Teams ready for Lime Rock's 1.5-mile circuit
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge will headline Memorial Day weekend at Lime Rock Park, continuing a tradition of holiday competition that dates back to 1967 on the 1.5-mile circuit in Lakeville, Conn. The series will run a pair of two-hour, 30-minute races on Saturday for the Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) classes.
This marks the ninth consecutive year that the series will race at Lime Rock. The track hosted the series’ season finale the past two years. The Continental Tire Challenge raced during the Memorial Day Classic from 2006 through 2011.
The ST race begins at 9:10 a.m. ET, followed by the GS race at 2:15 p.m. Practice and qualifying sessions for both classes will be held on Friday.
Turner Motorsport (in photo) is a four-time GS winner at Lime Rock, winning in 2006-2007, and 2009-2010. The team’s current team driver Bill Auberlen won in 2006-07.
In ST, Georgian Bay and Freedom Autosport are two-time winners. Georgian Bay is the current CKS Autosport, with Eric Curran of nearby Holyoke, Mass., winning both races alongside Jamie Holtom in 2006 and 2008. Curran won the final GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT-class event at Lime Rock park in 2013 with co-driver Lawson Aschenbach. Aschenbach — who filled in for Boris Said in that event — joins Curran again this weekend in the No. 01 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R.
The weekend returns IMSA as the Memorial Day Weekend headliner. The IMSA GT Series was a holiday tradition at the scenic circuit in the Berkshire Hills from 1973 through 1998, led by stars including five-time winner Peter Gregg and four-time winner Al Holbert.
One to watch: Freedom Autosport’s Sgt. Liam Dwyer . Growing up in Litchfield, Conn., U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer often attended races at nearby Lime Rock Park, dreaming of someday driving at the famous circuit.
Sgt. Dwyer lost his mobility, but not his dreams, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan in 2011. He lost his left leg among many serious injuries. Competition driving played a major role in his recuperation.
This weekend, Sgt. Dwyer will drive in his second professional race, sharing the Freedom Autosport No. 27 Mazda MX-5 with Tom Long. He uses a prosthetic leg to operate the clutch. Last year, racing at the club level, he set the track record in his class in his first time out at Lime Rock.
A native of Waterbury, Conn., Sgt. Dwyer currently lives in Bethesda, Md., where he undergoes 4-5 hours daily of physical therapy with the goal of staying active in the Marine Corps.
“I’ve done 2,000 laps at Lime Rock, and I consider it my home track,” Sgt. Dwyer said. “We’re going to do well there – we’re going to do well at all the tracks that Mazda has me racing at, so I’m not worried. I’ve just got to go out there and do what I’m supposed to do.”
Freedom Autosport is a two-time ST winner at Lime Rock (2011 and 2013). Long drove with team owner Derek Whitis in the 2011 victory.
All servicemen and veterans – along with their immediate families – will be admitted free to the circuit’s annual Memorial Day Weekend event.