In The Fast Lane

American Iron Flexing It’s Muscle

Story and photos by Michael ONeill

As summer draws to a close I find myself looking back at a couple of the sports car road racing events that I covered this year. The first – The Pirelli World Challenge on Memorial Day weekend, and the second – The IMSA WeatherTech Northeast Grand Prix in July. Both of these eventswere held on the beautiful road course at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.The Pirelli World Challenge features everything from near stock touringclass cars to high performance GT/GT3 racing machines. The IMSA WeatherTech series includes everything from The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, with its entry level racers, to the GT classes and the exotic Prototype machines. The GTLM (GT LeMans), GTD (GT Daytona) and Mazda Prototype machines are the very same cars that run in the major endurance races such as the 24 Hours of Daytona, The 12 Hours of Sebring and The 10 Hour Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta.

One of the most refreshing things I took away from these races was to see just how well the American Iron performed alongside the more exotic European supercars. In a field heavily populated by the likes of Ferrari, Lambourghini, Porsche, Mercedes and BMW; names such as Corvette, Camaro, Mustang and Cadillac were standouts. In the 180MPH/525HP GT LeMans (GTLM) class the 2017 championship trophy went home with the team of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in their factory Corvette Racing-sponsored Corvette C7.R race car; beating all of the competition from drivers piloting BMW, Ferrari, Lambourghini, Porsche and Mercedes machines. The 2017 championship in the most prestigious 200 MPH/600HP Prototype class went to US bred and built Cadillac!

I can’t begin to tell you just how exciting these events are. Spectators are given VIP treatment all around with unrestricted access to the paddock (pit) area, where you can meet the drivers and watch the race teams in action up close and personal. There is RV and tent camping inside the track. Lime Rock Park is an extremely biker-friendly environment. There is no-charge, reserved infield parking just for motorcycles (alongside some of the expensive parking “Corrals” for owners of Porsches, Ferraris, Corvettes, Lamborghinis, etc.). Traveling to the track, the rides on NY Route 22 and/or CT Route 7 are motorcycle rider’s dream roads. Get out to one, or both of these events next year. See you there.