6 Questions for Walter Irvine of Lime Rock Park
Photo: A 12 year old Walter Irvine in his dream car.
Photo: A slightly older Walter Irvine now owns his dream car.
If Land Rover made an airplane would you fly in it?
Fly, no. I would occasionally taxi, slowly, within sight of the hangar.
Tell us about yourself, your background, and what you do at Lime Rock.
My life began October 26, 1979 when I got my driver’s license in Warren, New Jersey. Lime Rock Park was the second place I drove to. Three months later Lime Rock was the first road course I raced on. Eleven years later (after formula car training and competing in the Jim Russell Championship at Mont Tremblant in Quebec) I began instructing for the Skip Barber Racing School, at the time headquartered at LRP. We instructed and raced at 30+ tracks around North America but Lime Rock was always the darling. Then three years ago this August 1st, I quit the school after 24 years and began to work directly for Skip Barber- the father of the racing school and the owner of Lime Rock Park today. Officially as Director of Business and Sales. Unofficially I help to keep Lime Rock Park strong and relevant going in to its next half century of racing and motorsports.
You are quite a car guy, and apparently the former owner of a fabulous Land Rover Freelander. Tell us more about your collection.
Definitely Anglo-centric and mostly 2 seat sports cars but I did successfully dabble in some performance-phobic wallet drainers, mostly “storied marques” 70’s and early 80’s vintage. The Freeloader was the moped of the cars I’d owned. Very entertaining, incredibly capable and nicely purpose built. Unfortunately I would have preferred clicking on The Kardashians before telling my colleagues I bought one. It did everything immensely well except go more than 50k miles. Some “friends” put Ford Escape badges on it before I made my first payment.
What was your favorite memory from last year’s Muddy Chef Challenge?
Learning off-road driving from a then-random Muddy Chef participant (Scott Brewitt) who invited me to right seat one of the afternoons. A driver who understands and exacts the best things out of a Rover is no different than a racing driver doing the same in a race car. They are both enthusiasts- one no better than the other. It was a pleasure to have met and participated (as a passenger) with this gentleman, who was genuinely happy to share his expertise.
The free Harpoon beer was also an event highlight.
Which three people (living or dead) would you like to attend the Muddy Chef with and why?
Scott Brewitt, who I just mentioned above. In hopes that he would let me do some driving <insert canned laughter>.
Annette, (Editors note: Ms. Annette is so strikingly beautiful we dare not publish a photo) who is my world, and a 2015 JEEP Wrangler ™ owner.
Steve McQueen. I always wanted to ask him why the double-clutch upshifting in “Bullitt”. Seriously, it may sound cool but it just wear and tear. Come on Steve..
Super tramp or Styx. Why?
That CD was jammed in my first Range Rover Classic (’88). I put 131,000 miles on that truck and non-consensually listened to “Don’t Look Back” more times than Eric Yohe has consensually fawned over his Debbie Gibson collection.
Editors Note: Like Debbie Gibson is a bad thing? Yummy.