Perfect Weather Kicks Off Trans Am Memorial Day Classic
LAKEVILLE, CT (26 May 2023)- Mother Nature smiled on Lime Rock Park today as blue skies and perfect temperatures set the stage for the opening day of the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic. Friday kicked off The Park’s 66th season with on-track sessions from 165 cars from Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli, International GT (IGT) and Formula Race Promotions (FRP).
Here are the top-three headlines for the day:
1. Merrill Secures Pole: The qualifying for theTrans Am Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 class was tight with the top five drivers only separated by .5-seconds. Reigning champion Thomas Merrill captured the pole for the TA2 class in the opening minutes of qualifying, turning his best lap of 51.652-seconds on his fourth circuit in the No. 26 Bennett/HPTuners/MikeCopeRaceCars Ford Mustang. Seventeen-year-old New England native Evan Slater was just a tenth of a second off Merrill’s pace (51.764-seconds) while Tomas Annunziata (51.915-seconds) and the reigning Australian TA2 champion Nathan Herne (51.963-seconds) round out the second row. (read full report here)
The 100-mile TA2 sprint race will go green on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
The Trans Am TA/XGT/SGT/GT classes will make their weekend debut with testing and practice on Saturday.
2. Historic Flare, Practice and Winning: SVRA featured a rolling history of motorsport on Friday as cars from vintage Formula One to retired Pescarolos warmed up with testing ahead of Saturday’s practice and qualifying. Single-seater series FRP held two practice rounds in preparation for qualifying and Round 1 on Saturday.
IGT, which includes three different championships for late-model Porsche and Ferrari competitors, held the first of three races on Friday. Thomas Gruber of Punta Gorda, Florida, drove from the pole to capture the checkered flag, securing the overall win. IGT will stage its sprint finale at 11:20 a.m. Eastern with a 45-minute enduro race set at 4:45 p.m. Eastern to close out race activity on Saturday.
3. Fan-Voted Safety Car Name Revealed: The new Miller Motorcars Aston Martin DBX 707 Safety Car was christened with a new name today. Making a play on race car driver Steve McQueen and the movie character Lightning McQueen, fans rallied together to name the teal and lime green Safety Car. With only five votes separating the top two choices, the name Limey McQueen was revealed on the SUV on Friday morning.
Gates open at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday with racing action starting at 9:05 a.m. Lime Rock Park fans who want to get a peek at Sotheby’s The World of Joanne Woodward & Paul Newman exhibit, featuring racing memorabilia and two Newman Daytona Rolex watches, will open at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.
Entry to the exhibit requires a $10 donation to the Hole In The Wall Gang Camp and can be purchased at the Info Tent located on the Midway.
General admission race tickets are still available at: Memorial Day Classic – Lime Rock Park