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LRDC Member Wins Tough Race at VIR

NIMKOFF 13

Lime Rock Drivers Club member Rob Nimkoff and teammates Tim Bell, Al Davis and Dillon Machavern drove their Car Guy Nation Aston Martin Vantage GT4 to the win in the SCCA North Carolina Region’s annual “13 Hour Charge of the Headlight Brigade” at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday, Oct. 26. The Region bills the “Charge” as the “sixth-longest closed-course auto race in the world*.”

Not long after the start and his first 90 minute stint, Nimkoff took over P1 when the two Radicals in first and second fell by the wayside with mechanicals.

“The car remained solid and consistently outpaced the rest of the field,” said Jared Lamanna, chief tech on the GT4. “Though not without a bit of drama, we remedied a handful of small problems.”

Approaching the 10th hour, Bell passed a car during a full course yellow flag and had to sit in pitlane for :2.30. Machavern then drove the final stint and got the Aston back up to second place, duking it out fender to fender with the leading BMW M3. With 30 minutes to go, the Bimmer suffered a mechanical, handing the win to the Car Guy Nation Aston Martin.

Car Guy Nation is a Lime Rock Park marketing partner, and we congratulate them on their team’s success at VIR.

*Behind Thunderhill’s 25 Hour, and the 24s of Le Mans, Daytona, Nürburgring, Spa and Bathurst

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It was a TaylorFest in Final Grand-Am Race

Velocity DP
Photo by Gary Gold

Click here for the Saturday photos by Greg Clark and Casey Keil.

When it comes to Daytona Prototype racing at Lime Rock Park, there are just two names you have to know, now and forever:

Taylor and Angelelli.

Grand-Am’s Rolex Sports Car Series has been to Lime Rock three times prior to today. This year was the fourth and final time, as Grand-Am/ALMS becomes the Tudor United Sports Car Championship as of right now.

The first Daytona Prototype race at Lime Rock, in 2010, was won by Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR), driven by Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor, Wayne's oldest son (he was 21 at the time). The second DP race here was won by WTR, again Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor winning. In 2012, the third DP race at... well, you can guess, right? WTR with Max and Ricky.

Today, Wayne Taylor Racing’s Velocity Worldwide/Toshiba/Chevrolet Corvette DP won its fourth consecutive Lime Rock Grand-Am race, driven by Angelelli and Jordan Taylor, Wayne’s other, and youngest (22) son.

But Wait, There’s More (apologies to AutoWeek)...  Eight years ago, Wayne Taylor was both the team owner and one of its drivers. Guess who his co-driver was when WTR won the driver’s title in 2005? Max the Axe, of course.

Remarkable. And very cool.

Angelelli, who had qualified the Corvette DP fifth, took the first stint and handed the car to Taylor an hour later, who re-joined fifth. With an hour to go in the 2:45 race, Taylor took the lead back when Gustavo Yacaman (Michael Shank Racing Aero/Tuvacol Ford-Riley) pitted for fuel. Despite two full-course caution periods that allowed Yacaman to close up, each time Taylor did a Vettel and broke away to big leads on each re-start and cruised home to the win.

In the GT class, Eric Curran of Holyoke, Mass., who’s been racing at Lime Rock since he was a teen, took over from co-driver Lawson Aschenbach at the halfway point and drove their Whelen Engineering (a Connecticut company) Chevy Corvette to the win over the Ferrari 458 of Leh Keen and Alex Balzan, the second place finish being more than enough to clinch the Grand-Am GT driver’s title for Balzan.

In today’s first race, the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Grand Sport Division, it was like the old pony car wars, as a Mustang beat a Camaro. Billy Johnson and Jack Roush, Jr. – yes, that Roush’s son – drove their Boss 302R to the win over John Edwards and Matt Bell in a Camaro GS.R. Great stuff. (On Friday, Mike LaMarra and Terry Borcheller won the Conti Tire ST crow with a fifth-place finish in their BMW 128i in a dramatically won race by Joel Miller and Tristen Nunez in their Mazda Miata.)

So there you have it, a history making day as a very large crowd of Lime Rock fans witnessed the last ever Grand-Am race, the crowning of its last champions, and the end of an era... and beginning next year, the start of a new one.

By the way, look for an announcement of our upcoming 2014 races in the near future.

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Prototype & GT Racing at LRP

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Prototype and GT Racing at Lime Rock   
Names, Numbers & Whatnot...

With the last-ever Grand-Am race coming up in a couple days -- the Grand-Am Championship Weekend Presented by BMW -- we thought you would enjoy a mini-rehash of this kind of racing at LRP.

Here are some interesting facts for you to ponder.

Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas have scored 27 Rolex Daytona Prototype (DP) wins since they snagged their first one together in 2007 at Iowa Speedway.

Pruett himself is a five-time Rolex DP champion, by the way.

Guess how many DP races he’s won at Lime Rock? None.

But Pruett knows how to win here; he won the 1988 Trans-Am race in a Merkur XR4Ti at the wet-behind-the-ears age of 28...|

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This year, BMW-powered chassis have led the most laps, 776 of 1,731 laps (45%) in the 11 races so far, while Chevy-powered cars have led 683 (39%)...

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Since 1978, there have been 38 prototype races at Lime Rock; this weekend makes 39:

1978-1981 was the IMSA GTX era
1982-1993 was the IMSA GTP era
1994-1998 was the IMSA WSC era
1999 was the USRRC SR year
2000 was the Grand-Am SR year
2001 was the Grand-Am SRP year
2004-2013 was the ALMS LMP1/LMP2 era
... and 2010-2013 was Grand-Am DP

The list of drivers that have won these Lime Rock prototype races reads like a “Who’s Who” of racing.

In no particular order, victors include (non-comprehensive)...

Al Holbert
Peter Gregg
Brian Redman
Geoff Brabham
Chris Dyson
Max Papis
Butch Leitzinger
Juan Manuel Fangio II
James Weaver
J.J. Lehto
Didier Theys
Bob Tullius
Gil de Ferran
Sarel van der Merwe
Ryan Briscoe
Scott Sharp
Klaus Graff
Price Cobb
Marco Werner
Chip Robinson
Wayne Taylor
Lucas Luhr
Max Angelelli
Allan McNish

The cars? An equally impressive roster (non-comprehensive...

Porsche 935 Turbo
Lola T600
Jaguar XJR-5 and -10
Nissan ZX-T
Porsche 962
Toyota Eagle Mk III
Ferrari 333 SP
Audi R8
Acura/HPD ARX
Lola-Mazda
Riley & Scott Fords & BMWs
Corvette DP
March-Porsche
Porsche RS Spyder...

When you come for prototype races at Lime Rock Park, you’re seeing the crème de la crème, that’s for certain.

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GT Racing at Lime Rock Park

There have been *48 GT-style races at Lime Rock since 1972, under the various sanctioning-body banners of IMSA, USRRC, Grand-Am and ALMS/IMSA, under class names including GT, GT1, GT2, GTO, GTU, GTS et al.

The marque with the most victories – no big shock – is Porsche, with 11. But Chevy is right on the 911’s rear bumper with 10 wins (5 Corvette, 4 Camaro, 1 Monza). The third-most GT wins might surprise you; Mazda, with 7. Next is Nissan’s 5 wins, Pontiac(!) at 4, Oldsmobile with 3, BMW and Ford 2, then single wins for Mercury, Dodge, Audi and Panoz.

*The source material is ultimateracinghistory.com, which though extensive does not list or differentiate classes in its result sheets, so some class wins are going unaccounted for. I used deduced class winners where it was obvious, but in the cases where it was not perfectly clear (for instance, back in the day Mazda RX-7s ran in both GTO and GTU), I did not count them. Editor

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When you're here for the Grand-Am finale, be sure to check out the Prestige BMW Display on the Midway!

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Free Concert Friday, Sept. 27

DAVY-KNOWLES-web

Lime Rock Park has organized a free concert the evening of Friday, Sept. 27, showcasing the talents of British blues-jazz-rock guitarist Davy Knowles. The show is 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., to be held in the big concert tent located on Lime Rock’s Upper Infield Midway.

The Davy Knowles show is part of the Grand-Am Championship Weekend Presented by BMW, but you don't have to have tickets to the race to see it. People may begin arriving for the show after 5:00 p.m. at the track’s main gate, 60 White Hollow Road.

A cash wine-and-beer bar will be open, too.

Knowles, 26, draws his musical influences from Dire Straits, Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac founder) and Eric Clapton. Celtic music – Ireland being a figurative hop, skip and a jump away from his Isle of Man birthplace – also tinges his repertoire. Knowles, who has toured recently with Jeff beck and Joe Satriani, has gotten “hot” of late thanks to well-received performances at the South by Southwest Festival, Coachella, Lollapalooza and the Bonnaroo Music Festival.

The Lime Rock show is sponsored by Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Guitars, a marketing partner of Grand-Am.

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BMW Sponsors LRP's Championship Weekend Sept. 27-28

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With BMW announcing that they are again the presenting sponsor of Lime Rock's Grand-Am season finale, we thought you would like to see some very good videos of BMWs in racing action. We have the click-throughs at the bottom, after you read this short update about the title fights coming up September 27 and 28.

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Ganassi's BMW-Riley is in the title hunt, to be decided at LRP September 28

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This BMW 128i can win the Continental Tire ST championship at LRP September 27

For the second year in a row, BMW has taken ownership of the Grand-Am season finale here at Lime Rock Park.

Lime Rock’s last big spectator event of the year is the “Grand-Am Championship Weekend Presented by BMW,” September 27-28.

This is Grand-Am’s season finale. Both the Rolex Sports Car Series – Daytona Prototypes and GT – and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series, GS and ST, have to decide all the 2013 titles at Lime Rock.

Drivers, manufacturers, teams and engine-makers all want a slice of the 2013 championship pie, and we don’t have to tell Lime Rock fans what usually happens when you put teams and drivers desperate to win on the track for one last shot: Crazy-good action.

The Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Rolex DP team (BMW/Riley with Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett) has slim 9-point advantage over Wayne Taylor Racing (Corvette DP with Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli), while in the driver’s championship, Taylor & Angelelli have an even slimmer lead over Rojas & Pruett, just 8 points. You a Chevy guy or a Bimmer guy? And by “guy” we mean “gal.” Or “guy.”

In Rolex GT, seven drivers are within 26 points of leaders Andy Lally and John Potter. It’s boiled down to a harsh Porsche GT3 vs. Ferrari 458 vs. Chevy Camaro battle... who you gonna pull for?

This is a race – the last-ever Grand-Am race in history, since Grand-Am and ALMS merged for 2014 and beyond, called United SportsCar Racing (USCR) – you don’t want to miss, for many reasons.

In Continental Tire, the Street Tuner (ST) championship battle is also super-tight, a dog fight between a BMW 128i driven by Mike LaMarra and Terry Borcheller and a Honda Civic Si piloted by Kyle Gimple and Ryan Eversley. Just 8 points separate the teams and drivers. Do not miss the Friday Conti Tire ST race!

Call us for tickets (860.435.5000) to the Grand-Am Championship Weekend Presented by BMW, September 27-28, or click here to go to the Tickets page.

Okay, as we promised at the top, we found some excellent BMW-related videos that we thought you would really like, regardless of whether you're a Bimmerphile or not.

BMW’s M Motorsports Division racing history
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Uqh6cArfoc

A very good on-board from a Conti Tire GS BMW M3, at Mid-Ohio this summer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM2aMZLj25I  

This is a neat re-cap of Turner Motorsport at Lime Rock last year – much of it shot in super-slow-mo
http://youtu.be/dn9TE-RgTwI

BMW Performance Center cars drifting at Lime Rock
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCO6gQDLWmI&feature=youtu.be

Turner Motorsport 2011 re-cap video from Lime Rock Park
http://youtu.be/NzqOkdLQUyI

Here’s the Gear Patrol review of the BMW M3 Lime Rock Park Edition that was revealed during last year’s championship weekend
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnxePACkVIs&feature=youtu.be

Sweet video highlighting the sound of a BMW CSL at Lime Rock
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vK6A4rcxh0&feature=youtu.be

BMW’s own video introducing its Z4, racing in ALMS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV7obYX9tHQ

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