17 July 2021- (Lakeville CT) With a huge crowd, a US Senator waving the green flag ahead of some exciting racing, and a rapid change of weather that caused an early end to the feature race, it was a dramatic day of racing on Saturday at Lime Rock Park.
The Connecticut circuit played host as IMSA returned to the track for first time since 2019 and featured the Michelin Pilot Challenge as well as the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races on Saturday.
After morning showers cleared, a large crowd of fans assembled on the hillside to soak in the sun. The crowd was packed for the fan walks that preceded both races as race fans swarmed the pit lane to get an up close look at the full fields just before they took to the track to race.
Connecticut United States Senator Richard Blumenthal made a return visit to Lime Rock park, delivering an enthusiastic call for the drivers to start their engines ahead of waving the green flag to open the 2 hour and 40 minute NorthEast Grand Prix. Just shy of an hour and a half into the race, the field was stopped as IMSA red flagged the race due to inclement weather in the area.
After waiting out the conditions, the clock’s relentless push meant that the race wasn’t to be restarted, with Corvette Racing adding a sixth Lime Rock Park race victory to its legacy as Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia combined for the overall victory.
"It's awesome to be back at Lime Rock,” said Taylor. “This looks like the best crowd we've had all year so far. Lime Rock always brings a great crowd; especially big sports car fans, a lot of families. We had our own autograph session and everyone was so excited for that. It's a big Corvette crowd here, and you can really see their appreciation. Hopefully, we can start opening up to more of that down the road.”
Hot off a podium at Watkins Glen, the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin of Ross Gun and Roman Deangelis took the GTD class victory to move into the provisional points lead.
“This is one of the best facilities I’ve been to here in the States, so total credit to the folks here at Lime Rock,” said Gunn of his first visit to the track.
Deangelis echoed the sentiments of his co-driver.
“When we got here to Lime Rock Park, I noticed how well kept the place was and the facilities are great,” said the Canadian-born racer. “I haven’t been here since I had my Skip Barber school here, but it was great to be back. It’s a very cool old school American track that I am looking forward to racing on again soon.”
The day opened with the two-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race, which saw Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing capture a GS Class victory. The race featured scores of passes, some improbable side by side racing through Big Bend and the Left Hander, as well as some late race drama.
The FCP Euro squad of Nate Vincent and Michael Hurczyn led the race until the closing moments, but had their podium hopes dashed on the final lap when Hurczyn ran short on fuel and lost positions on his way to 9th in the final order.
The TCR race saw the championship leading duo of Michael Lewis and his co-driver Taylor Hagler score victory to grow their lead atop the standings in their No. 77 Hyundai Veloster N TCR.