2021 Lime Rock Preview
LAKEVILLE, Conn. – After a short break from competition, drivers Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson and the Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) team return to racing this weekend, when they travel to Connecticut for the Lime Rock Park 120 at historic Lime Rock Park.
The two-hour race, on the 1.5-mile, seven-corner Lime Rock track, is scheduled to go green at 11:05 a.m. on Saturday, July 17. The event is the seventh stop on the 2021 Michelin Pilot Challenge tour schedule.
“I’m excited to be back at Lime Rock Park,” said Johnson. “We have had great success here in the past and it’s a track I really enjoy driving. There is always action there along with really warm weather. This race should be fun.”
All IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge races are streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio also provides live audio coverage of select Michelin Pilot Challenge practice, qualifying sessions and full-length coverage of all races.
Built in 1956, Lime Rock Park is the nation’s oldest continuously operating road racing venue. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
When last behind the wheel of the BHA Universal Coating No. 54 Hyundai Veloster N TCR car, Johnson and Simpson placed fifth in the TCR class at the Sahlen’s 120 at Watkins Glen International Speedway in New York. Weather played an expected role in the running of the race, as rain showers soaked the track surface for the last quarter of the two-hour event.
In 2019, at Lime Rock, Johnson and Simpson overcame sweltering temperatures to race to a second-place finish, just 3.325 seconds behind the winner. The previous year, the duo took the checkered flag, winning their first their race as a driver team.
“I am excited to get back to the track,” said Simpson. “The race was rescheduled last year due to COVID but it’s a track where Michael and I have had our fair amount of success. We won our first TCR race in 2018 and were back on the podium in 2019. We are certainly looking to repeat that this year. It’s a different kind of racetrack. It’s a short racetrack and one of the corners is a right-hander. It provides good racing. It’s tough racing; we do a lot of laps in a short period of time. We will face some challenges, but we are looking forward to a strong result. That’s the goal.”
The weather forecast on race day for Lime Rock, which is located in the northwestern corner of Nutmeg State, is calling for scattered thunderstorms with a high of 80 degrees. Winds are expected to be from the southeast at 6 mph.
In three weeks, Johnson, Simpson and the BHA team will be back in the Midwest, visiting America’s Dairyland for the Road America 120 in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Action will get started on Friday, Aug. 6 with two practice sessions. Qualifying is set for 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7 with the two-hour race to follow at 4:35 p.m.