Huge Crowd for FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park
LAKEVILLE, CONN. (22 July 2023)- Lime Rock Park continued its long cherished tradition of hosting IMSA this weekend as a huge crowd was on hand for the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix presented by LIQUI MOLY for a thrilling day of racing on Saturday.
With a palpable energy and a vibrant-youthful atmosphere with scores of first-time visitors to The Park, fans packed Spectator Hill to witness an exhilarating quadruple sportscar race weekend.
Beth Paretta, founder, owner and Team Principal of Paretta Autosport – the first woman-owned, woman-driven and woman-forward team in the NTT INDYCAR Series, served as the Grand Marshall on Saturday as the track celebrated its new partnership with Women in Motorsports North America (WIMNA). Adding to the list of distinguished guests was Connecticut State Senator Richard Blumenthal, who put on his race fan hat as he also stopped by to welcome the large crowd, delivering a heartfelt message of appreciation for the motorsport community and their contribution to the local and regional economy.
“What an incredible couple of days it’s been at Lime Rock Park,” said Dicky Riegel, CEO and President of Lime Rock. “Even as we were very blessed by great weather, it was the hard work and preparation of our staff, series, promoters and partners that made the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix presented by LIQUI MOLY weekend so amazing. We can’t remember the last time the hillsides and parking lots were so full. Thank you to everyone who came out to support us this weekend.”
It was a magical Saturday at Lime Rock Park for Aston Martin, the Heart of Racing Team and its team principal, Ian James.
As James celebrated his 50th birthday, the Heart of Racing-prepared Aston Martin Vantage GT3s swept both IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes at the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix presented by LIQUI MOLY. Motul Pole Award winner Ross Gunn and co-driver Alex Riberas claimed their first race win of the 2023 slate in Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) competition in the Heart of Racing’s No. 23 Aston, while the No. 27 Vantage GT3 shared by Roman De Angelis and Marco Sorensen triumphed in GTD for the first time since the season opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Debutant Lime Rock Park driver, Bijoy Garg picked the perfect time to put together the perfect weekend in the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge.
The 21-year-old Californian won the multiclass sprint series’ second race of the day Saturday afternoon to finish off an impressive sweep that included sitting on the pole position for both 45-minute competitions. The twin victories unofficially propelled Garg back into the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) class championship points lead by 10 points with two rounds and four races remaining.
Piloting the No. 3 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320, Garg led every lap in both races. His margin of victory in Saturday’s finale was 4.021 seconds over Dan Goldburg, the driver of the No. 73 JDC MotorSports Duqueine D08 and the LMP3 points leader heading into the weekend.
Wrapping up the four-race weekend was the thrilling Lime Rock Park 120 featuring the Michelin Pilot Challenge. Mason Filippi was fastest when it counted, dominating the late stages of the race.
Filippi took over the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR from Mark Wilkins exactly halfway through Saturday’s 100-minute race that was a unique standalone event for the Touring Car (TCR) class of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. He exited the pits with an 8.4-second deficit to Ryan Eversley, whose teammate Mat Pombo claimed the Motul Pole Award and led the first 45 minutes.
But Pombo pitted the No. 37 Honda Civic FL5 TCR three laps earlier than his LA Honda World Racing team had planned, due to excessive tire wear. Compounding the challenge for finishing driver Eversley, a miscommunication during the pit stop forced him into extreme fuel-saving mode and he ultimately fell to third place behind the No. 33 BHA Hyundai shared by Robert Wickens and Harry Gottsacker.
Filippi eased past Eversley’s Honda through “Big Bend” Turn 1 with 12 minutes remaining. By the time he took the checkered flag, the No. 98 Hyundai was 20.587 seconds ahead of the No. 33 in one of the most convincing wins in recent Michelin Pilot Challenge memory
Lime Rock Park will host its next major event Aug. 18-20 for GRIDLIFE Circuit Legends. For ticket and event information, visit https://limerock.com/events/gridlife/