Big Crowd And Big Impact As IMSA Returns To Lime Rock Park

(Press Release from Lime Rock Park)

ISMA in action last week at Lime Rock Park (Photo: Courtesy Lime Rock Park)

After a one-year absence due to the pandemic, IMSA returned to Lime Rock Park in a big way this weekend.

With hotels sold out within an hour of the facility, the Connecticut circuit saw a nearly 50% increase in advance ticket sales as the track successfully hosted one of the largest gatherings in the state since the reopening process was initiated earlier this year. Crowds on both Friday and Saturday impressed as the grassy hillsides and multiple VIP hospitality locations were bursting with race fans young and old.

“We could fill this place a year out, twice over,” said Kevin Bousquet of the Interlaken Inn about bookings for the IMSA event. “You could tell this year there were so many people that wanted to get out and get back to the track. There was a lot of activity all weekend long and for me, it was really great to have the racers back and staying with us. It is a great group and we have a lot of repeat customers from through the years so it was a strong weekend for us to be sure.”

Long a staple event, the impact on local businesses was felt across the area.

“It was a really good weekend,” said Lakeville’s Boathouse restaurant head chef Kevin Hohla. “I would say it was above normal, but of course nothing is normal right now! But it was definitely above and beyond, a very good weekend all around for us.”

Saturday featured two races from IMSA, which stages sports car races around North America at tracks including Daytona International Speedway, Sebring International Raceway, and Watkins Glen International.

Connecticut’s United States Senator Richard Blumenthal returned to the track to take part in the pre-event festivities, making the call to start engines ahead of waving the green flag for the race, and then going out to the hillside to shake hands and thank the fans for coming out to the track.

Ahead of the races, some lucky guests had the thrill of a lifetime with a VIP fast lap of the track in one of the multiple Lime Rock Park safety cars, driven enthusiastically by instructors from the Lime Rock Park Driver Club instructors. Other fans got their chance to take to the track in a much more subdued way, with parade laps seeing lines of similar makes take to the track, including American Muscle, Porsche, Corvettes, and a special collections of cars from Miller Motorcars.

Lime Rock Park recently announced that a new ownership group has acquired the track from Skip Barber, with Dicky Riegel being named as CEO for the new entity. Riegel has been a passionate supporter of Lime Rock Park since first visiting the track with his father as a young man. Barber will continue maintain an ownership stake and support the management team.

The event was a significant success for the new group, and also saw the Lime Rock Park staff rise to the challenge of the unexpected during the event in partnership with IMSA. On Thursday as the IMSA teams were loading into the paddock, the two Lime Rock Park Fan Jumbotrons arrived to the track. Unfortunately, the delivery didn’t go as planned as the vehicle became stuck on the bridge to the outfield.

But the IMSA staff and Lime Rock Park emergency services and operations teams jumped in to solve the issue, utilizing forklifts, some valuable insight from some long-time Lime Rock Park campers, and some teamwork to get the vehicle unstuck, make repairs and have everything ready to go again in just a few hour’s time.

The track also demonstrated a rapid response to crisis on Saturday, as inclement weather initiated the IMSA emergency protocols to protect race fans, the broadcast team on site, and the event participants following lighting strikes within the proximity cone of safety. While the weather meant that the Northeast Grand Prix ended before its scheduled run time, the outcome was positive with fans being able to find safe locations.

“We had a little bit of everything this weekend, and I am thrilled to have had the response we saw from our fans,” said Riegel. “It was gratifying to see so many people here to enjoy the Park, and it was fantastic to be joined by Mr. Blumenthal here once again. The IMSA teams, drivers and organization are all top-flight and it was great to have all the effort that went into planning for this event result in a great event. We learned a lot and are already looking forward to next year with IMSA.”

Next on the track public event schedule is the 39th edition of the Historics Festival, which will feature racing, a concours, a car show, a VIP dinner, as well as an exhibition of a special collection of Porsche racing machines.


  1. carl block says

    Thank You Lime Rock ! For putting on Great show’s over the year’s The (Bulling Ring of a Road Course)

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