Print

IMSA WeatherTech NEGP: Corvette's 100th Win

Sat-Blast-Vette-541

Corvette Racing's 100th Victory Comes in IMSA WeatherTech Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park
By Steven Cole Smith

Click here for great pix by LRP's Greg Clark and Casey "Pedro" Keil
Complete WeatherTech and Continental race results here: www.results.imsa.com

LAKEVILLE, Conn. – With 31 cars racing on the shortest track on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule – divided into three classes, all three lapping at different speeds – there was no question the two-hour, 40-minute Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut would be action-packed.

Boy, was it.

Though the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race earlier in the day managed to run for two and a half hours without a caution flag, the first yellow fell on the IMSA WeatherTech Northeast Grand Prix before the cars reached the first turn of the first lap. After that, the key word was survival. “Keep your nose clean and stay out of trouble,” said Tommy Milner, co-driver with Oliver Gavin in the GT Le Mans No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette Racing C7.R.

And that’s what Milner and Gavin did, giving this Corvette team its 100th win since they broke through with that first victory Sept. 2, 2000, at Texas Motor Speedway.

Adding to the honor was the fact that the team car, the No. 3 driven by Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, finished right behind the No. 4, just 0.975 seconds back. And that marked the 60th time the Corvette team has finished first and second.

Milner and Gavin won the 2016 season opener, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, then the second race, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. After that, it was a long dry spell, and Milner said the goal of achieving 100 wins became a monkey on the team’s back. “And that monkey just got bigger and bigger. I’m really happy to get it off our backs.”

It didn’t hurt that the No. 4 was the fastest GT Le Mans car on the track, with Gavin turning the quickest lap in the class of 51.341 seconds, set on lap 109 of the 169-lap event. Third behind the two Corvettes was Ryan Briscoe and his co-driver, Richard Westbrook, who qualified the No. 67 Ford GT on the pole. Counting the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it’s the first loss for the two-car Ford Chip Ganassi team since before May 1, at the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The race included the GT Le Mans, GT Daytona and Prototype Challenge classes, with the Prototypes taking the weekend off. The overall winner was, as expected, a Prototype Challenge car, namely the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Chevrolet-powered ORECA FLM09 driven with constant competence by Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande. The duo refused to be shaken by the traffic or the temperature – when the race started, it was 95 degrees and the track surface was 120 degrees, which is tough on tires.

Van der Zande closed out the race, stretching out his lead to almost 10 seconds in the closing stages over Tom Kimber-Smith, who co-drove the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen entry with Robert Alon. With only a few laps to go, dense traffic slowed Van der Zande, and before he knew it, Kimber-Smith had cut that 10-second deficit to less than one second. Van der Zande crossed the finish line just 0.815 seconds ahead of Kimber-Smith.

Third was the No. 38 of Kyle Marcelli and James French, in the Performance Tech car. Marcelli was part of that dense traffic Van der Zande encountered at the end, because Marcelli didn’t want to go a lap down. Eventually Van der Zande passed him. “I don’t blame him,” van der Zande said. “I would have done the same thing.” He and Popow came to Lime Rock with the season points lead, and this victory just added to their total.

Though the racing got physical in every class, the GT Daytona cars will probably need the most body work before the next race. The Daytona-winning No. 44 Magnus Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Andy Lally and John Potter took the class victory, with Lally finishing 0.932 seconds ahead of the No. 6 Audi of Stevenson Motorsports, driven by Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis.

Lally said the team had a strategy to take it easy during the first part of the race, and “run hard at the end.” He took the lead with 21 minutes to go and never looked back. He wrecked the car badly at the last race, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and the team spent “a lot of early mornings and late nights putting it back together better than it’s ever been,” Lally said.

Third in GT Daytona was perhaps the biggest surprise – the No. 33 ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper GT3-R of owner Ben Keating and hired gun Jeroen Bleekemolen. During the recent “Balance of Performance” adjustments the sanctioning body IMSA has made to speed up some cars and slow down others, the lone Viper has been overlooked. Lately it has been the slowest car in the field, and today, the 13th slowest of the 14 cars in the class.

But through some bizarre pit strategy, Bleekemolen ended up out front with a half-hour to go. Heroic driving kept him there until near the end, when Lally and Liddell got by, but Bleekemolen held on for third, perhaps the most unexpected podium finish of the weekend.

Though there was plenty of contact, the scariest moment came with an hour and 12 minutes to go, when Earl Bamber, driver of the No. 912 Porsche North America 911 RSR, tried to pass Dirk Werner in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL M6 GTLM car in a corner. They made contact and went hard into the tire wall, with the BMW’s nose taking the worst hit. It was a relief when both drivers exited the cars under their own power.

An earlier incident involving a miscalculation by Misha Goikhberg in the No. 88 PC car literally ripped the door off the No. 63 Ferrari GTD car of class points leader Christina Nielsen, putting her and co-driver Alessandro Balzan multiple laps down, ending up 11th in their class. Nielsen is still the GTD points leader, though the margin has shrunk.

-end


Print

Muddy Chef Returns to LRP July 28-29

Muddy-Clip-500

The Muddy Chef Challenge combines safari style camping, fancy dress cocktail parties, visits to local farm markets, and craft spirit providers, off-road driving, sporting field events (sporting clays, etc.) and two world class vehicle-based gourmet cooking contests. As the name suggests, this event is open only to Land Rover owners. So if you have a Land Rover, join us for the largest Land Rover event of its kind in the world – only at Lime Rock Park. Last year more than 90 modern and vintage Land Rovers attended with more than 75 teams cooking three courses. Imagine Top Chef level competition without a kitchen! For more info, visit www.muddychef.com or find us on Instagram or Facebook.

Watch this video, too!

Muddy-video

 

Print

2016 Schedule

Circle-dates

Lime Rock Park Announces 2016 Schedule

  This posting provides the 2016 Event Schedule (below) and a link to the online Lime Rock Merchandise Store.

 The 2016 Schedule: Four big events, not three like last year, and includes the return of the wildly popular Pirelli World Challenge and Ferrari Challenge series – and a much-improved IMSA show, along with the 34th Historic Festival.

May 27-29, Pirelli World Challenge Memorial Day Weekend
Pirelli World Challenge (GT, GTA, GTS, GT Cup), world debut of SCCA Pro Racing United States F4 Championship series, and the Seventh Annual Royals Garage Sunday Car Show. PWC is a veritable hotbed of production- and production-based classes. The big dog division is GT, where the biggest, baddest racing machines from Audi, Cadillac, Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Acura, Nissan, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ferrari, Viper, Mercedes and McLaren bare their fangs in frantic one hour showdowns. The GTS division features a lot of the same manufacturers as GT, but the cars are closer to street spec. Don’t be fooled – the races for GTS honors are just as crazy – and it’s where Kia, Hyundai, Subaru and Scion choose to do battle with Camaros, Mustangs, Porsches, Audis, Astons and Nissans.

July 22-23, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Northeast Grand Prix & Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge
WeatherTech championship: Prototype Challenge, GTLM & GTD; Continental championship: Grand Sport & Street Tuner. The big news this year is the return of the terrific GTLM class to Lime Rock. New factory efforts by Ford (the new GT!), BMW (M6) and Ferrari (488) join the GTLM fray against the fast and reliable Corvettes, while the GTD class sees the (new) Lamborghini Huracáns against Ferrari 458s, Audi R8s, Aston Martins, Porsche 911s and Dodge Vipers.

NEW for IMSA Race Weekend only: Teens 16 and under admitted FREE with accompanying adult

September 2-5, Historic Festival 34 & Sunday in the Park Concours
250 vintage and historic race cars, 1,200 concours and collector cars, iconic Honored Guests and special collections. Each year's Festival is always highly anticipated; there's so much to see and do it's hard to describe it all!

September 24, Ferrari Challenge North America Trofeo Pirelli presented by Singha Beer
Lime Rock fans have gotten their wish for 2016: The return of Ferrari Challenge. The 458C Evo is a tremendous racing machine, and seeing a squadron of them at full chat at Lime Rock is not to be missed. For the record, the Ferrari drivers love racing here.

PLUS, SCCA New England Region races Saturday, June 18 and the SCCA North Atlantic Road Racing Championship Run-offs Saturday, August 27.

GA Tickets, click here

Online Merchandise Store, click here

With much of Lime Rock’s major renovation project ("Road to 60") complete, we’re excited about bringing you a tremendous 2016 racing season.


Lime Rock Park Announces 2016 Schedule, Discounted Holiday Ticket Pricing

This posting provides the 2016 Event Schedule, links to the Christmas and holiday discounted general admission ticket pages, and a link to the Online Lime Rock Merchandise Store.

The 2016 Schedule: Four big events, not three like last year, and includes the return of the wildly popular Pirelli World Challenge and Ferrari Challenge series – and a much-improved IMSA show, along with the 34th Historic Festival. (Christmas idea: 2016 Season Pass!)

May 27-29, Pirelli World Challenge Memorial Day Weekend
Pirelli World Challenge (GT, GTA, GTS, GT Cup), world debut of SCCA Pro Racing United States F4 Championship series, and the Seventh Annual Royals Garage Sunday Car Show.
PWC is a veritable hotbed of production- and production-based classes. The big dog division is GT, where the biggest, baddest racing machines from Audi, Cadillac, Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Acura, Nissan, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ferrari, Viper, Mercedes and McLaren bare their fangs in frantic one hour showdowns.

 

The GTS division features a lot of the same manufacturers as GT, but the cars are closer to street spec. Don’t be fooled – the races for GTS honors are just as crazy – and it’s where Kia, Hyundai, Subaru and Scion choose to do battle with Camaros, Mustangs, Porsches, Audis, Astons and Nissans.

July 22-23, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Northeast Grand Prix & Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge
WeatherTech championship: Prototype Challenge, GTLM & GTD; Continental championship: Grand Sport & Street Tuner. The big news this year is the return of the terrific GTLM class. (For all you Corvette fans, your day has come.) New factory efforts by Ford (the new GT!), Lamborghini, Lexus and Dodge have joined the fray, so this will be a history making event.

NEW for IMSA 2016: Teens 16 and under admitted FREE with accompanying adult

September 2-5, Historic Festival 34 & Sunday in the Park Concours
250 vintage and historic race cars, 1,200 concours and collector cars, iconic Honored Guests and special collections. Each year's Festival is always highly anticipated; there's so much to see and do it's hard to describe it all!

September 24, Ferrari Challenge North America Trofeo Pirelli presented by Singha Beer
Lime Rock fans have gotten their wish for 2016: The return of Ferrari Challenge. The 458C Evo is a tremendous racing machine, and seeing a squadron of them at full chat at Lime Rock is not to be missed. For the record, the drivers looooove racing here...

The GA Tickets: Here’s one example of how big the Christmas and holiday discounts are... Would you rather pay $54 for a Pirelli World Challenge Weekend ticket now, or $75 in May? Yea, that’s what we thought...

The Online Merchandise Store: You know there’s at least one person on your shopping list who would love some Lime Rock gear, right?

With much of Lime Rock’s major renovation project ("Road to 60") complete, we’re excited about bringing you a tremendous 2016 racing season. And stay tuned for more news, folks...

Cheers,
Everyone at Lime Rock Park
Print

Photo Album, 2015 AxIS Shoot-out

Atmo-open-600

With perfect weather and great cars and drivers, the third AxIS -- AutoX Invitational Shoot-out -- presented by Wells Fargo Advisors, L.L.C., was, as always, a boatload of run-whatcha-brung fun. From race cars to pure street-stock rides, just 4.4 seconds separated the top 18 drivers on Lime Rock's 1/2-mile autocross track (thank you, Spectro Oils, for the electronic Timing & Scoring system, and Trevor Hermance, T&S Chief!). Wells Fargo Advisors Vice-President Chris Benjamin was on hand to throw some flags, watch the action and of course present the AxIS trophy.

Lime Rock Park PR Director Rick Roso took a few snaps during the day and we present on this page a photo album for your enjoyment...

Group-winner-shot
This year's entrants, left to right: John Killeen, Jason Sicotte, Bill Riehl, Eric Lacore, Andrew Grigg, Wells Fargo's Chris Benjamin, 2013 Champion Dean Cusano, 2015 Champion Tom Venturino, Quinn Kizis (partially hidden), Ryan King, Kevin Separy, Matt Dunham, Tim Cloutier, Steve Roux and Charles Tator. Not shown: Ben Berentson, Bill English, Russell Kohn, Jason Levine. Photo by SAX Manager Jeff Grossbard

 Kohn-2
19th, Russell Kohn, 2008 Porsche Cayman S, 40.880

Berentson-3
18th, Ben Berentson, 2011 BMW M3, 39.349

English-1
17th, Bill English, 2001 Honda S2000, 39.254

Killeen-4
16th, John Killeen, 2000 BMW M Roadster, 39.069

Levine-2
15th, Jason Levine, 2001 Honda S2000, 38.416

Grigg-3
14th, Andrew Grigg, 1995 Mazda Miata, 37.932

Tator-3
13th, Chuck Tator, 1994 Dodge Viper RT/10, 37.869

Dunham-3
12th, Matt Dunham, 2004 Chevy Corvette, 37.860

Cloutier-5
11th, Tim Cloutier, 2009 Dodge Viper ACR, 37.819

Sicotte-1
10th, Jason Sicotte, 2015 Subaru WRX STi, 37.709

Separy-3
9th, Kevin Separy, 2006 Mitsubishi Evo, 37.577

Riehl-3
8th, William Riehl, 2005 Porsche Boxster S, 37.567

Cusano-2
7th, Dean Cusano, 1984 Jaguar XJS, 37.567

King-3
6th, Ryan King, 2000 Toyota MR2, 36.958

Piera-4
5th, Mike Piera, 1973 Porsche 911, 36.233

Roux-3
4th, Steve Roux, 2012 Wyvern-Honda FF, 36.214

Lacore-1
3rd, Eric Lacore, 2013 Wyvern-Honda FF, 35.956

Kizis-3
2nd, Quinn Kizis, 1999 Mazda Miata, 35.725

Venturino-2
Your 2015 champion of the Wells Fargo Advisors presents the AxIS Shoot-out, Tom Venturino, 2012 Wyvern-Honda FF, 34.957

 Following are shots from the day in no particular order -- with the exception of this first one...

Venturino-3

Atmo-13

Atmo-9

Kohn-3

Tator-1

Kizis-1

Separy-1

Roux-1

Grigg-1

Levine-3

Lacore-2

Riehl-2

Piera-2

Berentson-1

English-3

Dunham-2

Cusano-4

Atmo-7

Killeen-3

Sicotte-2

Riehl-1

Atmo-2

Atmo-8

Berentson-2

Tator-4

Roux-2

Grigg-2

Separy-2

Dunham-4

Kizis-2

Killeen-2

Kohn-4

Atmo-10

Atmo-11

King-1

Cusano-1

English-2

Atmo-5

Cloutier-1

Piera-1

Levine-1

Kizis-4

Sicotte-3

King-2

Killeen-1

Kohn-1

Dunham-1

Cusano-3

Tator-2

Cloutier-2

Piera-3

Venturino-1
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 Wells Fargo Advisors AxIS Champion, Tom Venturino

 

-end

 

 

 

 

 

OFFICIAL PARTNERS