2021 Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock – An Unforgettable Expertise – Boston Auto Weblog


Each summer time for the previous 6 to 7 years, I’ve tuned into endurance racing occasions on TV or on-line just like the 24 hours of Le Mans, Nurburgring, and Spa, and have at all times been fascinated by the aggressive nature of the World Endurance Championship collection, and in addition the preparation that goes on behind the scenes to make these occasions doable. Rising up within the US, NASCAR was my solely outlet as a younger automotive fanatic, however as I obtained older I discovered a greater type of racing, because of taking part in Gran Turismo, with extra technical tracks and circuit racing throughout the globe and I used to be immediately drawn in. The digicam work, the sounds that have been being picked up on the mics, and even getting a small glimpse of the paddock and pit row from the on observe reporters created a psychological image that I needed to expertise in individual.

In January of 2020 I made it a purpose to attend a race at Lime Rock, however sadly these plans have been altered. With nothing to do on weekends because of the dearth of automotive occasions, I began watching GT4, TCR, and Grand Sport extra intently. I obtained a greater understanding of the groups, drivers, and began following the standings way over I had earlier than. When 2021 started and life was returning to regular, I knew that after doing nothing for a complete yr, that this was the time to make the journey and attend my first ever race.

Main as much as Saturday, climate wasn’t wanting too promising however as we obtained inside 24 hours of the beginning of the Lime Rock 120 it appeared as if the thunderstorms would maintain off lengthy sufficient to a minimum of watch the primary race in it’s entirety. The last word purpose was to simply have half-hour to listen to the Porsche 911 RSR scream across the observe, and we have been rewarded with virtually an hour and half-hour of the Northeast Grand Prix earlier than the purple flag was waved. Whereas the race was reduce quick, I obtained hooked instantly and I’m positive everybody round me has gotten uninterested in listening to the countless raving about this weekend.

What made this occasion so particular?

2021 Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock – An Unforgettable

The sights, the sounds, and even the smells have been nothing like I’ve ever skilled earlier than. In the event you’ve been to air exhibits, you most likely know the sensation, however to be inside mere ft of those vehicles as they raced across the observe made Saturday unimaginable. Even higher, IMSA simply may be one of the fan pleasant organizations in all of sports activities, as earlier than the race you’ll be able to stroll down pit row with out having to pay an additional payment, you’ll be able to rise up near the vehicles, and perhaps even meet your favourite drivers. Everyone seems to be pleasant and well mannered, and to an extent it looks like one massive Vehicles & Espresso, with the exception that you just get to observe the vehicles in movement and never must cope with police giving out tickets for loud exhausts or have neighbors complaining.

From a spectator’s perceptive, Lime Rock gives some nice places to get superior pictures or movies or just simply phenomenal views. Turns 1, 2, and three appears to be the favored spot, however if you happen to make your option to No-Title Straight the sound that bounces off the hills because the the GTLM and GTD vehicles go by, then downshift as they method Flip 5 after which speed up out of the nook is a backbone tingling sensation. It was 90 levels and humid, however I nonetheless managed to get chills every lap. The realm I couldn’t get sufficient of what Turns 6 and seven, but in addition the right away that dips down underneath Bailey Bridge because the they enter the ultimate nook. Right here you’ll be able to expertise the race on each facet of the observe, offering nice views but in addition as soon as once more good places for pictures and movies.

How concerning the racing?

1648836660 998 2021 Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock – An Unforgettable

Each the Lime Rock 120 and Northeast Grand Prix exceeded expectations, however in numerous methods. The primary race had each the Grand Sport and TCR courses, providing a great combine, but in addition because of a subject of 30+ vehicles it was a bit extra aggressive than GTLM and GTD. No matter class, there’s quite a lot of producers and completely different engines which is why even on a fundamental stage of sound is best than the V8 crammed subject of NASCAR. Within the GS class you will have a stable steadiness between the BMW M4 and Toyota Supra’s inline 6, the Porsche Cayman’s Flat 6, the Chevy Camaro, McLaren 570S, Aston Martin Vantage, and Mercedes Benz GT being powered by V8’s, and the Audi R8’s V10. Whereas the TCR class is all powered by 4 cylinders, collectively these two courses create alternatives of seeing passes in corners and nearer racing, however the quantity of entries per race performed an element as properly. The Lime Rock 120 additionally has a couple of extra cautions which bunched up the sector on quite a few events and with that introduced some nice racing.

Regarding the last laps, I’d suggest retuning to the primary corners or shut sufficient the place you’ll be able to hear the announcers if you happen to aren’t listening to IMSA radio to get an thought of what’s occurring elsewhere on the observe. Whereas I used to be standing close to Bailey Bridge and overlooking flip 7, I noticed the tip however wasn’t totally conscious that in TCR the hole between 1st and 2nd as they crossed the end line was 0.134.

Then for the primary occasion, the Northeast Grand Prix, “speechless” could be the phrase to explain watching all 16 vehicles go by. For such a small subject, the sound was amplified in comparison with the prior race which was nonetheless fairly loud. The 2 Corvette C8.R’s dominated all the race, each carving out a large lead over their solely competitor, the Porsche 911 RSR and within the course of lapping the GTD vehicles on quite a few events. Extra essential than the vehicles themselves have been the drivers collaborating, equivalent to Jordan Taylor, Nick Tandy, Mathieu Jaminet, and Laurens Vanthoor all of which can be competing in both the 24 hours at Spa or Le Mans so that you’re watching World Class drivers execute strikes on the observe and race which is fairly superior.

It was this race the place I discovered a spot to simply sit down and revel in because the skies started to darken, and slightly than spending all my time filming I wished to soak in each second of this unimaginable expertise. I couldn’t take my eyes off the Porsche 911 RSR because the roar of the exhaust would simply shake you to your core, and there have been a couple of occasions the place I believed I’d lose my listening to (carry ear plugs if you happen to attend these races). However identical to with the Grand Sport Class, there was a great number of engines and exhaust notes producing a pleasant automotive melody as they handed by.

Sadly after virtually an hour an a half in, lighting struck and that was the tip of the festivities. I obtained to expertise sufficient the place the three hour drive was completely price it, whereas not spending sufficient time appreciating this race the place I really feel like the subsequent journey is touring to Watkins Glen subsequent yr earlier than returning to Lime Rock.

I’m addicted having witnessed all of this in individual, and I extremely suggest going if you happen to or a member of the family has been speaking abut attending for some time. It’s an expertise like no different, and when you go to 1 race you’ll end up wanting extra.

Thanks IMSA, Lime Rock, and all of the groups and drivers for a tremendous Saturday! Trying ahead to doing this once more subsequent yr See you in 2022!


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