Once a year, to cap off the summer season, the quiet rural town of Salisbury, Connecticut is awakened by the whining motors and ear-ringing screams of race cars from a bygone era. The echoes emanating from the track’s public address system can be heard from miles away and the town’s humble downtown area is suddenly injected with life. Thousands of visitors from around the country — and the world — have flocked to the iconic Lime Rock Park to attend the annual Historic Festival.
For over 40 years, the Historic Festival has turned Labor Day weekend into a celebration of speed, sound and beauty, with various race classes ranging from pre-War, open-wheel cars to the sports and formula cars of the post-War era delighting the enthusiastic crowd. This year marked the 41st edition of the Historic Festival, and Analog:Shift was in attendance to experience the festivities. From a 17-mile parade through Litchfield County to the Lime Rock Concours and the Gathering of the Marques on track grounds, there was no shortage of history, enthusiasm and fast cars in action.
There’s no denying that Lime Rock Park is hallowed ground — a place where motor oil was spilled and legends were made. Opened in 1957, Lime Rock Park has seen the likes of Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Derek Bell and Paul Newman (you may have heard of him) etch their own names into the history books. The track layout remains unchanged, and although the drive appears straightforward, its 1.5-mile geography peppered with hills, dales and tight turns make it deceivingly difficult to navigate.
Historic Festival 41 provided a unique experience for attendees that one would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else: The paddock was opened entirely to the public, giving free reign to check out all the race teams and their stable of race cars — so long as one didn’t get in the way of paddock traffic, of course. There was a dedicated area for Lawrence Aurianna’s world-renowned Italian car collection, and not too far away was the starting grid where onlookers could observe one of the many races beginning at the drop of a green flag.
Up the hill was a space for a town-sized swap meet where vendors offered up all sorts of memorabilia — toy models, artwork, and automotive-inspired neon signs were all fair game. Between this and the endless car-spotting in the parking areas alone, there was no denying that Historic Festival 41 was a dream paradise for automotive enthusiasts.
Old-world cars, competitive race action, as well as vintage (and modern) watches abounded at Historic Festival 41. Enjoy all the sights and scenes below in our photo recap!
Simon Green in his '85 Shrike P15 leading the way in the Sports 2000 class.
Dave Handy in a 1988 Swift DB2 with the easy overtake.
A '69 Chevron B16 sitting pretty in the paddock.
Automotive enthusiasm undiminished through the decades.
Superocean. We love a good steel bezel.
Kobus Reyneke blasting down a straightaway in his '68 Porsche SWB 912.
Historic Festival 41 racer wearing a well-loved Rolex GMT Master.
Hoosier Tires – the best in the business.
Ahead of its time.
Post-race conversations – Part I.
Post-race conversations – Part II.
1957 Devin Special Wide Body.
well represented at Historic Festival 41 – pictured here, an Aquaracer Diver.
A '59 Voight/Crosley H-Mod following the proper racing line.
Mechanical failure turns into an inferno at Turn 1. The driver walked away, but the car wasn't so lucky.
Chronograph 718 Spyder RS. You have the car, so you might as well get the watch, right?
Ferrari 275 GTB.
Bell & Ross
Type Demineur – a sneaky, solid diver from a brand not known for their dive watches.
Speaking of sneaky, here's a stolen shot of a Seiko on wrist. Can you make out the model?
Historic Festival's complimentary Triple "A".
An Autodromo Group B spotted in the wild.
Dial color inspiration for the Group B: Coincidence? I think not.
Founder, Historic Festival 41 racer, and friend of Analog:Shift Bradley Price having some fun before his race.
Price's '59 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider with a proper Autodromo decal.
A Panerai Luminor Marina on-wrist – an unmistakable silhouette.
Time Expedition at work.
A 1960 MG A headed through Turn 3.
Horatio Fitz-Simon, a young gun and talented as they come, strolling through the paddock.
Fitz-Simon with his racing lucky charm – a Rolex Explorer II from his father.
Fitz-Simon would go on to complete the fastest-ever lap time at Lime Rock. (We're sure the Explorer II isn't leaving his wrist any time soon.)
They don't make them how they used to.
An inside look at a Land Rover Series I.
A '94 Ralt-41 CSR on the grid.
#10 leading the way.
The pack speeding by the Lime Rock control tower.
The author's Serica 5303-1.
A glimpse into Lawrence Aurianna’s Italian car collection.
spotting. Does it get any better than a Seiko diver?
Store on wheels.
Firing off a last-minute text before the green flag drops.
A sweet Yema
Meangraf Super Y70 Chronograph in the paddock.
1960 MG A.
Jefferey Sienkiewicz committing to a line in a '59 MG A of his own.
'59 Elva Courier booking it around a corner.
Driver stretching his legs before "Tin Tops" group.
The rubber meets the road – Part I.
The rubber meets the road – Part II.
Crystal scratched, steel scuffed – hard to beat a well-loved Rolex GMT Master.
Souvenir from Seabring.
Battling it out going into Turn 5.
A watch company with Swiss roots, Wenger may not wow the majority of the crowd, but this one in particular has many stories to tell.