American Le Mans Series – April 11, 2008
Two Lime Rock Parks?
Lime Rock Park broke ground on its extension track renovation Thursday after announcing earlier a series of multi-million dollar track upgrades, the repaving schedule and officially release the Lime Rock Park track maps. The American Le Mans Series will be the first body to compete on the circuit's new configuration when it visits the circuit on July 11-12.
"When The Club at Lime Rock Park was announced last July, we committed to spending all the capital raised on the facility. This capital plus the ‘I Helped Pave the Park' campaign and track rental fee surcharges all contribute to this effort. The plan was to make the track safer, smoother with repaving and slow it down a little, particularly the downhill, without changing its character. We're going to do better than that," Skip Barber, Track President, stated.
Think "two Lime Rock Parks." First of course is Classic Lime Rock - unchanged in 50 years and unchanged going forward. The fastest road course in North America will be completely repaved and have significantly improved runoff areas. Then there is the new or "Optional" Lime Rock that substitutes three wide and slower corners with increased overtaking opportunities, along with a wider and straighter Back Straight, additional upgraded runoff areas and will be a moderate speed track.
There is nothing Mickey Mouse – no chicanes – about the "Optional Lime Rock Park." Rather, it is a layout for the present - for the fast, high-tech American Le Mans Series cars - and for any other group that chooses it. It is also a layout for the future as cars and tires continue to develop. With the new optional corners there are actually eight possible track configurations. It will be easy to switch from one course to another.
In addition to repaving "Classic Lime Rock," adding three optional corners and a new back straight, the track will construct a longer and safer pit lane providing more pit boxes. The track is closing from May 27-July 2 to complete all of this work.
In March a lot of work was done on the driveover bridge that crosses the track. The bridge was raised 6.5 feet and now meets FIA specifications of being four meters above the track. New bridge abutments were built and are wide enough to accommodate a pedestrian bridge in the future.
Lime Rock had hoped to rebuild the Paddock bathrooms, adding handicap mens' and women's restrooms by Memorial Day weekend, but issues with building bathrooms in a 100-year floodplain (the Paddock) have delayed this project.
In January, the track purchased the 19-acre parcel left of the circuit as competitors and spectators drive into the track off White Hollow Road. This will enable the track to have a more dramatic entrance, add one of the optional corners (the new West Bend) where tickets are currently collected, improve the runoff area at Classic West Bend and eventually have a straight shot at the drive-over bridge.
A map of the track improvements is available online by clicking here. For further details on all track upgrades and improvements see the following information. Numbers below correspond with numbers on the map.
Note 1: Wide (40') straight into hard braking wide left. Following right flows into existing heavily banked corner. Left/Right complex is wide – two abreast entering Back Straight is possible. Slower entry to No Name than the Classic course.
Note 2: Optional Straight: wide (40') and straight. Small island between classic and new straight. Improved passing on straight. Harder braking at end. Good overtaking opportunity.
Note 3: Optional Uphill starts climbing earlier than Classic Uphill; crest is not as high – no chicane needed. The right at the end of the optional straight is much slower than Classic Uphill, which becomes runoff for new corner at end of new straight.
Note 4: Optional West Bend: Currently undecided on two rights or one hook in current ticket taking area. Objective is to have good overtaking and slower entry to the Downhill. All the berm on drivers left of Classic West Bend will be removed. Large, flat runoff area. These changes are possible by purchase of adjoining property and moving ticketing area to the west.
Note 5: Bridge raised to four meters (FIA spec) and runoff areas under bridge improved. Bridge abutments wide enough for future pedestrian bridge.
Note 6: New pit lane entrance. Current entrance eliminated. More pit boxes. False grid moved – new pit entrance takes no space from the Sunoco Paddock.
Note 7: New paved runoff drivers left and right on the Downhill. Size not finalized.
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