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Source: Racer Magazine

World Challenge group joins Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 42 roster

by RACER Staff | April 2nd, 2024

For its 42nd edition, Lime Rock Park’s Historic Festival (Aug. 30-Sept. 2) will expand to include an all-new class — the Turn of the Century World Challenge.

The Turn of the Century World Challenge group will showcase production-based street stock race cars from the 1995-2005 era prepared for SCCA World Challenge. Vehicles from Motorola Cup and various other period-appropriate national and international categories will also be considered, including Escort Endurance, Playboy Series, IMSA Firehawk and other showroom stock-based competitions.

The inclusion of World Challenge adds a more contemporary dynamic to Historic Festival 42, offering spectators a unique blend of classic charm and contemporary competition, while providing competitors a reunion opportunity for both cars and drivers of a golden era of big grids and great racing at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park.

"The huge fan response that events like GRIDLIFE and MiataCon have generated shows there is a real nostalgia and emotion connected to some of these cars from the more recent past," said Historic Festival Committee Chair Skip Barber. "This new class reflects that, and I think it should prove very popular for fans and participants alike. Lime Rock Park has a storied history with World Challenge and we are excited to reintroduce this era of racing to our fans."

The SCCA street stock series stepped up in 1990 to become World Challenge, moving from the club to pro racing ranks. In the period between 1995-2005 the big stories were the number of teams who began and built their business in World Challenge that continue to win races today, including Turner Motorsports, RealTime Racing, Bimmerworld and Blackdog Motorsports.

Drivers such as Peter Cunningham, Bill Auberlen, Roger Foo, Charles Espenlaub, Will Turner and James Clay cut their professional teeth in the series. Builders and tuners representing BMW, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Volvo and others fiercely participated for overall wins, and factory supported teams from Acura, Nissan and Mazda battled for supremacy alongside privateers in the Touring Car category.

The first World Challenge race at Lime Rock Park was in 1992, won by Kim Baker in a Corvette and Lou Gigliotti in a Camaro. In the years immediately following, entries far exceeded the number of cars allowed on track, staging races through 2008.

Highlights over the years included Acura sweeping the respective classes in 1998, with Peter Cunningham taking T1 in an Acura NSX and Pierre Kleinubing winning T2 in an Acura Integra R; the debut of the SpeedVision World Challenge with an enhanced television package in 1999 with Bobby Archer winning in a Viper and; and Bill Auberlen doubling up in 2003 for Massachusetts-based Turner Motorsport, winning both GT races in a BMW M3, and returning in 2004 and 2005 to take TC honors in a BMW 325i.

Lime Rock Historic Festival 42 launches into action over Labor Day weekend with a 17-mile tour through the area on Thursday, Aug. 29 with the Historic Festival Parade presented by NBT Bank. Friday, Saturday and Monday feature non-stop, on-track competition across a diverse set of historic racing classes. On Sunday (Sept. 1), the Lime Rock Concours and Gathering of the Marques will display nearly 1,000 enthusiast cars and motorcycles arranged around the Lime Rock circuit for “Sunday in The Park.”

Historic Festival 42 is now accepting competition applications. Registration information can be found here.


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