National racing attention is on the doorstep of Virginia. NASCAR and IMSA are this month (August).
NASCAR is first and just a week away at Richmond Raceway. The “regular season” of NASCAR Cup racing is getting into “last chance” time. Four races remain, including today at Michigan.
For Virginia fans, Richmond is next. The Federated Auto Parts 400 weekend also hosts the Camping World Trucks, which is already into their “playoff” season. The Worldwide Express 250 for Carrier Appreciation is the second race of the Trucks championship run. It is a Saturday and Sunday of action on track with start times set in the afternoon.
Race week at Richmond includes the chance to drive on track for charity benefiting Special Olympics of Virginia. The Pixar movie “CARS” will be shown, a concerts are set with Cody Christian Duo, Cody Johnson and more. Local music, Kids Zones, autograph sessions and midway plaza shows are also filling out fan activities around the track.
Racing will be tight at Richmond. There are some hot drivers still chasing a win to make the Cup playoffs. For the Trucks, the championship is already on the line with this race forward.
A few weeks later another big series comes to race in Virginia. The IMSA-WeatherTech series will take over Southside at Virginia International Raceway. The showcase Michelin Gt Challenge shares the weekend with the Michelin Pilot Challenge, Prototype Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Mazda MX-5 Cup. It is a full schedule of sports car racing!
The weekend also hosts Car Corrals for fans’ parking, a driver-fan discussion forum, music with American Idol performer, Dan Marshall, race day appearance with Miss Virginia and full display area with activities for kids.
Active Military are in for free and Veterans receive 50% off tickets (Government issued ID at gate).
These big series are always a show. However, let’s not forget the weekly racing all over Virginia also putting on great racing and family entertainment. The variety of racing in Virginia is what makes it great for racing Lovers!
We’re stepping quickly into July. Virginia has been hosting big events like SRX at South Boston in June and NHRA at Virginia Motorsports Park in May. The first two legs of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown roll in July, one already at South Boston and the second coming to Langley.
For August, Richmond hosts NASCAR Cup and Virginia International Raceway hosts IMSA WeatherTech. VIR has been busy with events like HyperFest and a good prelude to IMSA, the FANATEC GT World Challenge. Richmond Raceway is busy with non-racing community and culture events. However, when racing is on the calendar, Richmond is all in with the business of speed.
For NASCAR and IMSA, the racing this season has been wide open. The “new” NASCAR Cup car is making itself known to the teams, drivers and fans. The variety and speed of IMSA continues to draw and the racing has been challenging across the divisions.
As we approach August and Virginia racing, it seems the number 9 may be coming in fast…
Race winners are shown across the board for manufacturers with 13 winners and, among those, 5 are repeat winners, including Chase Elliott in the Hendrick #9 Chevrolet. Elliott currently has a points lead and Hendrick Motorsports as a team has logged wins with all four drivers (Elliott, Byron, Larson, Bowman).
For IMSA, the #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R has been making big waves in the GTD Pro class. Drivers Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell have multiple wins and the plaid Porsche team are keeping the pressure on.
There is plenty of racing before August 13-14 and NASCAR Cup at Richmond Raceway and August 26-28 and IMSA/WeatherTech at Virginia International Raceway. It will be interesting to follow those Number 9 cars and drivers on their way here.
There are days at race tracks that add up in a variety of ways. It is a bit rare, however, for a mid-June weekend to be practically a paved post card. Blue skies and pleasant temperatures that stayed in the “not going to kill you” range. Throw in the naturally scenic views of Virginia International Raceway and some sexy fast and exotic racing variety and you have an epic showcase of speed.
FANATEC GT World Challenge America (powered by AWS) weekend is one of the showcase spectator events at VIR and offers fans a very generous show. The weather was a gift and the track was full and active. It was also a perfect start to the Southern Virginia Motorsports Council three-way ticket of VIR, Virginia Motorsports Park and South Boston Speedway.
The weekend was very much an automotive showcase with international flavor. It’s as much a rolling car show as it is a racing event. The visual of seeing these cars being taken to the edge of their performance with speed and handling can be majestic. Your mind sees what a layman’s concept of physics implies shouldn’t be possible. The color and sheer badge variety is a stunning display for fans of cars and driving.
The weekend brought several series to the track. GT World Challenge, GT and TC, GT4 and an open wheel show with Skip Barber Racing. Multiple classes within the series gave fans a full course of action for each event. Friday had practice sessions. Saturday ran qualifying and round one of weekend races. Sunday ran the second race sessions for all classes. Racing at VIR put rounds 5 and 6 on the books for the 13 round series schedule.
For many fans the results are secondary to seeing these cars being driven at speed. Lamborghini and Ferrari are expected to be fast but are rarely seen on common roads so they, and others, draw attention. However, seeing more common cars such as Honda, Nissan and Hyundai keeping pace with BMW and Porsche is also just as fun and makes racing more identifiable for many fans driving these common badges every day.
SRO/GTWC is racing at premiere road tracks around the Country. Sonoma, Sebring and Road America are on the schedule. Watkins Glen comes up next month. VIR still has IMSA/WeatherTech, SCCA and SVRA events on the calendar so Virginia fans still have plenty of sports car action to look forward to.
Photo Gallery and Results for SRO / GT World Challenge – Saturday. June 18, 2022
GT America – (Race 1)
SRO3 - 1st - George Kurtz - Crowdstrike Racing - #4 Mercedes AMG GT3
SRO3 - 2nd - Jeff Burton - Zelus Motorsports - #191 Lamborghini Huracan GT3
SRO3 - 3rd - Jason Harward - Zelus Motorsports - #88 Lamborghini Huracan GT3
GT2 - 1st - CJ Moses - GMG Racing - #58 Audi R8 LMS GT2
GT4 - 1st - Adam Adelson - Premier Racing - #120 Porsche Cayman GT4 RS
GT4 - 2nd - Moisey Uretsky - Accelerating Performance - #55 Aston Martin Vantage GT4
GT4 - 3rd - Jason Bell - GMG Racing - #2 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4
TC America – (Race 1)
TCX - 1st - Colin Garrett - Rooster Hall racing - #44 BMW M2 CS (Cup)
TCX - 2nd - Stephen Cugliari - Accelerating Performance - #57 BMW M2 CS (Cup)
TCX - 3rd - Lucas Catania - Rigid Speed - #26 BMW M2 CS (Cup)
TC - 1st - Kevin Boehm - Skip Barber Racing - #9 Honda Civic Type-R
TC - 2nd - Jeff Ricca - Genracer / Ricca Autosport - #78 Hyundai Veloster
TC - 3rd - Clay Williams - MINI JCW Team - #60 Mini JCW Pro TC
TCA - 1st - Gresham Wagner - TechSport Racing- #21 Subaru BRZ
TCA - 2nd - Devin Anderson - TechSport Racing- #22 Subaru BRZ
TCA - 3rd - Carter Fartuch - Skip Barber Racing - #16 Honda Civic Si
GT World Challenge America – (Race 1)
Pro - 1st - Michele Beretta / Andrea Caldarelli - K-Pax Racing
#1 Lamborghini Huracan GT3
Pro - 2nd - Michael Dinan / Robby Foley - Turner Motorsport
#96 BMW M4 GT3
Pro - 3rd - Misha Goikhberg, Jordan Pepper - K-PAX Racing
#3 Lamborghini Huracan GT3
Pro/Am - 1st - Justin Wetherill / Ryan Dalziel - Triarsi Competizione
#13 Ferrari 488 GT3
Pro/Am - 2nd - Charlie Luck / Jan Heylen - Wright Motorsports
#45 Porsche 911 GT3-R
Pro/Am - 3rd - David Askew / Dirk Muller - DXDT Racing
#63 Mercedes-AMG GT3
Pirelli GT4 America – (Race 1)
Silver - 1st - Eric Filgueiras / Stevan McAleer – RS1
#18 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
Silver - 2nd - Gavin Sanders / Michai Stephens - Conquest Racing/JMF Motorsports
#34 Mercedes-AMG GT4
Silver - 3rd - Kris Wilson / Cole Ciraulo - Capstone Motorsports
#32 Mercedes-AMG GT4
Pro/Am - 1st - Tom Capizzi / John Capestro-Dubets - Auto Technic Racing
#52 BMW M4 GT4
Pro/Am - 2nd - Edgar Lau / Mike Skeen - ARG/Rotek Racing
#124 Ford Mustang GT4
Pro/Am - 3rd - Adam Adelson / Elliott Skeer - Premier Racing
#120 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
Am - 1st - Charlie Postins / James Clay – BimmerWorld
#36 BMW M4 GT4
Am - 2nd - Alain Stad / Seth Thomas – NOLASPORT
#19 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
Am - 3rd - Nelson Calle / Juan Martinez – RS1
#83 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
It was a bit of a wait from August. As it happens, Virginia International Raceway in October is actually quite fantastic. It may have been a “one off” as the 2022 schedule has the date for VIR and the IMSA weekend back in the throws of August. For 2021, the date was moved to October as Le Mans (yeah, the French one) was moved and conflicted with some IMSA drivers to drive. To accommodate IMSA involvement with Le mans, the VIR date was shifted.
For next year (2022) the date is back to August. For this one, October brought cooler temperatures across the weekend. Rain, always a possibility, brought a threat and did fall on some practices and qualifying late Friday and early Saturday but did pull back for the racing.
The IMSA WeatherTech Micheln GT put a bit of a boxing match on for GTLM. The Corvettes and the WeatherTech Porsche threw bumpers and fenders at each other as the #79 Porsche pushed to the front. Kevin Estre in the Porsche could not sustain the lead against the recharge of Nick Tandy in the #4 Corvette. The Porsche later lost traction and skidded off to finish behind the Corvettes. The GTD class started with what looked like a run away for the Turner BMW #96. In the closing laps, the #3 GTLM Corvette went a bit loose when getting past the Turner BMW which bumped the #96 off allowing the #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche to get on the GTD lead and take the win in the class.
Sunday could have been “Stevan McAleer Day” as he ran in the Prototype Challenge and the Michelin Pilot Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix. McAleer went wide at “Oak Tree” on the final lap in the #43 Robillard Racing Duqueine D08 which opened the path for Rasmus Lindh in the #6 Motel 6 Ligier JS P320. Some side by side down the back straight put McAleer off at and out at turn 14 while Lindh went on for the #6 win. In the Michelin Pilot race, McAleer was in the #23 Notlad Racing / RS1 Aston Martin and racing out front but Jan Heylen managed to get the #16 Wright Motorsports Porsche around him for the lead and win.
We’re less than one month away from WeatherTech/IMSA at Virginia International Raceway. The original schedule for the race in August was shuffled to allow drivers and teams to participate at LeMans for the big 24 hour race. So… With October just on the horizon, it would be good to get up to speed on who is running and who is winning. The Daytona Prototypes and LeMans Prototype 2 will not run at VIR, leaving the GT LeMans and GT Daytona classes to race without having to keep eyes out for the larger cars.
However, with racing still to go, it should be noted the top 3 teams in DPi are all within one race in points to be on top. The top 3 in LMP2 are racing practically the same. One race can easily blow the points up and change the game for any of these teams. We won’t see these at VIR but it’s good to catch up.
For GTLM, it’s pretty much a race of Porsche against the Corvettes. The WeatherTech Porsche team got a much needed win at Road America. It was their 2nd win of the season but the Corvettes grabbed it again at Laguna Seca. The Corvettes have notched 5 wins so far.
The GTD class has more diversity but the the top 4 are also running close and within 100 points. The Turner BMW team is currently leading but the PFAFF Porsche team grabbed 2 recent wins and is moving up with Heart of Racing / Aston Martin team has recently fallen back to 3rd overall. Paul Miller Racing and their Lambo is still in the hunt at 4th in points.
The Michelin Pilot Challenge classes of Grand Sport and Touring combine a much larger field of manufacturers and teams. The Turner BMWs are out in front of the GS group with the Winward AMG and Wright Porsche following and within points. The Touring class has the Hyundai / Bryan Herta Autosport #77 on top with another Herta Hyundai chasing up. The KMW/TMR Alpha Romeo team and the Atlanta Speedwerks Honda are chasing up.
VIR will also host the Prototype Challenge featuring the LeMans P3 classes. Muehlner Motorsports #21 is leading the field with #54 MLT Motorsports on the bumper 10 points behind. Conquest Racing #61 is leading in the P3-2 class.
Porsche Carrera Cup North America will also be running events at Virginia International Raceway. All the drivers will be competing in identical spec 911 GT3 Cup Cars so the track will be putting driver skill on the line.
October 8-10 offers up a full weekend of racing and sportsmanship with variety and speed on the full course at Virginia International Raceway. Check IMSA online and VIR online for schedules and tickets!
Take away two wheels. Add a bit of leather. Throw in a touch of insanity. Keep the speed.
What you have now is Moto America motorcycle racing. One of their weekend rounds made its way around the turns of Virginia International Raceway. It’s mid May and Virginia is opening up for spectator events. Outdoor events like motor racing are prime examples of open area seating which still allows the opportunity for distancing and masks if going inside. With other Virginia short auto tracks already holding events, this was a first for open fans and the 2021 spectator season at VIR.
Three things to take away from the Moto America weekend. First of all, motorcycle road course racing is a fantastic watch. It is fast and colorful and full of variety. The classes of bikes range from high pitched screamers to rumbling power pushers. Watching these riders throw those bikes into the turns at speed seems to defy the laws of physics. Even if you haven’t ridden a motorcycle, chances are you’ve had something on a string and wound it in a circle. You know that the thing wants to fly off. You see a tiny patch of rubber holding all that force at severe angles and just get sucked into the magic that holds it on the road. These riders throw the weight from turn to turn with only hands and body keeping it in control. Motorcycle racing is on the edge from green to checkers. When that edge gets crossed it’s time to let go and take a tumble. Racing is dangerous and riders do go down. It is amazing to see them walk away from a tumble like this!
For this weekend, they raced the “North Course” which makes a right turn up the hill just after the cross over bridge. This makes a 2-1/4 mile course which the racers covered in less than 90 seconds. This makes an average speed over the distance at greater than 90 mph. The straights and mainlining through the “esses” were much faster! A BIG “Thank You” to Moto America and VIR for having us!
The second is the fan experience at VIR. For viewing a motorsport event, there is a lot to take in at this track. Compared to a traditional race track, for NASCAR or Late Models as an example, there are bleachers or seating around the track. You are pretty much watching from where you sit from start to finish. At VIR, the fans are free to roam most of the course. There are only two sections that have fencing beyond standing height. 90% of the course offers the fans a view without a fence in front of the sight line. For fans with cameras, VIR is a great place for getting photos of the action. You may see vested photographers inside the gates but there are plenty of angles along the fencing for fans to get great photos. (Many of the photos in our gallery were shot on the “fan side” of the fence.)
The paddock area is also open for fans to walk through to see the bikes (or cars) being worked on and see the riders (or drivers) just hanging about. VIR offers access and race action viewing from practically every angle.
And, the third… Virginia International Raceway has been praised by everyone from Carroll Shelby to Paul Newman to the hosts of the original BBC “Top Gear”… It is a beautiful, tree lined bit of racetrack that has everything for racers and fans… Except (and someone has to say it) a proper outlet for basic food. Granted, the Oak Tree Tavern offers a marvelous dining experience, however, it is not located for direct fan access during events. The paddock area dining is severely limited by size, scope and speed for the numbers of fans that can be there. On Saturday, during Moto America, with lines 30 deep they were ready to stop service shortly after 2pm. To be fair, it is our understanding that the Pagoda dining area is farmed out to a third party service and has operating hours to 2pm. They are slow, ill prepared for the volume and a bit pricey for what they offer.
Our advice, for what it’s worth… Get on the phone and find some good reputation food truck services with a variety of flavors and get them parked around the fan areas of the track. Make the fans happy with some food offerings without giant lines so they can watch the races they came to see. Take a percentage or whatever those deals are. Get happy fans and make some money. To quote Jeremy Clarkson of “Top Gear”… “How hard can it be?”
For fans… Virginia International Raceway is a race experience all its own in Virginia. The variety of events and views is like nothing else in the State. Plan ahead, however, and pack some sandwiches, or some pre-cooked hot dogs, or stop and get a pizza to go… Put your beverages in a cooler and enjoy the day of racing without the food lines.
Moto America was a great “Welcome Back” event for fans at VIR. Motorcycle racing is a different animal than racing with a full set of four wheels. It is fast and fun to watch. The season does not currently have any more motorcycle events but schedules change. For now, the next event is GT World Challenge. This event will offer world class sports car racing with exotic race cars from manufacturers such as Porsche, Lamborghini, Mercedes, BMW, McLaren, Aston Martin and more…
Check the full fan schedule HERE and enjoy our gallery from Moto America at VIR!
Mustang, Mazda, Porsche, BMW, Corvette, Acura… Racing on a track with twists, turns, up and down grades…
You might immediately bring to mind the 12 Hours of Sebring… And you would be right. Throw in Cadillac, Lamborghini, Lexus and Aston-Martin with some exotic prototypes and you could fill the IMSA field at Sebring.
However… On the same weekend in March, a paddock full of enthusiast racers gather for club racing at another track a little further north. The track is also on the IMSA schedule but later in the year. (A little later than originally scheduled because of Le Mans… )
Virginia International Raceway, just along the border with North Carolina, is filled with many of the same manufacturers running with IMSA, even if the model years are a little older. The National Auto Sport Association and the March Madness gathering brings club racers of the Mid Atlantic Region to VIR. The drivers are the owners and they take their track time seriously and push the racing they do with the same dedication as the “pros” do. They may have a day job on Monday that is distant from the racing life but the weekends the club gathers are their holidays.
They tune their own cars, trade performance tips and upgrades and take part in course classes to improve their laps. Once the tests and registration and course instruction is done, they line up on the grid and race. There may not be big payouts or national media and sponsorships but the thrill of door to door racing and a shot at the checkered flag and some trophy thrown together from bits in the back of a garage is enough.
This is grass roots love of speed and the cars that bring it. Virginia International Raceway is host to several clubs and similar events throughout their schedule. Practically anyone can come with a car and race. Granted, there are safety items the car must have and the driver must pass some basic racing classes for rules, etiquette and skill to run with other cars but the door is there to drive through.
You might want to have an understanding spouse or a bit of a cushy bank account. Perhaps both. Racing is not the cheapest weekend but it also is not the most expensive. Plus, different clubs have different classes of participation so there is likely a spot for your budget.
The Twelve Hours Of Sebring is pretty big. However, It’s not big enough to keep these NASA club drivers out of their cars when the green flag waves. Some of them may catch the last few hours of Sebring on TV but it’s more likely it will be on in the background as they recall their own day at the wheel with their fellow drivers.
Virginia International Raceway hosts IMSA in October. Between now and then, there is room for the clubs to have lots of laps on the same pavement. Go racing.
Event / Track images gallery. *Note: For official NASA Mid Atlantic photos for purchase, contact Tae Tyson at Flat Out Images or Tony Politi at Politi Pixels. Images below are reference / editorial only.