ALMS and Grand-Am cars on the streets of NY City
Things you don’t see every day: the No. 0 DeltaWing racecar from the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n sitting wheel-to-wheel with a New York City taxi; or the No. 31 Chevrolet Corvette from the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series parked alongside a cobblestone street in New York’s trendy SoHo neighborhood, directly in front of a Dyson Racing Porsche 962 from the classic days of IMSA.
But that was the scene on Tuesday night in front of the Seize sur Vingt men’s boutique on Greene St. in New York City. Cars and drivers from the ALMS, GRAND-AM Road Racing and the new IMSA-sanctioned Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series turned out in full force to promote upcoming events at Lime Rock Park, situated slightly more than 100 miles to the north in Lakeville, Conn.
The primary order of business was to draw attention to the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix coming up this Saturday, July 6. If there’s one thing that ALMS fans already know – and a great many New Yorkers found out firsthand on Tuesday– the DeltaWing, with its reflective chrome and red color scheme and unorthodox look from nose-to-tail, draws plenty of attention.
“It’s been awesome,” said Katherine Legge, who will share the No. 0 DeltaWing this weekend with her fellow Briton, Andy Meyrick, in Saturday. “They’ve all been super excited and we’re excited to be here. We’re obviously grateful to Seize sur Vingt. It’s very cool.
“Everybody has been super friendly. That surprised me. In a big city like New York, I didn’t think people would be as friendly as they have been. I’ve been very overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness and interest. It’s been good.”
Chris Dyson, co-driver of the No. 16 Mazda/Thetford/Norcold Mazda-Lola with Guy Smith for Dyson Racing; No. 91 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R driver Marc Goossens, who shares his ride with Dominik Farnbacher; and Kuno Wittmer, who shares the No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R with Jonathan Bomarito, joined Legge among ALMS drivers who turned up for the occasion.
“You don’t always get opportunities to do beautiful events in beautiful stores like Seize sur Vingt and meet great people,” Wittmer said. “To be a part of the American Le Mans Series with the SRT Viper program and all that, it’s a lot of fun.
“You see all sorts of really nice people walking in and they walk up to you and ask you about the racing series and the car. You can tell they’re really die-hard fans deep down. It just proves that, coming to Lime Rock Park, it attracts a lot of people from New York City, Connecticut and around the Northeast.”
One of those people was GRAND-AM driver Eric Curran, who hails from Holyoke, Mass. Curran was in attendance along with his No. 31 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette to promote the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season finale, which will be held at Lime Rock Park on Saturday, September 28.
Prominently featured on the street out front and inside the boutique was the new Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series, which makes its North American debut this weekend at Lime Rock. One of the series’ breathtaking new Lamborghini Gallardo racecars was parked directly behind the DeltaWing on the street, and drivers Richard Antinucci and Kevin Conway were among the attendees.
Also milling about the standing-room-only crowd inside Seize sur Vingt were Lime Rock Park owner Skip Barber and ALMS founder, DeltaWing managing partner and Vice Chairman of United SportsCar Racing, Dr. Don Panoz.
And speaking of the new-for-2014 series — which will feature machinery from both ALMS and GRAND-AM – the significance of having representatives from both series was not lost on Curran.
“This is cool that it’s kind of the beginning of United SportsCar Racing coming together,” he said. “In the past, as a GRAND-AM driver, I wouldn’t be at an American Le Mans event, so this is the beginning of a new thing. It’s awesome that we get to bring our No. 31 Whelen/Team Fox Corvette out here and put it on display, mix it up with some of the American Le Mans cars and help with the promotion of Lime Rock Park.
“It’s just exciting. It’s fun to see GRAND-AM and American Le Mans really coming together. You see the beginning of the merger. For me, I’m just excited to be a part of it, part of GRAND-AM and part of the future here.”
The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix will be televised live on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 6 and begins a series of three ALMS races broadcast live – with the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport airing live on ESPN2 on July 21 and the Orion Energy Systems 245 from Road America on ABC, August 11.