In the precipitous postwar rise of participant sports, few have come along faster, in every sense of the word, than sports car racing. Only 10 years ago a race was likely to be as impromptu as a pickup softball game. This year there will be 250 racing events, recognized and approved by amateur racing clubs. The biggest of these, the Sports Car Club of America, has 12,000 members, more than 2,000 of them licensed racing drivers. In 1952 there were only half a dozen road racing courses in the entire country. Today there are ten times as many and more coming.
Among the loveliest of all these courses is Connecticut's Lime Rock, which next week, in its finest fall foliage, graces our cover; and John Fitch, who writes of sports cars as effectively as he races them, describes how Lime Rock, a sporting proposition if there ever was one, has provided valuable lessons in highway safety, as well as high racing drama.
Although the participant activities of our editorial contributors are well known—including Roger Bannister's in track, Charles Goren's in bridge, Carleton Mitchell's in sailing and Bill Talbert's in tennis—sports participation extends of course to non writing staff members. Among them is our Associate Advertising Director for Europe, John Norwood.
A familiar figure behind the wheel at Lime Rock, as well as at many other courses, Norwood took up racing seven years ago. A veteran of all the major road races in the East, Norwood last November became captain for Distributor Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr.'s five-car Fiat-Abarth team. Entering 11 national championships since then, Norwood's team has finished one-two-three in its class in every race.
Logically enough, Norwood's pleasure at times mixes with his business. As he calls on key figures in the world of imported cars both here and abroad, Norwood frequently is called upon by them—for advice on such specialized subjects as proposed layouts for race courses, desirable characteristics in racing tires and the tactics for setting a world record in a new car. Not the least of his victories has been that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED carries advertising for more imported cars than any other magazine.
His racing accomplishments have not managed, John just told me, to put his picture in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, although on one or two promising occasions he has retreated quietly to a corner to look for it, rather hopefully. If he had found it, it might have looked like what you see here.