Elkhart Lake, Wis. (May 16, 2006) – The Historic Road Race Circuits of Elkhart Lake used in 1950,1951 and 1952 were listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service on February 17, 2006. The listing came about through the combined efforts of Road America and Historic Race Circuits of Elkhart Lake “HRC,” an all-volunteer organization of local preservationists and sports car enthusiasts. The Elkhart Lake race circuits were one of the last of the great open-road sports car road racing circuits in America and brought national and international racing prominence to the State of Wisconsin, Sheboygan County and the Elkhart Lake area.
The 3.35 mile 1950 circuit traversed a closed loop comprised of county roads located just north of the Village of Elkhart Lake. Jim Kimberly, event co-founder and heir to the Kimberly paper fortune, drove a Ferrari type 166 barchetta to victory in the 60-mile main event.
The 6.5-mile 1951- 52 circuit circled Elkhart Lake using both county roads and village streets. A Cunningham C2R driven by John Fitch won the 200-mile main event in 1951. In 1952 future World Formula-1 Champion Phil Hill, won the 100-mile Sheldon Cup race in a Jaguar “C” type while John Fitch returned in a Cunningham C4R to win the 200-mile Elkhart Lake Cup race.
Due to concerns for spectator safety, the Historic Race Circuit was no longer used after 1952. However, the races held on these circuits led to the establishment of the 4-mile Road America closed course road racing circuit just south of the Village of Elkhart Lake in 1955. Today Road America is recognized as one of the premier race circuits in the world and draws hundreds of thousand of race fans to the area each year.
With the listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the Historic Race Circuits joins the American Club, The Old Wade House, the Sheboygan County Court House and others as historically prominent sites worthy of preservation. The Elkhart Lake Historic Race Circuit also joins the Watkins Glen Historic Race Circuit in Watkins Glen, NY as the only other preserved open road race circuit in the United States.
HRC has announced plans to place historical roadside markers identifying the thirteen named locations on the Historic Circuits; i.e. Wacker’s Wend, Kimberly’s Korner, Dickens’ Ditch, Peck’s Alley and others. A Wisconsin State Historical Marker will also be erected in the Village of Elkhart Lake. The markers have been funded thru individual donations and a grant from the Milwaukee Region of the Sports Car Club of America. A dedication ceremony in Elkhart Lake is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, July 13, 2006 leading up to the Kohler International Challenge with Brian Redman and vintage car festival the following weekend.
George Bruggenthies, Road America general manager speaking for HRC, stated, “Our goal is to honor our history and to add to the enjoyment of motor sports enthusiast visiting Road America and the Elkhart Lake area.”
For additional information contact Road America at 920-892-4576 or Elkhart Lake Chamber of Commerce at 877-355-3554.