Photo by Gary Gold
Click here for the Saturday photos by Greg Clark and Casey Keil.
When it comes to Daytona Prototype racing at Lime Rock Park, there are just two names you have to know, now and forever:
Taylor and Angelelli.
Grand-Am’s Rolex Sports Car Series has been to Lime Rock three times prior to today. This year was the fourth and final time, as Grand-Am/ALMS becomes the Tudor United Sports Car Championship as of right now.
The first Daytona Prototype race at Lime Rock, in 2010, was won by Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR), driven by Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor, Wayne's oldest son (he was 21 at the time). The second DP race here was won by WTR, again Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor winning. In 2012, the third DP race at... well, you can guess, right? WTR with Max and Ricky.
Today, Wayne Taylor Racing’s Velocity Worldwide/Toshiba/Chevrolet Corvette DP won its fourth consecutive Lime Rock Grand-Am race, driven by Angelelli and Jordan Taylor, Wayne’s other, and youngest (22) son.
But Wait, There’s More (apologies to AutoWeek)... Eight years ago, Wayne Taylor was both the team owner and one of its drivers. Guess who his co-driver was when WTR won the driver’s title in 2005? Max the Axe, of course.
Remarkable. And very cool.
Angelelli, who had qualified the Corvette DP fifth, took the first stint and handed the car to Taylor an hour later, who re-joined fifth. With an hour to go in the 2:45 race, Taylor took the lead back when Gustavo Yacaman (Michael Shank Racing Aero/Tuvacol Ford-Riley) pitted for fuel. Despite two full-course caution periods that allowed Yacaman to close up, each time Taylor did a Vettel and broke away to big leads on each re-start and cruised home to the win.
In the GT class, Eric Curran of Holyoke, Mass., who’s been racing at Lime Rock since he was a teen, took over from co-driver Lawson Aschenbach at the halfway point and drove their Whelen Engineering (a Connecticut company) Chevy Corvette to the win over the Ferrari 458 of Leh Keen and Alex Balzan, the second place finish being more than enough to clinch the Grand-Am GT driver’s title for Balzan.
In today’s first race, the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Grand Sport Division, it was like the old pony car wars, as a Mustang beat a Camaro. Billy Johnson and Jack Roush, Jr. – yes, that Roush’s son – drove their Boss 302R to the win over John Edwards and Matt Bell in a Camaro GS.R. Great stuff. (On Friday, Mike LaMarra and Terry Borcheller won the Conti Tire ST crow with a fifth-place finish in their BMW 128i in a dramatically won race by Joel Miller and Tristen Nunez in their Mazda Miata.)
So there you have it, a history making day as a very large crowd of Lime Rock fans witnessed the last ever Grand-Am race, the crowning of its last champions, and the end of an era... and beginning next year, the start of a new one.
By the way, look for an announcement of our upcoming 2014 races in the near future.
Prototype and GT Racing at Lime Rock
Names, Numbers & Whatnot...
With the last-ever Grand-Am race coming up in a couple days -- the Grand-Am Championship Weekend Presented by BMW -- we thought you would enjoy a mini-rehash of this kind of racing at LRP.
Here are some interesting facts for you to ponder.
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas have scored 27 Rolex Daytona Prototype (DP) wins since they snagged their first one together in 2007 at Iowa Speedway.
Pruett himself is a five-time Rolex DP champion, by the way.
Guess how many DP races he’s won at Lime Rock? None.
But Pruett knows how to win here; he won the 1988 Trans-Am race in a Merkur XR4Ti at the wet-behind-the-ears age of 28...|
This year, BMW-powered chassis have led the most laps, 776 of 1,731 laps (45%) in the 11 races so far, while Chevy-powered cars have led 683 (39%)...
Since 1978, there have been 38 prototype races at Lime Rock; this weekend makes 39:
1978-1981 was the IMSA GTX era
1982-1993 was the IMSA GTP era
1994-1998 was the IMSA WSC era
1999 was the USRRC SR year
2000 was the Grand-Am SR year
2001 was the Grand-Am SRP year
2004-2013 was the ALMS LMP1/LMP2 era
... and 2010-2013 was Grand-Am DP
The list of drivers that have won these Lime Rock prototype races reads like a “Who’s Who” of racing.
In no particular order, victors include (non-comprehensive)...
Juan Manuel Fangio II
Gil de Ferran
Sarel van der Merwe
The cars? An equally impressive roster (non-comprehensive...
Porsche 935 Turbo
Jaguar XJR-5 and -10
Toyota Eagle Mk III
Ferrari 333 SP
Riley & Scott Fords & BMWs
Porsche RS Spyder...
When you come for prototype races at Lime Rock Park, you’re seeing the crème de la crème, that’s for certain.
GT Racing at Lime Rock Park
There have been *48 GT-style races at Lime Rock since 1972, under the various sanctioning-body banners of IMSA, USRRC, Grand-Am and ALMS/IMSA, under class names including GT, GT1, GT2, GTO, GTU, GTS et al.
The marque with the most victories – no big shock – is Porsche, with 11. But Chevy is right on the 911’s rear bumper with 10 wins (5 Corvette, 4 Camaro, 1 Monza). The third-most GT wins might surprise you; Mazda, with 7. Next is Nissan’s 5 wins, Pontiac(!) at 4, Oldsmobile with 3, BMW and Ford 2, then single wins for Mercury, Dodge, Audi and Panoz.
*The source material is ultimateracinghistory.com, which though extensive does not list or differentiate classes in its result sheets, so some class wins are going unaccounted for. I used deduced class winners where it was obvious, but in the cases where it was not perfectly clear (for instance, back in the day Mazda RX-7s ran in both GTO and GTU), I did not count them. Editor
Lime Rock Park has organized a free concert the evening of Friday, Sept. 27, showcasing the talents of British blues-jazz-rock guitarist Davy Knowles. The show is 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., to be held in the big concert tent located on Lime Rock’s Upper Infield Midway.
The Davy Knowles show is part of the Grand-Am Championship Weekend Presented by BMW, but you don't have to have tickets to the race to see it. People may begin arriving for the show after 5:00 p.m. at the track’s main gate, 60 White Hollow Road.
A cash wine-and-beer bar will be open, too.
Knowles, 26, draws his musical influences from Dire Straits, Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac founder) and Eric Clapton. Celtic music – Ireland being a figurative hop, skip and a jump away from his Isle of Man birthplace – also tinges his repertoire. Knowles, who has toured recently with Jeff beck and Joe Satriani, has gotten “hot” of late thanks to well-received performances at the South by Southwest Festival, Coachella, Lollapalooza and the Bonnaroo Music Festival.
The Lime Rock show is sponsored by Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Guitars, a marketing partner of Grand-Am.
With BMW announcing that they are again the presenting sponsor of Lime Rock's Grand-Am season finale, we thought you would like to see some very good videos of BMWs in racing action. We have the click-throughs at the bottom, after you read this short update about the title fights coming up September 27 and 28.
For the second year in a row, BMW has taken ownership of the Grand-Am season finale here at Lime Rock Park.
Lime Rock’s last big spectator event of the year is the “Grand-Am Championship Weekend Presented by BMW,” September 27-28.
This is Grand-Am’s season finale. Both the Rolex Sports Car Series – Daytona Prototypes and GT – and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series, GS and ST, have to decide all the 2013 titles at Lime Rock.
Drivers, manufacturers, teams and engine-makers all want a slice of the 2013 championship pie, and we don’t have to tell Lime Rock fans what usually happens when you put teams and drivers desperate to win on the track for one last shot: Crazy-good action.
The Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Rolex DP team (BMW/Riley with Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett) has slim 9-point advantage over Wayne Taylor Racing (Corvette DP with Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli), while in the driver’s championship, Taylor & Angelelli have an even slimmer lead over Rojas & Pruett, just 8 points. You a Chevy guy or a Bimmer guy? And by “guy” we mean “gal.” Or “guy.”
In Rolex GT, seven drivers are within 26 points of leaders Andy Lally and John Potter. It’s boiled down to a harsh Porsche GT3 vs. Ferrari 458 vs. Chevy Camaro battle... who you gonna pull for?
This is a race – the last-ever Grand-Am race in history, since Grand-Am and ALMS merged for 2014 and beyond, called United SportsCar Racing (USCR) – you don’t want to miss, for many reasons.
In Continental Tire, the Street Tuner (ST) championship battle is also super-tight, a dog fight between a BMW 128i driven by Mike LaMarra and Terry Borcheller and a Honda Civic Si piloted by Kyle Gimple and Ryan Eversley. Just 8 points separate the teams and drivers. Do not miss the Friday Conti Tire ST race!
Call us for tickets (860.435.5000) to the Grand-Am Championship Weekend Presented by BMW, September 27-28, or click here to go to the Tickets page.
Okay, as we promised at the top, we found some excellent BMW-related videos that we thought you would really like, regardless of whether you're a Bimmerphile or not.
BMW’s M Motorsports Division racing history
A very good on-board from a Conti Tire GS BMW M3, at Mid-Ohio this summer
This is a neat re-cap of Turner Motorsport at Lime Rock last year – much of it shot in super-slow-mo
BMW Performance Center cars drifting at Lime Rock
Turner Motorsport 2011 re-cap video from Lime Rock Park
Here’s the Gear Patrol review of the BMW M3 Lime Rock Park Edition that was revealed during last year’s championship weekend
Sweet video highlighting the sound of a BMW CSL at Lime Rock
BMW’s own video introducing its Z4, racing in ALMS
Lawrence Auriana, a very successful businessman who is also very well-regarded in the historic racing community, is not one to show off his cars in static displays. Mr. Auriana collects vehicles that embody living, breathing history, and he has a deep respect for wheeled competition, sports cars and motorcycles alike. Cars sitting under lights in a building is not, to put it in the vernacular, “his thing.”
But those who are here at Historic Festival 31 and Sunday in the Park will find Mr. Auriana has made an exception to his “policy,” and is bringing no less than 14 spectacular vehicles to Lime Rock Park.
And that is because it is only Lime Rock that organizes a massive vintage racing event and a world-class concours, all on the same property on the same weekend. Indeed, the Sunday in the Park Concours is not held on a golf course or a meadow or someone’s massive lawn. It is held on a race track.
So Lawrence is bringing some of the best of the best that he owns. Take a look at this list!
1928 Maserati Tipo 26
1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza
1950 Ferrari 166 Barchetta
1953 Maserati A6GCS
1953 Alfa Romeo 3000 CM
1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competition
1965 Ferrari 250 LM (pictured is Sam Posey in a 512, which he raced back in the day)
1967 Ferrari 275 GTS/4 N.A.R.T. Spider
1972 Alfa Romeo TT33
1972 Ferrari 512 M
1972 Ducati 750 SS Imola
1978 Ducati 90 TT (ex- Mike Hailwood TT winner)
1953 Fiat Transporter in Maserati Team livery
1966 Alfa Romeo Factory Service Van
Click here for all the information you need concerning Historic Festival 31, August 30 through September 2.