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Historic Festival 39 at Lime Rock Park

Now in its 39th year, the Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park has been a time-honored tradition since 1982. Enjoy vintage car racing at its best and a nostalgic journey through time. For lovers of the most elegant and fastest historic cars in the world, there’s no other place to be over Labor Day weekend than Lime Rock Park.

By jeff mason

September 1, 2021

Murray Smith, chairman of the Historic Festival 39 at Lime Rock Park and advisor to the Piston Foundation gives a sneak peek at what fans can enjoy this Labor Day Weekend. He is lending his experience and innovative ideas to the Piston Foundation because he believes in our mission to support the next generation of restoration specialists, vital to the success of events like the festival.

Historic Festival 39 will follow our usual format, starting with racing and qualifying on Friday. We’ll be racing nine groups Saturday and Monday. The Sunday in the Park concours and the Gathering of the Marques happens on Sunday, giving everyone a chance to see their favorite cars up close.

New Historic Festival Events

We’re doing something we’ve never done before for Monday’s racing: a one-hour enduro with teams of two drivers in each car. We’ll have minimum time for a pit stop to change drivers and do things properly. There is a lot of interest in that.

In fact, we are getting a good response overall. I think most people were quite impressed with our protocols last year, during the height of the pandemic. The limited format was still a success and I don’t think they’ll be afraid to come back.

Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park
Photo by Bearded Mug Media

Featured Guests at Lime Rock’s Historic Festival

This year, we’ll have Stefan Johansson, who drove for Ferrari and McLaren as well as other teams. He drove a Ferrari when the old man was there; what a dream that is, to be called by Ferrari and asked to drive. He won LeMans and Sebring and is a well-rounded driver. He’s also an artist and we’re excited that he’ll bring his artwork to the park. He’s also very intelligent and charming; I think people will be happy to see him.

Also, Brian Redman will be our guest, a long-time fan favorite at Lime Rock who competed in Formula One early in his careers before enjoy success in various forms of American competition.

We’ll also feature Steven Harris, an architect and important collector. I believe he has just about one of every RS Porsche, some new and un-driven. That will give us a substantial display for everyone to enjoy.

Genuine Vintage Racing at the Festival

I’ve offered VSCCA a promise; if they can produce 23 cars, I will organize a real pre-war race in addition not the grids that we’re putting together. I want to have some real competition for spectators as well as racers to enjoy. This event is what it is because we stick to our objectives, such as making sure we have real cars on the track. We don’t want to include fakes or continuations unless it was made by the manufacturer.

We’re very experienced at race control with a good group of observers led by two senior observers with a great deal of experience. Everyone is linked by radio and we have another opportunity to pick up on problems in addition to the flag marshals. We can get a car into pit lane and warn them that a wheel might be coming off or talk to an unexperienced or perhaps unnecessarily aggressive driver to stop someone making a fool of themselves or possibly dying. We’re not in the business of stopping people from racing or enjoying themselves but we want to see good driving and a good exploitation of the cars.

A Weekend to Enjoy: Labor Day at Lime Rock!

I’m looking forward to making the opening remarks at the driver’s meeting on Friday morning. I always look forward to that because I can acknowledge people like Skip Barber who’s kept the track going all these years. There can be egos in motor racing and it’s good to acknowledge the gift people are giving us, the ability to race at a nice facility and do the things we enjoy.

I also look forward to Monday afternoon when I will know no one was hurt and seeing my friend Stefan, who is a good guy.

Parade of the marques at Lime Rock Historic Festival
Photo by Bearded Mug Media
Murray Smith, chairman of the Historic Festival 39
Photo by Bearded Mug Media

Murray Smith’s successful advertising career helped clients around the world but he is popularly known for presenting the finest automobiles with style, innovation, and excitement. The Louis Vuitton Classic at Rockefeller Center is exemplary of his work as is his Lime Rock Park Historic Festival, a unique, first class motoring event that combines all parts of motoring for the enthusiast.

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