Diverse Field of Vintage Cars Highlight Saturday of Historic Festival 41
Featured Race Group Formula Junior Honors Jim Haynes
Grand Marshal and Stellantis Chief Design Officer Ralph Gilles waved the green flag to kick-off a perfect day of racing at Lime Rock Park on Saturday during the Historic Festival 41. The longstanding Lime Rock Park Labor Day weekend tradition continued with a busy day of activity both on and off the track.
An overwhelmingly diverse field of cars from a 1931 Bugatti Type 37 Special, to a 1959 Elva Courier and 1963 Hillman Imp highlighted the record-breaking event entry with more than 300 cars taking to the Classic Course for 18 total races between nine different race groups. The spirited competition during the 20-minute races entertained a large crowd.
Nathan Thompson, driving in Group 7 Sports Cars (Over 2L), had a standout day, setting the fastest lap of the race of 57.843-seconds in his 1963 Lotus 23c. For reference, in 1963, the all-time track record was 102.9-seconds set by Jim Haynes in a Formula Libra.
Haynes’ legacy was honored this weekend as the Jim Haynes Memorial opened the day with the largest running of Formula Juniors on the East Coast. Haynes, sometimes better recognized for his ownership and promotion of Lime Rock Park, was an outstanding driver before he moved to the business side of racing. In 1959 he won his first SCCA National Championship in a temperamental Formula 3, but he could see where the future was headed and soon thereafter jumped into Formula Junior.
Criss-crossing up and down the East Coast and into the Midwest, Jim pursued SCCA National races in earnest. His efforts paid off with the SCCA’s 1963 Formula Junior National Championship. This was Jim’s crowning achievement as a driver. He would continue to drive in various categories for several more years, but taking over the ownership and promotion of Lime Rock Park became his primary focus. Haynes passed away earlier this year but the mark he made on Lime Rock Park will live forever in history.
MG’s centennial celebration continued through Saturday with two very spirited races that saw more than 50 MGs spanning all decades take the green. Alan Tosler crossed the line first piloting a 1964 MG B.
Featured race group Sports 2000 also put on an amazing show featuring 25 cars in both the morning and afternoon races. Two different winners emerged with Colin Thompson (No. 11 1988 Lola T88/90) claiming the checkered in Race 1 followed by Ben Sinnott (No. 5 1991 Lola T90/91) in Race 2.
At lunch, multiple car corral and hot laps were held along with an on-track event that offered fans a unique Historic Festival experience. The Sounds of Lime Rock presentation featured a symphony of engines from rare vintage cars, including the 1963 Chrysler Turbine, taking a lap around the track.
The day concluded with a dinner overlooking the Sam Posey Straight as VIP festival-goers enjoyed great food from Park Provisions while listening to special guests speakers: HF41’s Honored Collector Lawrence Auriana, veteran historic racer Joe Colasacco and Stellantis Chief Design Officer Ralph Gilles.
On Sunday, the track will host The Lime Rock Concours as well as the Gathering of the Marques car show. Monday will feature the final day of race activity. Tickets for both days are available at the gate.