In this edition of our WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (WTSC) round table we visit the shortest track of the year, Lime Rock Park. We spoke to Katherine Legge, driver No. 93 Michael Shank Racing w/Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3, and Ben Keating, driver of the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Riley Technologies Mercedes-AMG GT3. Here’s what they had to say about this week’s upcoming race:
Q: What challenges does a track like Lime Rock Park present?
Legge: For me, specifically, it is a track I have only ever raced at once, so I am watching video and doing sim work to try and get back up to speed there. I am lucky to have three great teammates to help me too, as they all have a lot of experience there. It’s a very fast and unique track that has only one slow chicane section but all cars seem to be within a very small margin of each other. It will be a tough race.
Keating: This is the shortest track we go to. One lap takes less than a minute. You can't pit under green without going down a lap. This makes the strategy really unique and challenging.
Q: What is the tire strategy for a track like Lime Rock Park?
Legge: So far this year MSR has been very switched on with strategy and by taking only two tires in Detroit we leapfrogged the leader and won the race. I am not sure until we get there how our strategy will play as we will have to learn about tire degradation in practice. It is a very tough track on tire loads as there are many fast corners. Luckily we have some of the best in the business designing our tires to withstand those loads and keep us safe.
Keating: It really depends on how the race unfolds. Because a lap is so short and track position is so important, this is definitely a track where we might consider a 2-tire change or a double stint on the Continentals. I have seen this race won on tire strategy and I've seen it lost on tire strategy. Short laps make it difficult to call. The easiest place to pass other cars is in the pits!
Q: What is your most memorable moment from Lime Rock Park?
Legge: I only have one – racing the DeltaWing there in 2013!
Keating: I don't have a personal big moment at Lime Rock. I have lots of crazy memories though. Jeroen Bleekemolen had a bad incident in 2013. I also think of the TRG Porsche losing an exciting race because of tires. Then there was the Turner BMW winning on fuel mileage. Always plenty of excitement.
Q: What can fans expect to see at this year’s Lime Rock Park race?
Legge: A lot of great racing – with no prototype cars, it’s going to be an epic GT battle! Tons of overtaking and strategy to keep things interesting.
Keating: I am excited about the all-GT field. I think this will make the race better and more exciting. Fewer classes means fewer story lines and the ability for fans to really dive in and understand what is going on in GTD. Lime Rock is a place where the racing gets really interesting.