The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 will travel to Connecticut for the traditional Memorial Day weekend sports car race at Lime Rock Park. With more than 50 years of racing history on the track's ultra-fast 1.5-mile "road racing bullring," Lime Rock Park is both challenging and rewarding for the drivers as they click off sub-one-minute lap times. 2010 Lime Rock race winner Max Angelelli talks about what he expects on each of those laps as he looks to ride to another victory.
"Overall, the racetrack is very short. You only have one corner that goes left, so the point would be to save the left-side tires – both front and rear – on your car as best you can. Other than that, the general rule at Lime Rock will be to be gentle, and to put what I would call a "gentle" setup in the car.
Turn 1 is a high-speed approach, the only corner where you will have any heavy braking. You can have multiple options as far as when to turn in and where to be on the racetrack there, because that is a very long-ratio corner that merges into Turn 2. Those two corners, you can actually put them together and they become one, big, long-ratio corner.
"What I do is I normally stay very low all the way around, and then open it up going out of this long-ratio combination of corners. It's second gear all the way. Then, I gently get on the power, stay in second gear, and then do the left-hand corner, the only left-hander you have, which is Turn 3. I normally do this in third gear. Then, I do Turn 4 in fourth. It's very important to have a good exit there. I shift all the way up to fifth for the very narrow chicane.
"The point here is to stay away from the curbs (in the "uphill" chicane area) because, if you hit the curbs the wrong way, you will damage your splitter. If your splitter is damaged, then you will destroy your downforce level in the front.
"Then comes a third-gear right- hand corner, ("West Bend") a medium fast corner that is very slippery so tire grip is key here. I do this in third gear. And then you're heading down, very nicely, heading to the fastest corner of the track ("The Downhill") , another crucial corner. You need to have a good exit with good speed that will allow you to make a pass on the front straight. This is a fourth-gear corner, Turn 7.
"As far as what we should expect for tire wear on the track, I would describe Lime Rock as fair. The front tires will probably not be an issue at all. The challenge will be to keep the rear tires under you. There will be drop-off, for sure, and then we will be dealing with oversteer when it happens. I can't say that at Lime Rock there are specific places on the track or different lines to take that will help save the tires. It's such a short track and the laps happen very fast! What will help, in general, is to be gentle with the car and drive it in a gentle manner rather than aggressively and late braking. That is going to be important to keep the tires under you and keep your times down through the entire stint."
It is not just a fast lap at Lime Rock Park, it is also a fast day as Angelelli and his SunTrust co-driver Ricky Taylor will take on practice, qualifying, and then the race all on Monday. The race will air at 2 p.m. ET on SPEED.