The Rolex Vintage Festival at Lime Rock Park was a magnificent feast for car buffs and proved far more diverse than most auto events. Sunday's car show featured 200 vintage and historic racers, including several generations of racing Corvettes, from a C2 Grand Sport to wide-body C3s to Paul Newman's modern-day pavement scorcher. Attendees could inspect the cars up-front and personal because every ticket allowed entry into the open paddock. They could see small details such as how Smokey Yunick trimmed the rain gutters to reduce drag on the Camaro he prepared for the Trans-Am Series.
In addition to an incredible collection of the most famous Trans-Am cars, the progress of automotive racing heritage was displayed, from early racers that appeared like soapbox cars with motorcycle engines to the sultry, streamlined curves of the '30s, '40s, and '50s.
Things heated up on Labor Day as the cars took to the track. In each event, the exhaust notes brought back a different era in auto racing. And the drivers were not just posing-vintage race cars worth a million-plus dollars were side by side in corners with not much more than the thickness of paint between them.
The action on the track was hot, but the northwest Connecticut setting was pastoral. Spectators were not crowded. they sat on lawn chairs under trees or on blankets on the grassy knolls overlooking the track.
Lime Rock is rightfully called a park. It's a beautiful racecourse set in forested, rolling hills with Victorian homes and historic inns. There's simply not another auto event like it.