Virginia International Raceway (commonly known as "VIR") is a race track located in Alton, Virginia, near Danville. It is less than a half-mile from the North Carolina/Virginia border just outside Milton, North Carolina, on the banks of the Dan River. VIR hosts amateur and professional automobile and motorcycle events, driving schools, club days, and private test rentals.

Track description

VIR offers five track configurations, of which two can be run simultaneously. The "Full Course" is 3.270 mi (5.263 km) in length while the "Patriot Course" stretches for 1.100 mi (1.770 km) entirely inside the Full Course. The "North Course" is 2.250 mi (3.621 km) long and the "South Course" covers a distance of 1.650 mi (2.655 km). Both consist of a portion of the "Full Course" and short connecting sections that connect to portions of the "Patriot Course" to produce the two courses that can run simultaneously. There is a second pit complex that is used only when running the "South Course". The longest configuration, "Grand East Course", is 4.200 mi (6.759 km) long, and combines most of the "Full Course" and most of the "Patriot Course" by means of two of the short sections of connecting track used to make the "South Course" and "North Course". There is also another, seldom run, long configuration called the "Grand West Course" that uses the other two short connecting sections between the "Full Course" and the "Patriot Course." Car and Driver magazine has an annual test of fast cars called "The Lightning Lap" using the "Grand West Course".[1] Since the Patriot course is contained completely inside the Full Course, they can be run simultaneously.

The "Full Course" is the most common configuration. One of the most notable sections of the course, second only to "Oak Tree" (T11), are the "Climbing Esses" which consist of an initial left up-hill (T7), followed by a right which crests at the apex then dropping slightly into a left (T8) which again crests at the apex dropping slightly, and then up into a final left (T9). The complexity and difficulty of this section is multiplied by the incredible entry speed because of a straight section leading into the Climbing Esses. This is followed by a cresting blind left hand turn (T10), "South Bend", that finishes in a steep downward slope. Another signature section is the "Roller Coaster" (T14) which is a scaled-down mirror image to the famed "Corkscrew" at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

There are two main straights on the track. The front straight is approximately 3,000 ft (910 m) long while the back straight is approximately 4,000 ft (1,200 m) long. While the back straight is 33% longer, the front straight is where higher speeds are reached since "Hog Pen" (T17) leads onto it and is a much faster corner than "Oak Tree" (T11), which leads onto the longer back straight. There is 130 ft (40 m) of elevation change throughout the course.

Some of the raceway's other named curves include "Oak Tree", "Horse Shoe", "NASCAR Bend" (because NASCAR drivers Richard Petty, David Pearson and Wendell Scott had difficulties there during a 1966 Trans Am race), "Snake", "Spiral", "Fish Hook", and "The Bitch".

Other configurations

Lap Records

The official race lap records at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Date
Full Grand Prix Road Course: 5.262 km (1957–1974, 2000–present)[2]
LMP1 1:36.112[3][4] Lucas Luhr HPD ARX-03a 2012 American Le Mans Series VIR 240
LMP2 1:39.393[3][4] Martin Plowman Morgan LMP2 2012 American Le Mans Series VIR 240
LMP900 1:39.618[5] Didier Theys Dallara SP1 2002 VIR 500
LM GTE 1:40.638[6] Earl Bamber Porsche 911 RSR-19 2019 Michelin GT Challenge at VIR
LMP3 1:40.735[7] Garett Grist Ligier JS P320 2021 Virginia IMSA Prototype Challenge round
LMPC 1:41.608[8][9] Colin Braun Oreca FLM09 2014 Oak Tree Grand Prix
DP 1:42.878[10] Max Angelelli Dallara DP01 2009 Bosch Engineering 250 at VIR
FR Americas 1:44.015[11] Mathias Soler-Obel Ligier JS F3 2019 Virginia F3 Americas round
GT3 1:44.150[12] Loris Spinelli Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 2022 Virginia GT World Challenge America round
LMP675 1:45.289[5] Terry Borcheller Lola B2K/40 2002 VIR 500
TA1 1:45.291[13] Chris Dyson Ford Mustang 2021 VIR Trans-Am round
Star Mazda 1:46.998[14] Adam Christodoulou Star Formula Mazda 'Pro' 2009 Virginia Star Mazda round
US F2000 1:50.298[15] Spencer Pigot Van Diemen DP08 2012 Virginia USF2000 round
TA2 1:51.178[16] Rafa Matos Ford Mustang 2021 VIR Trans-Am round
SRO GT2 1:51.706[17] C.J. Moses Audi R8 LMS GT2 2022 Virginia GT America round
GT4 1:52.740[18] Ross Gunn Aston Martin AMR Vantage GT4 2019 Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix
Formula 4 1:53.073[19] Christian Rasmussen Crawford F4-16 2018 Virginia F4 United States round
TCR Touring Car 1:54.604[20] Michael James Lewis Hyundai i30 N TCR 2018 Grand Prix of Virginia presented by Audi Sport
USF Juniors 1:56.598[21] Nikita Johnson Ligier JS F4 2022 Cooper Tires VIR Grand Prix
Group 7 2:08.400[22] Bob Nagel McKee Mk.7 1968 SCCA National Championship Races
Group 3 2:14.400[23] Ed Lowther[a]
Bob Grossman[a]
Shelby Cobra 427[a] 1967 SCCA Northeast Division National Championship Sports Car Races

Celebrities at VIR

Several celebrities have visited VIR. In 2010, part of a special episode of the British television show Top Gear was filmed at the raceway and aired later that year as a part of season 16.

Country music superstar Reba McEntire visited the raceway in 2012 when her son took part in the race.[24]

In early October 2013 actor Patrick Dempsey, a star of Grey's Anatomy, and former athlete and reality-TV star Caitlyn Jenner raced at the track.[25]

History

Pit road during 2008 Grand-Am race

The track originally opened August 3, 1957, and was created by a group of men using a bulldozer. The track had been closed from 1974 prior to its reopening in March 2000.[26] The track was reopened in 2000 by New Yorker Harvey Siegel and Connie Nyholm using a "country club" model. Memberships to the track are sold. Each member of the VIR Club receives track time on member days, tickets to all spectator events, and other benefits. VIR's membership model has since been followed by other racetracks across the United States.

There have been at least four deaths in track history, with three fatalities coming since the reopening of the facility. The most recent death was that of 14-year-old Toriano Wilson in a US Rookie Cup motorcycle race in August 2008.[27]

The track hosted the SCCA National Sports Car Championship from its opening in 1957 until the series' demise in 1964. The IMSA GT Championship visited VIR in 1971 and 1972. After its re-opening, the AMA Superbike Championship held races at VIR from 2001 until 2010 on the North Course. The Rolex Sports Car Series utilized the Full Course from 2002 through 2011. The American Le Mans Series used the Full Course configuration for its inaugural event at VIR in September 2012 where a new track record was set by Klaus Graf driving the Muscle Milk LMP1 car.[28]

Driving a Maserati 450S, Carroll Shelby won the feature race on the track’s inaugural weekend in August 1957. The list of other well-known drivers who raced at VIR during its first incarnation includes Briggs Cunningham, [Walt Hansgen], Roger Penske, Mark Donohue, Richard Petty, Bob Holbert, Augie Pabst, Curtis Turner, Dick Thompson, Peter Revson, Wendell Scott, Bob Tullius, Janet Guthrie, Skip Barber, Ricky Rudd, Gene Felton, Denise McCluggage, Hurley Haywood, Brock Yates, Don Yenko, Lance Reventlow, Dan Gurney and Parnelli Jones.[29]

The track hosts many events throughout the year, including the annual Gold Cup Historic Race as well as AMA races, ChampCar Endurance Series, SCCA, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR test days, and local car club events. Various driving training classes are available on the paved and unpaved (off-road) courses. The site also hosts a go kart track.

Since 2014, VIR has hosted a GT only race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Testing

The track is frequently used for test sessions by NASCAR teams. The teams use the road course to test their road course cars for the Watkins Glen International and Sonoma Raceway races. Since the track is not currently active on the principal NASCAR circuit (Trucks, Xfinity and Cup), a practice session is not charged against their allotment.

The track is also used by various manufacturers in testing of new or updated vehicles.

Video games and simulators

All six configurations are featured in race simulators Automobilista and rFactor 2 (Studio 397) by Reiza Studios and iRacing. All for PC.

VIR is featured in Forza Motorsport 6 as part of the Porsche Expansion Pack released on March 1, 2016. The track is featured with all six of its layouts, as well as daytime, nighttime, dry, and wet conditions. It is also featured in Forza Motorsport 7, released in October 2017.

VIR's North Course is featured in the video games Supercar Challenge and Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli.

All layouts of VIR were scratch built as a mod for Kunos Simulazioni's racing simulation Assetto Corsa.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Both drivers took the same lap time independently.

References

  1. ^ "Lightning Lap 2015: The Year's Hottest Performance Cars Attack VIR!". Car and Driver. October 2015.
  2. ^ "Virginia". Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Virginia 4 Hours 2012". Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b "2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón VIR 240 Official Race Results" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Virginia 500 Miles 2002". Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  6. ^ "2019 Michelin GT Challenge at VIR Race Official Results (2 Hours 40 Minutes)" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  7. ^ "2021 Michelin GT Challenge at VIR IMSA Prototype Challenge Race Official Results (3 Hours)" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  8. ^ "United SportsCar Championship Virginia - Prototype Challenge 2014". Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  9. ^ "2014 Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR Official Race Results" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  10. ^ "2009 Virginia Grand-Am". Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  11. ^ "2019 F3 Americas VIRginia International Raceway - Round 10 Official Race Result" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  12. ^ "2022 ViRginia International Raceway FANATEC GT World Challenge America powered by aws Race 1 - Classification - Final" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  13. ^ "VIR Results - TA XGT SGT GT Race Official Results" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  14. ^ "2009 Star Mazda Championship Virginia Statistics". Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  15. ^ "2012 USF2000 National Championship Virginia Race 1 Statistics". Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  16. ^ "TA2 Race Provisional Results" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  17. ^ "2022 ViRginia International Raceway GT America Race 1 - Classification - Final" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  18. ^ "2019 Michelin Pilot Challenge Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix Race Official Results (2 Hours)" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  19. ^ "2018 F4 United States VIRginia International Raceway - Round 3 Official Race Result" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  20. ^ "Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car 2018 » Virginia International Raceway Round 4 Results". Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  21. ^ "2022 Virginia USF Juniors Race 3 Statistics". Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  22. ^ "SCCA National Virginia - Classes: ASR+BSR+CSR 1968". Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  23. ^ "SCCA National Virginia - Classes: AP+BP 1967". Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  24. ^ "Blackstock, Buford Join Roush Performance for 2012". Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  25. ^ Rosenbaum, Heather (4 October 2013). "Patrick Dempsey and Bruce Jenner Race at VIR". Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  26. ^ England, Nick. "The Story of VIR". VIR History Pages. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  27. ^ Wolf, Jason (19 August 2008). "VIR crash claims teenager". Danville Register-Bee. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2008.
  28. ^ "ALMS adds VIR to 2012 event schedule". American Le Mans Series. Archived from the original on 20 January 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  29. ^ Holaday, Chris, England, Nick & Allen, Phil (2003). Virginia International Raceway. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia. ISBN 978-0738515168

External links