NEWS: MG, Formula Junior, & Sports 2000 Named Featured Race Groups at Historic Festival 41
Two Full Days of Racing Provide Non-Stop Labor Day Weekend On-Track Action At Lime Rock Park’s 41st Historic Festival While 250+ Race Cars Fill The Paddock For Close-Up Fan Viewing
July 18, 2023 – Motorsports history comes to life over the Labor Day weekend at Northwest Connecticut’s fan-friendly Lime Rock Park. The four-day weekend is a highlight for the vintage and historic racing community. Many knowledgeable racing fans, keen to see many of the cars that made history at Lime Rock and elsewhere, spend the weekend watching enthusiast racers compete in cars that may be older than they are, camping at the track or staying in nearby accommodations.
Families looking for a fun and exciting day in a beautiful setting make day trips from the New York and Boston metro areas as well as the Hudson Valley, Albany and the Saratoga Springs area.
With more than 250 cars participating, some nearly a century old, the weekend is a fast-moving motorsport history lesson. And while there’s so many cars competing that everyone watching from the viewing areas and touring the paddocks will likely find their favorite kind of race car, a field that’s so large also provides the opportunity to key in on several specific racing classes.
Three Featured Race Groups: MG, Formula Junior & Sports 2000
According to Skip Barber, Chairman for the event, “What the two racing classes and one marque we are celebrating this year all have in common is that by design or coincidence they provided affordable entry into the sport for ambitious prospective racing drivers.”
Barber noted that MG, which this year is celebrating the centennial of the first car wearing that badge, not only has a motorsports history nearly that long, but in the aftermath of World War II introduced America to the idea of the sports car – an affordable lightweight two-seat roadster with nimble handling.
“MGs were fun to drive and quite a few owners decided it would be fun to compete with them on the road-racing tracks that were opening in America during the 1950s,” Barber said. “Probably some of the MGs racing at Lime Rock this September also raced here in the 1950s.”
Formula Junior began in Italy in the late 1950s and within a few years spread across Europe and then to the United States. By the early 1960s these scaled-down Formula 1 cars had achieved global popularity and were produced by a variety of racing car manufacturers across Europe and even in the USA.
“Because Formula Juniors used engines, transmissions brakes and other bits from production cars, they were relatively inexpensive to buy and operate. The on-track competition was pretty fierce, so it was a good way for aspiring grand prix drivers to showcase their talent,” Barber said. “It’s not surprising that 1960s Formula 1 world champions Jim Clark, John Surtees and Denny Hulme all competed in Formula Junior on the way to Formula 1. We have a great Formula Junior field for this year’s Festival, 27 cars and counting.”
Like its open-wheel Formula Junior counterpart, Sports 2000 was intended to provide an affordable and competitive open-cockpit, fendered sports-racing experience. The class reached its zenith of popularity in the 1980s and early 1990s, including amateur and professional series.
“Sports 2000 cars are really fun to drive and they’ve got an enthusiastic among historic racers,” Barber said. “We have assembled perhaps the largest Sports 2000 field ever in East Coast historic racing. I expect the Sports 2000 races both Saturday and Monday to be very competitive and for sure very entertaining for our guests watching from the vantage points of our great hillside spectator areas.”
Arriving in your email inbox over the next few weeks will be more in-depth stories about Historic 41s featured marque and classes, plus more about what will be happening over the Labor Day weekend. Spectators interested in attending Historic Festival 41 can purchase tickets at Tickets – Lime Rock Park.
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