Lime Rock Park is a racetrack so rich in mystique and history, it’s one of many bucket list tracks in the United States. It’s located in rural western Connecticut, yet it has operated under an injunction since 1959, which places noise restrictions on the track and prevents it from holding races on Sundays. Sound is limited on most days to 86 decibels, which is pretty quiet. For comparison, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca allows 90 or 92 decibels on restricted days. The dBA sound scale is logarithmic, so there’s a big difference between 92 and 86.
The injunction also permits the track to hold unmuffled racing on Fridays and Saturdays, but there are only so many days available per year without sound limits. The injunction is one part of the history of the track, which opened in 1957.
Lime Rock Park was the first road-racing course to be built using road and highway principles current at the time of its construction, and when the track was repaved in 2008, track owner Skip Barber went to great lengths to ensure that every aspect of the original layout, including camber, width, radius and elevation were preserved. Barber even kept what was originally built as a temporary bridge at the top of the Downhill section.
The track has played host to virtually any pro race series you can name, and most of the greatest names in racing have competed here. In addition to all that history, Lime Rock Park is one of the prettiest racetracks you will find, blessed with a backdrop of rolling Appalachian Mountains and unique architecture set on lush grounds. It’s no surprise that NASA Northeast has made Lime Rock one of the regular stops on its calendar. Even on July 4, when NASA Northeast racers and drivers may have conflicting obligations, they made the trek to Lime Rock for the second year in a row.
NASA Northeast Regional Director Joe Casella has been driving and racing at Lime Rock since 1973. He was able to get the dates with no sound restrictions because Grand Am pulled out.
“They offered this to me last year for the very first time,” Casella said. “Other than that, we were always here with a muffled event, which meant the cars couldn’t exceed 86 decibels.
“We did do a race here at 86 db,” he added. “These guys had mufflers hanging off every part of their exhaust that you could imagine to quiet them down. They had turn downs and all kinds of stuff, and I said, ‘This is ridiculous. We can’t race here,’ then they offered me the date last year.”
The NASA Northeast event at Lime Rock had a little bit of everything, from perfect weather on Friday to rain for the better part of Saturday. This region has some of the best Honda Challenge and German Touring Series action in the country. The racing is close and the people are warm. If you live near the region and you have a chance to race with NASA Northeast, or at Lime Rock Park, do it.
“Lime Rock is sort of the jewel of the Northeast, because it has so much history,” Casella said. “A lot of the guys are not super crazy about it because it’s short. We get spoiled when we go to the Glen and it’s 3.5 miles, and you go to New Jersey (Motorsports Park) and it’s 2.2 and 2.3. At Pocono, it’s 3.2 miles. The bigger tracks, the guys with the big horsepower like it. This is a driver’s track. The horsepower doesn’t take over as much as knowing the nuances of the course. Just coming down the hill onto the front straight takes a whole skill set. It’s not easy to get down there real fast. When you can come down the hill flat, you mastered the course. Its very tough to do.”
Join Speed News for a look at NASA Northeast’s event at Lime Rock Park.
Scenes from Lime Rock
NASA Northeast People