The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) holds a very special place in Lime Rock Park’s history. Part of that history from day one, 2022 marks the 65th anniversary of SCCA events as the track prepares to host the SCCA New England region on June 24th and 25th.
Lime Rock Park is well established in the trinity of legendary road racing circuits in North America. Opened in 1955, Wisconsin’s Road America is among the oldest continuously operating street racetracks in the United States, along with California’s Laguna Seca and Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, both of which opened in 1957. However , after 65 years , only the Lime Rock route has remained exactly the same .
After original track owner Jim Vaill converted Lime Rock’s former pit into Lime Rock Park, the SCCA hosted the track’s inaugural event on April 20, 1957. Announced as the SCCA driving school, the track had to be repaved after 152 cars ripped it up during testing. It took three days and every dump truck in the area to repair the asphalt pavement, but the program still went according to plan. 6,660 spectators watched 10 races, which consisted of a mix of G production and MG classes. Ted Sprigg, driving an Alfa Romeo Giulietta, and Charles ‘Skip’ Callanan, driving an MG TC, were the first recorded winners in the challenging 1.5 mile course.
Two months later, SCCA returned to hold its first national championship race, the Haybale SCCA National, on June 9, 1957. Carroll Shelby took pole (1m06.0s) in a Maserati 300S, but lapped all his major rivals Lime Rock legend John Fitch managed to lead the first two laps. Shelby was Sports Illustrated’s Driver of the Year in 1956 and 1957.
Other notable drivers lining up this weekend included CBS news icon Walter Cronkite, sports celebrity Briggs Cunningham, Richie Ginther, Walt Hansgen, fashion designer John Weitz and New York restaurateur Vince Sardi.
Ten years later, SCCA put Lime Rock Park back on the map when Peter Revson held off Mark Donohue in the first race of the SCCA Trans Am Series at Lime Rock.
“That was the turning point in the line,” Jim Haynes, who ran Lime Rock for more than 20 years, told the Hartford Courant. “We have evolved from a purely club circuit to promoting a major race. We got sponsorship from Schaefer Beer and then it was off to the track.”
The upcoming SCCA New England Regionals on June 24-25 are amateur racing at its finest. The SCCA format features every imaginable type of racing car, from mostly standard sedans and sports cars to formula cars of all kinds, making the competition always close and exciting.
On Friday, June 24th, all classes will train and qualify, on Saturday, June 25th, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., a full day of competition with a lunch break around noon.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the box office.
For the full results of the 1957 SCCA race at Lime Rock Park, click here (provided by http://www.PitTalk.org). Click here to see more photos from the SCCA’s 1957 trip to Lime Rock Park.
Some footage of the 1957 SCCA debut has been recovered from the Lime Rock Park archives, taken on an 8mm camera by Daniel Stanfill. Watch below or click here.
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