Lime Rock's video ace Jim Perry shot and edited some of the fun everybody had getting Camaro Z/28 hot laps from NASCAR star Jeff Gordon as part of the AARP Drive to End Hunger fundraiser this past Thursday. Great stuff, take a look!
No matter how good of a race car driver you are, you don't just blast out on to a track you haven't driven before. You get coaching first: the line, references, braking points, turn-ins, the tricky nuances, etc. Simon Kirkby, the director and head coach of the Lime Rock Drivers Club, was Jeff Gordon's coach. Simon spent about 15 minutes with Gordon before the official hot laps began, and he did what he does best: get drivers up to speed quickly and confidently. Don't get us wrong; Simon wasn't going to show Gordon how to do anything -- just where to do it. It was two very good drivers talking the talk and being sympatico. It was cool. And a fun time was had by all...
The Lime Rock Drivers Club is the track’s private membership group for enthusiasts to fully enjoy, on a world-famous and historic race track, the cars they normally drive on the street. But anyone can experience a “test drive” of the Lime Rock Drivers Club.
The following story is one enthusiast’s recounting of his LRDC “Track Day.” It originally appeared in Challenge magazine, the official publication of the Connecticut Valley Region of the Porsche Club of America. It’s a great read, enjoy...
“I Test-Drove the Lime Rock Drivers Club”
By Jim Adelman
For a track junkie, what could be better than spending an entire day driving cars on a race track? How about spending an entire day driving cars on track being coached by a professional driving instructor?
The PCA’s Connecticut Valley Region concours is an impressive event. But it was really special when my name was called as the winner in a raffle for a Lime Rock Drivers Club Track Day ($1,250). As I deliberated about what to do with my prize, not fully understanding what was being offered, I received a call from Jeanette Veitenheimer, executive administrator for the LRDC. She explained exactly what I was lucky enough to have won, making it all sound very appealing, emphasizing, “You’re going to have a great time!”
So I chose an available day and signed up.
My perception of the Lime Rock Drivers Club had been vague at best. I’ve watched “the others” driving during alternate hours at several CVR Driver Education events and was often curious as to what they were trying to accomplish. There would be a variety of cars driving around the track relatively alone and frequently coming in and out of pit lane. Being a guest of the Club could be enlightening. Besides, I always had an itch to park my car in their reserved paddock area!
From the moment I arrived at the track, Jeanette and the Club team made every effort to make me feel welcome and comfortable, starting with a catered continental breakfast at the Drivers Club Chalet on the hill. After signing a standard waiver, I reviewed how my day would be spent with Simon Kirkby, the Lime Rock Drivers Club Director.
The plan was simple: use the track time and professional coaching to improve my driving.
Simon “The Brit” was my pro driving instructor throughout the day, and he was by far the best “treat” for me. He’s a very experienced race car driver, spanning everything from rallying to the fiercest European open-wheel competition. We rode together for a track orientation, then he checked me out in the Club’s BMW M3 – my first time driving spiritedly with paddle shifters, and a challenge to get used to. After several bouts of inadvertently flashing the headlights and turning on the windshield washers, I settled into following Simon’s expert coaching.
Simon Kirkby (l.) with a Track Day customer
Four hours of track time made it comfortable and easy to run several laps, pit to discuss what we were working on, then go out and try it all again. The format was always laid back, with lots of time to review what we were attempting to achieve.
Simon occasionally switched seats to demonstrate a point. Obviously, he was capable of driving well above my pace but settled at a speed to which I could relate.
The variety of cars, sportsmanship and skill level of the Club drivers were impressive. The Club Members were all enthusiastic about their cars and most importantly, they were there to have fun and mainly work on improving their driving skills. Just like me!
Following a delicious buffet lunch in the Chalet, prepared by the track’s in-house catering division, we took to the track again to refine what I had been working on all morning. At that point, Simon encouraged me to apply the lessons learned in the M3 while driving my own track car. Naturally more comfortable in my own car, it all started to come together. Simon joined me right-seat as we practiced the earlier routine: drive several laps, pit to discuss, and then back on the track to try it again.
At one point Simon drove my car for a few laps to demonstrate something I needed to see and feel. Wow! It was a real eye opener to experience my car’s potential. I could only imagine how quick he would be with more time in my car. For anyone delusional enough to think that you’re driving your car to its limits, give yourself a treat – and a reality check – by having a pro like Simon drive your car on a track. The exercise is enlightening, educational and humbling when you witness the car’s capability in really talented hands.
The best lesson learned is that improving the car to increase performance is secondary to improving the driver.
When our time on track was over, we returned to the Chalet to relax, have some refreshments, and chat about the day... very civilized, indeed. Even with all the track time, my day flew by, definitely an adrenalin rush. I didn’t realize how exhausted I was until the drive home, sometimes thinking of Jeanette’s promise, “You’re going to have a great time.”
Actually, I had a fabulous time.
Click logo to go to limerockclub.com
At Lime Rock Park’s 32nd Sunday in the Park Concours d’ Elegance presented by Bentley, September 1, 224 vehicles in 29 classes were presented and judged. When the results were tabulated, a 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 owned by Peter Sachs of Stamford, Conn., won Best of Show. The stellar yellow-cream car had been entered in Class 3, “Risky but Racy, competition machines of merit pre-1945.”
This car was delivered to Tazio Nuvolari for the 1933 24 Hours of Le Mans; Alfa Romeo teamed Nuvolari with Raymond Sommer (who didn’t trust Nuvolari with the car!). In the race, they built a two-lap lead but had to pit due to a fuel leak, said to have been plugged with chewing gum. Nuvolari broke the lap record nine times and won the race by about a quarter-mile.
(Click here for photos from the awards ceremonies. Click here for Race results.)
The Class 3 winner was a 1934 MG K3 Magnette, presented by the Collier Collection’s “Revs Institute,” which sent four other cars to Lime Rock: a 1964 and a 1970 Abarth, an OSCA MT-4, and the 1935 MG PA-PB Leonidis, winner of Class 1, “Out in the Elements, open vehicles of distinction pre-1945.”
Another notable class winner was Dennis Nicotra’s pre-production 1964 Mercedes 300 SL (Class 13, “Power to Spare – and Grace to Boot”). There are numerous fascinating pre-production features of this car different from production Gullwings, including slightly different exterior proportions, hand formed under-hood sheet metal components, steel door hinges, and an asymmetrical roof vent. This prized 300 SL was recently restored – its first – by Germany’s respected 300 SL experts, HK Engineering. This car was initially delivered to Briggs Cunningham.
A literally untouched-since-it-raced in the 1961, 1962 and 1963 Targo Florios – a 1963 Alfa Romeo Zagato SZ – handily won Class 22, “Just as We Found It, untouched or minimally massaged.” There are photos from the 1963 race showing the tape that still surrounds the headlights today. The car is owned by Larry Garcia.
Roger Werner’s 1965 Cobra Mark 1 took Class 12, “A Sporting Proposition, sports cars 1962 - 1970” honors, while Class 26, “Pick of the Paddock,” for cars presented in the Concours that are racing over the weekend, was won by Tom Cotter’s 1964 Chevrolet Corvette.
Class 18 was nine cars, all Porsche Speedsters – “The Essence of Speed-ster” – and the winner was Steven Harris’s 1957 Porsche 356A Speedster.
Class 7, “Form Follows Function, useful, practical and commercial vehicles 1955-1985,” was won by a beautiful 1956 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special, owned by Daniel Plotkin.
The Honored Motorcycle Collector for Historic Festival 32 was Robert Machinist, who brought five fantastic bikes: a 1967 Ducati 350; 1972 Ducati 750 sport; 1974 Ducati 750 sport; 1975 MV Agusta 350 sport; 1976 MV Agusta 750 s America; and a 2000 MV Agusta F4. Alongside were the motorcycles in Class 21, “Less Is More,” won by a 1953 Triumph Twenty One 6T Bluebird, owned by Michael Marino.
Virgil Exner’s stunning one-off dream car, the 1960 Plymouth XNR, was entered into Class 23, “America’s Finest, Post-WWII.” Up against a phalanx of Lincolns and Cadillacs, the XNR took the trophy. Early in his career, Exner had a stint with Hall of Famer industrial designer Raymond Loewy... who drew up all the designs for Lime Rock’s buildings, pit lane and training facilities in 1956. Regrettably, the track’s investors ran out of money before anything of Loewy’s could be built.
People’s Choice went to an imposing but still approachable 1926 Kissel Speedster, owned by Andrew Benenson. Benenson also owns the 1951 Cisitalia C 202 that won Class 17, “The Other Italians.”
Joe Freeman entered his 1947 HRG 1100 Roadster and won Class 8, “For Road & Track, the cars the boys brought home, sports cars 1945-1955.”
In Class 14, “Businessman’s Express, GTs 1960-1965,” the 1963 Porsche Carrera 2 of Tom & Kristin Zarrella took the trophy.
Lime Rock President Skip Barber is given the opportunity to peruse the Sunday in the Park field and choose cars that earn a “Skip’s Sunday Best” award. This year: 1919 Stutz Bearcat (Myron Schuster); 1956 Mercury Monterey NASCAR stock car (Russ Truelove); 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Villa D’Este (Jon Savage); 1956 OSCA MT-4 Tipo Nuovo (Mitch Eitel); 1960 Cadillac Eldorado (Joseph O’Connell); and a 1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A Carrera Speedster (Ben & Rob Edwards).
In “A Damsel’s Delight,” another special class, it was a brilliant one-off station wagon that took home the fancy glassware: a 1960 Bentley S2 Wendler Shooting Brake. Designed by Wendler of Germany, this car was commissioned by an American (who also owned a Wendler Mercedes-Benz 300S Shooting Brake). It’s the only one-off made by Wendler for Bentley.
And in what Historic Festival chairman Murray Smith called “the largest collection of racing Formula Juniors in America, in one place at one time,” the entire 29-car FJ field was pushed out onto the track for Sunday. Winning “best in show” of the Juniors was Mitch Eitel’s 1959 O.S.C.A., with Bob Goeldner’s 1962 Brabham BT2 and the 1963 Lotus 18 of Nick Grewal rounding out the “podium.”
Sunday in the Park Concours d’ Elegance presented by Bentley
Class 1, Out in the Elements, open vehicles of distinction pre-1945
1. 1935 MG PA-PB, “Leonidis,” The Revs Institute, Naples, Fla.
2. 1940 Packard Darrin, Drake Darrin, Greenwich, Conn.
3. 1937 Cord Phaeton 812, Christopher Owen, Stockbridge, Mass.
Class 2, Gatsby’s Delights, rare and unique automobiles 1914-1942
1. 1933 Lincoln KB Victoria, Wayne Carini, Portland, Conn.
2. 1923 Marmon Speedster, Eric Killorin, Middlebury, Vt.
3. 1941 Packard Special, Robert Neubert, Amston, Conn.
Class 3, Risky but Racy, competition machines of merit pre-1945
1. 1934 MG K3 Magnette, The Revs Institute, Naples, Fla.
2. 1927 Amilcar CGSS, Nick Grewal, Guilford, N.H.
Class 4, They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used to, sedans and coupes to get you home pre-1945
1. 1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Shooting Brake, Arlan Ettinger, Salisbury, Conn.
Class 5, Off to Market, Home from Work, coupes, hardtops and wagons 1945-1970
1. 1955 Lancia Aurelia, Walter Miller, Syracuse, N.Y.
2. 1952 Volkswagen Beetle, David & Tracy Haviland, Burlington, Vt.
3. 1957 Oldsmobile 98 Starfire, Gary Dellavecchio, Oxford, Conn.
Class 6, Carry Your Weight, classics that deliver; commercial vehicles and woodies to 1965
1. 1950 Chevrolet Styleline De Luxe Wagon, John Theroux, Groton, Mass.
2. 1951 Chevrolet Styleline De Luxe Wagon (1062), Jack & Victoria Deluca, Riverside, Conn.
3. 1960 Volkswagen Double Cab Pick-up, Tom & Kristin Zarrella, Gloucester, Mass.
Class 7, Form follows Function, useful, practical and commercial vehicles 1955-1985
1. 1956 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special, Daniel Plotkin, Longmeadow, Mass.
2. 1965 AMC Rambler Classic, Kirk & Mary Benham, Saugerties, N.Y.
3. 1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III, Dave Ratner, Longmeadow, Mass.
Class 8, For Road & Track, the cars the boys brought home, sports cars 1945-1955
1. 1947 HRG 1100 roadster, Joe Freeman, Boston, Mass.
2. 1955 Porsche 356 Continental Pre-A, Robb Francis & Pete Kieler, Bernardsville, N.J.
3. 1948 MG TC, George Smith, South Egremont, Mass.
Class 9, Poised and Potent, road-racing’s streetwise reflections 1956-1961
1. 1958 Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Matt DeGarmo, Norwalk, Conn.
2. 1957 AC Ace Bristol, Andrew Williams, Stamford, Conn.
3. 1958 Jaguar XK 150 S OTS, David Porter, Darien, Conn.
Class 10, With Top When Needed, convertibles 1961-1972
1. 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE, Vivecca Mazella, South Salem, N.Y.
2. 1962 Ford Thunderbird, Ben Bereza, Thomaston, Conn.
Class 11, Keep the Shiny Side Up, fast, fun sports cars 1970-1985
1. 1966 Austin-Healey 3000 Mark III, Mark & Ilene Goodman, Cortland Manor, N.Y.
2. 1979 Fiat 124 Spider, Arnold Most, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
3. 1976 Triumph TR6, Ron Greer, Richfield Springs, N.Y.
Class 12, A Sporting Proposition, sports cars 1962-1970
1. 1965 Cobra Mark 1, Roger Werner, Greenwich, Conn.
2. 1969 Jaguar E-Type Series II, Thomas Howard, New Milford, Conn.
3. 1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mark 1A, Rich & Jackie Keller, Vernon, N.J.
Class 13, Power to Spare – and Grace to Boot, GTs 1945-1959
1. 1964 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (pre-production), Dennis Nicotra, Fairfield, Conn.
2. 1951 Ferrari 212, Peter Kalikow, New York, N.Y.
3. 1959 Porsche 356 Super 1600, Robert Martin, Bethel, Conn.
Class 14, Businessman’s Express, GTs 1960-1965
1. 1963 Porsche 356 Carrera 2, Tom & Kristin Zarrella, Gloucester, Mass.
2. 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale, Rod Burdick, North Smithfield, R.I.
3. 1963 Alfa Romeo TZ1, Robert Wilder, New York, N.Y.
Class 15, Wonders of Wind and Speed, high speed open-air GTs post 1945
1. 1967 Lancia Flaminia Touring Convertible, Don Schwarzkopf, Rumson, N.J.
2. 1958 BMW 507, Lloyd Dahmen, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
3. 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS, Douglas Cushie, Sherman, Conn.
Class 16, Speed & Style, because it’s not simply when you arrive – it’s how, GTs 1965-1970
1. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette, Bruce & Michele Clark, Brookville, N.Y.
2. 1968 Jaguar XKE FHC Series I, Steven Hammond, Kent Hill, Maine
3. 1967 Jaguar XKE, FHC Series I, Karen Carhart, Lenox, Mass.
Class 17, The Other Italians, a tribute to Carlo Abarth’s creations and the able competition
1. 1951 Cisitalia C 202, Andrew Benenson, Darien, Conn.
2. 1955 O.S.C.A. MT-4 Vignale coupe, Elad Shraga, White Plains, N.Y.
3. 1956 Fiat Abarth 750 GT Corsa Competition, John Kristoff, North Canton, Ohio
Class 18, The Essence of Speed-ster, a celebration of the iconic Porsche Speedster at 60
1. 1957 Porsche 356A Speedster, Steven Harris, New York, N.Y.
2. 1956 Porsche 356A Speedster, Richard Strahota, Darien, Conn.
3. 1958 Porsche 356 Speedster, Tom & Kristin Zarrella, Gloucester, Mass.
Class 19, Bentley Beauty and Bruteness, a tribute to W.O.’s Best
1. 1928 Bentley 4.5-Litre Le Mans, Roger Noble, Simsbury, Conn.
2. 1929 Bentley Speed Six, George Holman, Wilbraham, Mass.
3. 1962 Bentley S2 Continental, Ernest Trefz, Trumbull, Conn.
Class 20, Fancy ‘n Fun, Just the thing for a Sunday Drive, convertibles 1941-1960
1. 1953 Mercedes-Benz 220B, Jeffrey Diamond, Great Barrington, Mass.
2. 1948 Chrysler Town & Country, Troy Greg, Simsbury, Conn.
Class 21, Less is More, motorcycles, the lighter side of getting going
1. 1953 Triumph Twenty One 6T Bluebird, Michael Marino, Providence, R.I.
2. 1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport, David Miller, Ridgefield, Conn.
3. 1971 Norton Commando, Dean Mojon, New Hartford, Conn.
Class 22, Just as We Found It, untouched or minimally massaged originals
1. 1963 Alfa Romeo Zagato SZ, Larry Garcia, Laurelton, N.Y.
2. 1938 Morgan Plus Four Le Mans replica, Murray Smith, Washington, Conn.
3. 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Berlina, Bob Cess, Litchfield, Conn.
Class 23, America’s Finest, reflections on American style post-WWII
1. 1960 Plymouth XNR concept car, Paul Gould, Pawling, N.Y.
2. 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, Skip Barber, Sharon, Conn.
3. 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, Skip Barber, Sharon, Conn.
Class 24, No Holds Barred, victory at all costs defined – post-war competition machines
1. 1967 Ferrari 330 P3/4 chassis, James Glickenhaus, Rye, N.Y.
2. 1953 Jaguar C-Type, Tom Jaycox, Canaan, Conn.
3. 1962 Lotus 23B, Mitch McCullough, Pompton Plains, N.J.
Class 25, Creative Thinking, interesting, unique, between the cracks transport
1. 1965 Ford Mustang, Gregory Meindl, Levittown, N.Y.
2. 1964 Cheetah, Mark Strickrodt, Brewster, N.Y.
3. 1955 Austin-Healey 100-4 modified, Christopher Owen, Stockbridge, Mass.
Class 26, Pick of the Paddock, for machines driven in anger over the weekend
1. 1964 Chevrolet Corvette, Tom Cotter, Davidson, N.C.
2. 1933 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3, Peter Giddings, Danville, Calif.
3. 1954 Jaguar XK120M, Tom Jaycox, Jr., Canaan, Conn.
Class 27, Speed and Style Redux, mile-eating monsters, GTs 1970-1985
1. 1973 Porsche 911 S, Joe Courtney, South Windsor, Conn.
2. 1974 BMW 3.0CS Alpina, Duane Sword, Charlestown, Mass.
3. 1973 BMW 3.0CS, Michael Balaban, Douglastown, N.Y.
Class 28, Torque it Up, cars with the urge to move you, magnificent muscle 1955-1975
1. 1969 Pontiac Firebird 400 Ram Air, David Brady, Trumbull, Conn.
2. 1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 RS, Tom Petrasek, Huntington, N.Y.
3. 1969 Ford Torino Cobra Jet (428), Kevin & Yvonne Biebel, New Milford, Conn.
Class 29, Hot Rod, a tribute to American re-engineering
1. 1932 Ford Roadster, Paul Fitzgerald, Sandy Hook, Conn.
2. 1932 Ford Roadster, Kevin & Yvonne Maloney, West Suffield, Conn.
3. 1932 Ford Roadster, Skip Matava, Farmington, Conn.
Perrier-Jouët Champagne’s Choice
1951 Bentley Mark VI, Dennis & Ann Marie Nash, Wind Gap, Pa.
Ronald McDonald House Kids’ Choice
1967 Lamborghini P400 Miura, Lee Barba, Bangall, N.Y.
AARP "Drive to End Hunger" Meal Pack Event was a major success
On Saturday, July 5, 266 volunteers from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York came to Lime Rock Park and packed 24,000 “primary meal” food boxes for area senior citizens in need. The effort was the kick-off event for the track’s 2014 charity partnership with the AARP’s “Drive to End Hunger” campaign, spearheaded by NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, who’s scheduled to be at Lime Rock Park in September for a big fundraising day.
The meals will be distributed by Connecticut Food Bank to those in need in Northwest Connecticut, Western Massachusetts and Dutchess County, New York.
Track President Skip Barber said, “I can’t think of a larger, more important effort for the local community Lime Rock Park has ever organized in its 58 years. I am so proud of all the people who contributed their time to make this such a huge success.”
* Sharon’s “Harlem Line” band provided a wonderful energy to keep the assembly line rockin’ and a rollin’ during the three hour effort
* Terrific performers from the TriArts Sharon Playhouse entertained both the AARP volunteers and the thousands of spectators on-hand for the Salisbury Rotary Club Independence Day Fireworks show
Photos: Click here for a great album of photos taken by Lime Rock Park photographers Greg Clark and Casey Keil
More photos at "Drive to End Hunger" Facebook page
Watch the video!
Check back at www.limerock.com for updates on this season’s activities with Drive to End Hunger. To learn more, please visit www.DriveToEndHunger.org or follow @Drive2EndHunger on Twitter.