America's Brands Hatch


The hard-core Formula 1 fans who get these emails will find this pretty cool... Ben Edwards, the longtime F1, BTTC and F3 television commentator and currently BBC’s voice of F1, visited Lime Rock Park Monday, June 3, a guest of the Lime Rock Drivers Club.

Edwards and his wife Belinda (above) were on their way to Montreal for the Canadian GP, and so decided to spend a couple days in Connecticut with their friends Greg and Wendy of Bethel, both of whom are regular fans of Lime Rock; they suggested Ben and Belinda go visit “America’s Brands Hatch.”

LRDC director Simon Kirkby met the foursome at the track and of course, within minutes Simon was sliding them into the passenger seats of a BMW M3, planning to “introduce” everyone to the wonderful nuances and secrets of Lime Rock. At high rates of speed. And so it was...

“Yes, of course, I know of Lime Rock and was anxious to go round,” Ben said. “I love these kinds of tracks... very fast, tricky corners, elevation changes, surrounded by hills. Brilliant. And yes, a feel quite similar to Brands Hatch...”

Ben started in motorsport as a weekend mechanic, became a racing driver and instructor. He won two (British) National motor racing titles and then swapped steering wheel for microphone to establish himself as one of the foremost commentators in the world.

Ben’s racing exploits included Formula Ford, Formula First and the Vauxhall Lotus series, where he raced against Mika Hakkinen, Allan McNish, Gil De Ferran and David Coulthard.

Ben was a senior instructor at the Brands Hatch Racing School, working with the legendary Tony Lanfranchi, and remembers teaching Jackie Stewart’s son Paul some of the basics of circuit driving.

His commentating debut also came at the Kent circuit, where encouraged by Brands stalwart Brian Jones, he quickly became absorbed in the process of communicating his favorite sport.

Ben made his TV commentating debut alongside Tiff Needell in 1987, became a regular on Eurosport TV in 1993 and covered Formula 1 with Eurosport in 1995-96.

Four years spent covering the U.S. Champ Car racing scene were followed by another year of F1 in 2002 for Sky, when he also became ITV’s voice of the British Touring Car Championship. World Championship Speedway, Powerboats, A1GP and World Rally have all come under his umbrella since then, and he has voiced the official Duke Video F1 highlights DVD for several years. Ben became the BBC F1 commentator starting with the 2012 season.

Ben is known for his enthusiastic, energetic, shouting commentary style, similar to that of James Allen.

Former racer Ben about to get hot-lapped by Simon...

Wendy and Greg of Bethel, Conn., good friends with the Edwards'






"Fast and flowing -- the kind of track I like." Ben Edwards

Photos by Rick Roso




The Autocross: Lime Rock’s 1/2-mile technology classroom

More photos at end of story

As many of our fans are coming to realize, Lime Rock Park is very, very busy between the big racing events. Everybody from car clubs, drifting groups and bicycling organizations to driving clubs and people signing up for LRP’s open-enrollment autocross days keep us quite busy. Heck, we even host weddings, receptions, graduation parties and fundraising galas (congratulations CMHA on Saturday’s success!).

Now add “educating the educators” to Lime Rock’s list.

On Thursday, May 30, the track hosted and helped execute a teaching program called Racing Newton: The Technology and Physics of Auto Racing.

It’s a professional development opportunity for technology education teachers to obtain skills, knowledge, lesson plans and curriculum for incorporating “Common Core of English Language Arts and Mathematics” standards, as well as science standards, through a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) model. The professional development integrates the skills and abilities inherent to auto racing, such as the physics of force, speed, energy and motion, along with engineering, math, critical thinking and creative inquiry based problem-solving.

So more than 20 high school teachers came to Lime Rock for a morning session of vehicle dynamics classroom work, followed with an afternoon on the autocross and skidpad. The program was organized by Harold Mackin, associate consultant, agricultural science and technology education for the Connecticut Department of Education.

Here’s what they accomplished...
* Conveyed Newton’s three laws in the context of auto racing
* Used scientific explanations that emphasize evidence, have logically consistent arguments and use scientific principles, models and theories; e.g., the magnitude of the change in motion can be calculated using the relationship F = ma, which is independent of the nature of the force
* By enriching content knowledge in STEM, teachers can energize the learning experience and enhance inquiry-based investigations and methodologies
* Learned to promote best practices for student achievement -- including scientific -- through research-based teaching strategies

It was a fun, enlightening day, and congratulations to all the teachers who, by driving our BMWs (and the Skip Barber Driving School Mazda RX-8 on the skidpad), put “F = ma” to work!

More photos below...










Royals Garage Show Winners

royals trophySunday Royals Garage Car Show Award Winners

LIME ROCK PARK (May 26) - The Fourth Annual Sunday Royals’ Garage Car Show to Benefit the Wounded Warrior Project saw an astounding variety of cars and trucks parked proudly on Sam Posey Straight. The show is gaining a reputation for drawing a uniquely eclectic blend of cars.

Today there was everything from an ex-Ralf Schumacher Dallara-Opel Formula 3 car from 1995 to a pristine 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz droptop. Perfect new Mustangs and Corvettes to Ferrari-flavored Miatas and Bob Sharp’s IMSA GTU championship-winning 1975 Datsun 260Z. Bugs of all sorts, a stellar Stutz, and a race-prepped 1950 Olds Rocket 88. A Superbird and a super Riviera. Models T and A, Daytona Rams and Rambler Marlins.

In other words, it would be difficult to find a show in New England with a wider range of coolness than the Sunday Royals Garage.

If you didn’t make it to Lime Rock today, we’ve put together a pretty good collection of photos for you to get a sense of what this is all about; and you can see for yourself why Skip Barber is proud to host this benefit car show on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

Click here to see the photographs.

Here are the five award-winners from the 2013 Sunday Royals Garage Car Show to Benefit the Wounded Warrior Project:

Veterans Vote Award... 1965 Pontiac GTO with factory Ram Air, Paul Menin, Ashley Falls, Mass.

People’s Pick Award... 1986 Ford Mustang GT (supercharge mod), Jamie Pritchard, New Milford, Conn.

LRP Staff Award... 1980 Toyota Tercel, bored, stroked, carbed and cammed, with handmade performance parts, Walter Hopkins, Oxford, Conn.

Skip’s Selection Award... 1951 American La France race car hauler, converted from a 100-foot pumper fire track, Entropy Racing entered by Charlie Greenhouse, Independent Motorsports Group, Sacramento, Pa. Charlie also made an especially generous donation to WWP – thank you.

Royals’ Crown Award...1950 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 La Carrera Panamericana race car, Cyrus Clark, Katonah, N.Y.



The Winning Stretch: Bob Wins TA Race

98 winner Saturday webThe Winning Stretch
Click here for a lot of great photos from today, by Greg Clark and Casey Keil

LIME ROCK PARK (May 25) – In racing, the reason why rain is called “the great equalizer” is this: A slick race track means a driver cannot put all the power down. It just results in wheelspin. So a car that has a lot more horsepower than another simply can’t utilize the power advantage. That means everything is mostly down to the driver and the choices he or she makes... rain, the great equalizer.

Do you know how much power a Trans Am TA car makes? The answer is at least 850 h.p. Do you know how much horsepower a TA2 car makes? Answer: 480. Do you know who won today’s Trans Am race at Lime Rock Park? Bob Stretch in a TA2. Second was Cam Lawrence in a TA2. Third was Pete Halsmer in a... TA2.

Yes, for the first time since the Trans Am Series created its TA2 class in 2010, a TA2 car was the overall winner of Trans Am race. It was great fun to watch – as most wet races, from club racing up to F1, are wont to be – and Stretch’s win in his Fix Rim Mobile/Wheels America Chevy Camaro at Lime Rock Park made history.

And it wasn’t like Stretch started up front, either; he had gridded way back in 20th place. He sliced and diced his way to the sharp end of the field, finding traction where others weren’t, putting down his power as gently as a butterfly on a clover, flitting his way to the front while others spun or slid or skidded off into the... clover.

Lesson: When you’re given the chance to watch a Lime Rock race run in the rain, take it.

Every race today – there were six others – was in the wet.

In the two F2000 open-wheel races, there were two different winners. In the morning’s first go, Tim Minor clearly majored in mastering the rain line at Lime Rock and romped to the win over Kevin Kopp and Roberto Lorena. Minor, by the way, is what one might call a “fall” or “winter” chicken, as opposed to the spring variety. He left his 40s more than a few years ago but had no problem plucking the feathers of his very-much-younger competitors.

In race two, the young bucks took over the podium, with Kyle Connery victorious over Lorena and Federico (yes, not Frederico) Mosconi. Minor was running second when he failed to meet expectations in the Lefthander and spun off...

The Formula F/F1600 races had the same winner for both races, Jake Eidson. He beat Paul Alspach in race one, and Adrian Starrantino in the second. A-Star had a decent day, finishing third in the first race, while Aaron Telitz snagged P3 in race two.

In the two vintage races sanctioned by the VSCCA, Roger Cassin wasn’t afraid to get his old Alfa wet and won both, with Jeff Schur grabbing a pair of P2s in Cassin’s wake – literally – driving his Lotus 57. Stellar work, guys.

It was a wet-but-good day of racing, and thanks to the fans who didn’t mind the rain.

NEXT UP: The ALMS Northeast Grand Prix and Pirelli World Challenge and Lamborghini Super Trofeo (first time in America), July 4, 5 & 6.



‘Spikes’ Made It Happen at Lime Rock

‘Spikes’ and friends made it happen at Lime Rock Park: The car show to benefit Sandy Hook families and first responders was, by all accounts, a big success. At the “Spike’s Ride for Sandy Hook,” organizers confirmed more than 2,400 vehicles – cars, motorcycles and trucks – made their way to Lakeville this past Saturday morning, collecting $26,000 in cash donations. That total does not include checks, vendor donations, pledges, t-shirt sales and matching funds, still being tallied.

George “Spikes” LeGrice, 27, an EMT and National Guardsman from Brockton, Mass., organized the event while Lime Rock donated the facility and its personnel. LeGrice recruited hundreds of volunteers for the cause, which he officially launched within a day of the mid-December tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

“I thought it would be a simple bike ride, and by 7:30 p.m. Saturday [Dec. 15] I had a Facebook page, but things went huge very, very quickly,” LeGrice told the Litchfield County Times. “People with any kind of nice car, bike or truck wanted to join in. Convoys came from Connecticut, obviously, but also New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania – we even have people from as far away as Texas.”

Skip Barber said, “This is one of the most ‘democratic’ shows I’ve ever seen. We had Bentleys from the 1930s shoulder to shoulder with Honda Accords, which, by the way, were right next to jacked-up diesel pick-ups, Z28s and Austin-Healeys. Thousands of vehicles... It’s wonderful when everyone feels as one, to do what they can for Newtown.”

Jim Perry, Lime Rock Park’s video producer, uploaded his Spike’s Ride piece by Sunday afternoon (you may click on the “Preview” link for an instant-play, non-HD view), which provides a succinct overview of the show...

Casey Keil, one of Lime Rock Park’s photographers, put up a terrific gallery of photos on the track’s Facebook page...!/media/set/?set=a.10151454543879003.1073741827.44115954002&type=3

Many show attendees are also uploading videos of the event to the internet; search “Spikes Ride for Sandy Hook Lime Rock.”