesne: Joey, if you could ask one question of Skip...
JL: If we were at the race track, I would ask you a million questions. You wouldn't be able to get away from me! All that is on my mind is about racing.
SB: Yeah, join the crowd...
JL: Lime Rock is really fun. The Uphill was great. I enjoyed that area of the track.
SB: We're fancy here at Lime Rock. We have clever names. The Uphill. And that's before the Downhill...
Reporter Jim Altman says, "It wasn’t just fun to shoot, I actually drove away learning some tricks of the trade!"
“Daytrippers,” the popular feature news segment on Connecticut’s Fox TV (ch. 61), aired a Lime Rock Winter Autocross piece produced and hosted by Emmy Award-winning reporter Jim Altman.
The broadcast was Thursday, January 29, on “News at 10.”
We now have the website link. Click here to watch!
(Above and below): Jim Altman hooning a Miata (provided by Eric Ives Motorsport) for the "Daytrippers" segment
Ladies and gentleman, your 2014 champion of the Lime Rock Autocross Series presented by Wells Fargo Advisors is... Tom Venturino, of Weston, Conn. Tom drove his 2012 Honda FF to the win in the AxIS Shootout with a best-lap of 18.100 on Lime Rock’s 1,220-foot original autocross course.
A new electronic timing system, courtesy of track partner Spectro Oils, provided timing to the one-thousandth, and .199 behind Tom was Plainville, Conn.’s, Quinn Kizis in his 1999 Mazda Miata. Quinn’s 18.299 bested Ryan King’s 18.660, who drove his Gen III Toyota MR2 down from Florence, Mass. Fourth was John McGrath (Woodstock, Conn.) and his 2012 Mustang Boss 302 (18.893), while fifth was 2013 Autocross Series champion Dean Cusano (Farmington, Conn.) and his race-prepped 1984 Jaguar XJS, putting in an 18.903.
This year’s Shootout saw a terrific mix of cars, from a formula car and a Birel Rotax kart to an AMG wagon, three Corvettes, a Mini Cooper, an M3, a Honda S2000, a Lotus Elise, an Audi TTRS – and no less than five Miatas.
The first 18 cars were separated by just 2.329 seconds; seventh through 18th were jammed together, with only .803 of a second separating those 12 cars.
Chris Benjamin of Wells Fargo Advisors was the master of ceremonies for the awards banquet, and presented the from-now-on permanent AxIS Wells Fargo Advisors trophy; like Indy’s Borg-Warner Trophy, each champion keeps it for a year and will then present it to the next champion.
2014 Autocross Invitational Shootout (AxIS) presented by Wells Fargo Advisors
1. Tom Venturino, 2012 Wyvern-Honda Formula F, 18.100
2. Quinn Kizis, 1999 Mazda Miata, 18.299
3. Ryan King, 2000 Toyota MR2, 18.660
4. John McGrath, 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca, 18.893
5. Dean Cusano, 1984 Jaguar XJS, 18.903
6. Gordy Wagner, Birel-Rotax kart, 19.208
7. Steve Katz, 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon, 19.526
8. Steve Constable, 2005 BMW M3, 19.625
9. Eric LaCore, 2005 Mazda Mazdaspeed Miata, 19.648
10. Joe Wall, 1994 Mazda Miata, 19.822
11. Eric Vondwingelo, 1994 Mazda Miata, 19.833
12. Ryan Burrell, 2006 Chevy Corvette Z06, 19.864
13. Keanna Chang, 2013 Audi TTRS, 19.898
14. Matthew Dunham, 2004 Chevy Corvette Z06, 20.004
15. Kevin O’Neill, 2007 Chevy Corvette Z06, 20.010
16. Jason Levine, 2001 Honda S2000, 20.045
17. Matt Persanis, 2006 Lotus Elise, 20.263
18. Andrew Chang, SCCA Spec Miata, 20.429
19. Gary Friedman, 2005 Mini Cooper S, 21.150
-Photos by Rick Roso