The past Labor Day weekend at Lime Rock Park nestled in the scenic Northwest corner of Connecticut played host to The Rolex Vintage Festival Presented by BMW with Featured Marque, Bugatti. This event title was a bit of brand name overkill but after seeing the entire venue, I realized that it was quite an understatement. To get my point across I will drop a few more big names and highlights to describe the event:
  • BMW powered McLaren F1 GTR
  • 30% of all imported North American BMW M1 cars
  • 1001hp Bugatti Veyron 16/4 supercar
  • E60 5 Series
  • 1999 Sebring winning BMW/Williams V12 LMR car
  • BMW M1 Art Car painted by Andy Warhol
  • Bimmerfest East late model BMW & MINI car show
  • 2004 Rolls-Royce Phantom
  • "The BMW Turbo" Concept Car of 1972 (one of two in existence)
Just in case this wasn't enough, The Elite Concours had approximately 20 Formula One Grand Prix cars, ranging from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa-Romeo, Jaguar and MG to the harder to find makes such as Siata, Allard, Bugatti, Aston Martin, Delahaye, Delage, Citroen and DeTomaso. BMW also had a major presence, marking the 25th anniversary of the legendary M1 with more than 20 privately owned road-going versions and the 1981 IMSA GTO Champion Red Lobster M1, along with several other Procar Series M1s in attendance. Also celebrated was the 20th anniversary of BMW's 1983 Formula One World Championship. Nelson Piquet's Brabham BMW powered BT-52 producing 1,200 horsepower was the first turbo powered car to win the F1 World Championship, and was flown over from the BMW museum in Munich for The Rolex Vintage Festival. Bimmerfest East occupied the Outfield area, adding approximately 200 late model BMWs and MINIs to the gathering of magnificent automobiles. Click here for our coverage of Bimmerfest East event. Rolex Watch USA created a "Moments in Time" motor sports exhibit which took a stroll down memory lane with famous cars throughout the history of motor sports and the role they played to a particular era. The exhibit was supplemented by a video presentation of the cars in action. It was quite a treat. The cars included in the exhibit were the 1983 Brabham BT-52 mentioned above, the 1971 Tyrrell-Ford F-1 car driven by Jackie Stewart to his second Formula One championship, the 1952 Cunningham C4R driven by John Fitch and Phil Walters to victory in the 12 hours of Sebring and the 1933 Bugatti T-51A winner at Avus driven by Pierre Veyron. The racing portion of the Rolex Vintage Festival consisted of more than 200 authentic vintage race cars and nine race groups spanning six decades from the mid-1920s Bugatti's to Trans-Am and GT cars from the early 1970s. The action continued even during the lunch hour as historic Formula One cars, BMW prototypes and M1s ran demonstration laps. The Rolex Vintage Festival also paid tribute to a Lime Rock Park icon, John Fitch. Fitch had a distinguished career in sports car racing, winning Sebring in 1953 as well as helping to design Lime Rick's 1.53-mile layout, and serving as the track's director from 1955 to 1964. Fitch was also the first American driver to live and race in Europe after World War II, the first to drive for a European factory team, and the first, last and only American to drive for the Mercedes-Benz factory team. During the 1955 season with Mercedes-Benz, Fitch was part of perhaps the most impressive race team ever assembled, a team that included the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss. Also joining John Fitch, fans had an opportunity to get autographs from first American Formula One World Champion Phil Hill, sports car racing legend Hans Stuck and BMW Team PTG driver Bill Auberlen just to name a few. The Rolex Vintage Festival Presented by BMW was an event of spectacular proportions where racing heroes, legendary cars and great manufacturers of yesteryear shared the limelight with some of today's newest cutting edge creations. Although the sensory overload only lasted for one weekend, there is always next year's event. Do yourself a big favor and mark that on your calendar. Visit for concours and race results.

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