Race fans in Virginia should consider themselves quite lucky. The variety and class of racing events that come through are a true showcase of motorsports. NASCAR brings the CUP show to Richmond and Martinsville and sanctions weekly events at short tracks all over the state. However, for natural beauty mixed with speed and diversity, we have Virginia International Raceway.
Dominion in Northern VA does boast a road course but it is smaller and a bit confined. Another facility is over the northern state line. Summit Point in West Virginia, between Winchester and Charles Town, is also a really nice driving track with a lot to offer.
Virginia International Raceway is, as described by legends such as Carroll Shelby, Paul Newman and certain British TV car show personalities, a beautiful jewel of automotive paradise. Since the resurrection and rebirth of the track from the original to the current, VIR has managed to place its name into big series race schedules. Grand-Am, Moto-America, F3/F4, GT World Challenge are all taking up slots. Vintage shows and state of the art exotic racing make their way into the paddock and onto the track. The top tier may be the IMSA WeatherTech Series. They have been a part of the VIR schedule for quite a while with American Le Mans and the transition to IMSA as it is now.
The 2023 schedule is out and VIR is, again, on for August. The event for 2022 gave us variety of cars and racing with good, sunny weather to run it in. The support series of Lamborghini Trofeo and Mazda MX5 put great competition numbers on the track. The LMP3 Prototype Challenge showcased speed and big power challenges on the twisty, paved hillside. The Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix – Michelin Pilot Challenge highlighted Saturday with the Michelin GT WeatherTech Sports Car Championship on track to close out Sunday and the weekend.
We are fortunate to have a place like VIR to bring this type of showcase racing to Virginia. It was almost lost. It is the dedication and work of the current owners and all who have been on the team from the relaunch to the present that have made it possible. The track sat practically forgotten except for a handful of “trespassers” doing hot lap joy rides during the off years. The history is deep and the story of it coming back to such prominence is inspiring. It is a proud place to visit.
*Now… If something could be done about the Pagoda Grill… Sorry… But it needs to be said. It is the flat tire slowing everything else down… This is not to be confused with the Oak Tree Tavern which is in a beautiful, historic structure and offers a tasty, delightful menu with nice scenery. This is the Pagoda, right on the paddock. Expect long lines and less than fantastic food for prices that should boast much better results. Get some food trucks. Expand the offerings. Bring it up to speed to match the reputation of the rest of the facility… Please.
Back to the track and racing. That’s why we’re there. Food isn’t everything… Right…?
Photos of much of the action are linked up below also showing the top three finishers of the events 2022 events at Virginia International Raceway:
Michelin GT Challenge at VIR – IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship – PHOTO GALLERY
Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix – IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge – PHOTO GALLERY
IMSA Prototype Challenge – VIR LMP3 – PHOTO GALLERY
IMSA Lamborghini Trofeo – VIR Lamborghini America – PHOTO GALLERY
IMSA Mazda MX5 – VIR Mazda – PHOTO GALLERY