Table of Contents 2010 Spectator Events .................................................................................................... 4 Who’s Who at the RacePlex Motorsports Industrial Park ............................................. 8 Experience All of VIR ..................................................................................................... 10 Oak Tree Tavern .............................................................................................................. 14 by Mike Floyd The Best That Most of Us Will Ever Get .......................................................................... 16 by Steve Hecox General Information ..................................................................................................... 18 Track Map ....................................................................................................................... 23 Cover photo: The Team Sahlen Grand-Am Rolex GT Corvette, driven by father and son Joe and Wayne Nonnamaker, both of Massillon, OH, takes a pit stop in last year’s Bosch Engineering 250 at VIR. Photo taken by Victor Newman of Victor Newman Photography, Forest, VA.
VIR Racing is published by EVINCE Magazine • 300 Ringgold Industrial Pkwy, Danville, VA 24540 • ©2010 All rights reserved. Reproduction or use in whole or in part in any medium without written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. Publisher • Andrew Scott Brooks Contributing Writers • Steve Hecox, Mike Floyd Editor • Paul Seiple • email@example.com • 877.638.8685 Sales Manager • Larry Oldham • firstname.lastname@example.org • 434.728.3713 Sales Associate • Kim Demont • email@example.com • 434.836.1247 Sales Associate • Misty Cook • firstname.lastname@example.org • 434.728.2905
Aerial photo courtesy of Victor Newman
2010 Spectator Events
Racing in 2010 at VIR offers something for everyone, whether your motorsports taste runs on two wheels or four, from amateur to professional competition. “We’re really looking forward to 2010,” says VIR General Manager Josh Lief. “Since the track reopened in 2000, each year has been successively better and more exciting. We have established great partnerships with all the various groups who race at VIR, and we are continually adding amenities and features to the facility to make it the best motorsports destination in America.”
• MARCH 20-21 • WERA Motorcycle Road Racing
WERA motorcycle road races bring out large crowds of entrants, making their events exciting for competitors and spectators. If their schedules allow, pro racers compete, getting more time on the track for their next event.
• APRIL 16-18 • Sports Car Club of America Oak Tree Double Nationals VIR rolls into April with the Sports Car Club of America’s Oak Tree Double Nationals. Sports car racers from all over the nation converge on VIR’s classic Full Course over the 3.27-mile original layout. One of the biggest events of the year, the Double Nationals attract drivers from across the nation, all trying to earn an invitation to the “Runoffs” – SCCA’s national championship races.
• APRIL 23-25 • Bosch Engineering 250 • Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series VIR hosts the season’s signature sports car race on Saturday, April 24: the Bosch Engineering 250 for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototypes and GT cars. Joining sleek, exotic Prototypes and thundering GT cars of the Rolex Series, SCCA’s Pro Racing Jetta TDI Cup returns to the track that saw this series’ inaugural race, plus the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, the Mustang Challenge and the Skip Barber National Championship open-wheeled excitement makes this the biggest sports car weekend of the season. Always a crowd and
Photo by Victor Newman
Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.
driver favorite, this event has produced some of the most exciting racing and some of the closest ﬁnishes in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
• MAY 8-9 • Sports Car Club of America SARRC/MARRS Challenge With challenges across the Mason-Dixon Line, the SARRC/MARRS Challenge pits the best SCCA Regional racers from North and South against each other and the track in a full schedule of racing both days.
• JUNE 1 • Stock Car Open Test Day
VIR’s now traditional and popular open test day allows fans to watch their favorite stock car drivers and teams practice for road races in California and New York. The sights and sounds of stock cars at VIR must be experienced by all fans of racing.
• JUNE 4-6 • Heacock Classic Gold Cup Historic Races
The Gold Cup brings together some of the most interesting and historic sports cars ever seen. Vintage sports cars compete on the same track that saw many of these very cars competing originally in the 50s, 60s and 70s. If you remember what racing was like, or wish to see what it was like, this is the event to attend. This event continues to grow in popularity, with both drivers and spectators.
• JUNE 19-20 • Virginia Festival of Speed Championship Cup Series Motorcycle Road Racing Motorcycles return in June, with even more
two-wheeled excitement for spectators and competitors. CCS races are a great place to watch handlebar to handlebar, knee-dragging motorcycle racing in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
• JULY 31-AUGUST 1 • World Karting Association/ Woodbridge Kart Club National Go-Kart Races Karting is one of the foundations of racing at VIR. The WKA / Woodbridge Kart Club races feature blazing speed only inches above the track surface. More than one world champion racer got their start in karting so who knows which stars will arise from this weekend?
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2010 Spectator Events • AUGUST 7-8 • WERA Motorcycle Roadracing Cycle Jam
A great combination of current motorcycle racers and historic bikes, racing on separate parts of the track at the same time. The heritage of motorcycle racing weaves throughout the fabric of VIR, making this a great weekend for everyone.
• AUGUST 13-15 • Suzuki AMA Pro Superbike Championship
Pro Superbikes! VIR’s biggest event of the year is spread out over three days of non-stop action. This race showcases the ultimate in motorcycles-- AMA Superbikes racing. With all the pageantry and thrills of the top motorcycle racing in the nation, plus enough off track attractions and action to make it the best weekend of the summer.
Continued from Page 5
• SEPTEMBER 25-26 • Championship Cup Series Motorcycle Road Racing
CCS motorcycle racing’s ﬁnal appearance at VIR for 2010. With point crowns on the line, riders, on nearly every recent type and make of motorcycle entered, will be scrambling toward the year’s championships making this a spectator’s dream weekend.
• OCTOBER 8-10 Bosch Engineering NASA Octoberfest
National Auto Sport Group brings one of the biggest entry lists of the season, plus drifting competition on the Patriot Course. Fans can drive in the VW Gymkhana on the Skid Pad, letting them become part of the action!
Photo by Victor Newman
• OCTOBER 30 • Photo by Victor Newman
AMA Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals.
• SEPTEMBER 10-12 • SCCA Pro Racing Sports Car Wars
SCCA Pro Racing brings the thunder of TransAm and the exciting competition from SPEED World Challenge, all combined with races and off-track fun for the whole family.
SCCA Charge of the Headlight Brigade This 13-hour enduro race has grown into an international challenge, with drivers from around the globe competing against local drivers and teams from across North America. Always a popular race with teams, this event has featured international stars in the past and seen a Honda beat out all challengers at the checkered ﬂag, besting Porsches, BMWs and Mazdas in a grueling test of stamina for drivers, crew and cars alike.
Who’s Who at the RacePlex Motorsports Industrial Park VIR is host to a variety of racing-oriented businesses in our RacePlexTM Industrial Park and adjacent Virginia Motorsports Technology Park. Businesses here beneﬁt from their proximity to the track and the synergy generated by grouping similar businesses together. It‘s exciting to see that they are succeeding. Sasco Sports recently added a new 10,000 square foot warehouse to their existing facility giving them a total of 20,000 square feet on VIR property. In addition to supplying tires for racers at all levels, Sasco Sports provides racecar preparation and restoration services primarily for vintage racing. The company actively supports customers who race formula and sports racing cars - from Lotus XIs and Lola Mk 1s, to Lotus 23s, McLaren M8s, and Formula Atlantic cars. Their new facility will be home of the Dunlop Motorsports Program. Sasco Sports relocated their operation from Connecticut to Virginia in 1999. Synergy Racing, a Porsche builder, offers a wide range of upgrades for Porsches including professional road racing in the GrandAmerican Rolex Series and the American LeMans Series where their cars have numerous wins, as well as track cars. Val Byrd provides formula race car preparation for vintage racing with complete fabrication services available on “everything from Formula Ford to Formula One and Can-Am” cars. On the ﬂoor in the shop are numerous cars at all stages of repair from track-ready to a pile of pieces ranging from a F1 racer to a Formula Ford awaiting rebuild. TMI AutoTech Inc. moved their operations to VIR in 2008. TMI is the exclusive North American constructor and service facility for the Ariel Atom III supercar. With a weight of only 1,400 pounds and some 300 horsepower available, depending on options, the little two-seater is capable of rocketing from zero to 60 mph in under three seconds. Jay Leno wrote in Popular
Mechanics: “It can accelerate faster than cars costing 10 times as much, has catlike reﬂexes, and goes from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye. What more do you want? Taking off from a standstill, it feels like a gazelle running, the wind is buffeting my head and the supercharger is screaming right next to my ear. It’s wonderful!” The VolksWagen Jetta TDI Cup joined the VIR family recently. The cars for this race series are 30 identically-prepared Jetta TDI Diesels running on HYPERFUELS’ SynDiesel® B5 biodiesel. The two-liter turbocharged engine produces staggering torque for its size resulting in impressive lap times. All race preparation is performed at VW’s building at VIR. Suiting VIR’s green image, the series has been certiﬁed carbon neutral by Carbonfund.org. VIPER See VIPER/Simulator story on page 16. Krause & Associates has opened an ofﬁce in the VMTP that will allow Peter Krause to expand his high performance driver training and club racing coaching operations. Peter offers driving simulator plus seminars on data acquisition use and interpretation of the results. Chuck White has a branch ofﬁce of his insurance brokerage ﬁrm, Charles White Insurance Brokerage, in VMTP to serve clients in Danville, Pittsylvania, and Halifax Counties. VIR’s RacePlexTM Motorsports Industrial Park gives its tenants a unique opportunity to develop products from a trackside location with optimum vehicle testing capabilities including four distinct road courses, a 5/8mile karting course, and a variety of off-road courses and terrain. Lots are available for sale or custom builtto-suit opportunities. 1,200 square foot Flex space garages are also available for sales. For more information, contact Connie Nyholm at 434.822.7700, x118 or email cnyholm@VIRnow.com.
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• Always Serving the Best Mexican Food in Danville • 2818 Riverside Dr. Danville
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of the Danville Area
OPEN ALL DAY 7 DAYS A WEEK
Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri. 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Sat. 12 noon–10:30 p.m. Sun. 12 noon–9 p.m.
Experience All That VIR Has to Offer
What do you call a resort with luxury lodging and town homes, a Spa, skeet range, great dining in a 160 year old plantation house, a gorgeous park like setting and activities for the entire family? We call it VIRginia International Raceway. “Arguably the best track on the continent, if not the world.” That’s how Chris Economaki, the man recognized as the ‘Dean of American Racing Journalists’ describes VIRginia International Raceway. Chris’ opinion is shared by a universal spectrum of drivers, from Carroll Shelby, who said “one lap at VIR is worth 100 at Watkins Glen” in 1957 after winning the track’s inaugural feature race, to Andy Wallace, the winner of LeMans and the Daytona 24 Hour race who added that the “uphill esses are the best section of any race course anywhere.” From its opening weekend in 1957 through the 1974 season, VIR challenged the best road racers to do their best meeting the challenges of “NASCAR Bend, Dirty Ditch, the Uphill Esses, Oak Tree, the Rollercoaster and Hog Pen, all signature spots around the 3.27-mile road course. After 25 years of use as a cattle farm, VIR once again echoes with the sounds of racing sports cars, beginning again in March of 2000 after a painstaking two-year restoration by vintage racer Harvey Siegel with his partner Connie Nyholm. Today, VIR is host to a myriad of professional and club racing events, racing and driving schools, as well as tests by manufacturers and most teams including NASCAR’s best. Don’t get the impression that there’s nothing but great road racing to attract your interest at VIR though – there’s far more to VIR as America’s Motorsport Resort than a challenging ribbon of pavement that winds through some of the most scenic countryside imaginable. Along with all that, VIR provides a great place to unwind and relax with the Oak Tree Spa. The Spa provides racers or their signiﬁcant others all the luxury services expected at any ﬁne resort: Spa treatments range from facials and other skin treatments including body scrubs, masques, exfoliations and more. Reﬂexology, deep tissue massages and the Oak Tree Signature massage provide more ways to shed the tensions of a day at the races, prepare for the next day’s competition, or treat someone who needs the relaxation of a great massage. The Oak Tree Tavern provides a wonderful restaurant and Connie’s Pub in the historic South Bend plantation house. Open to the public seven nights
a week, the Tavern features ﬁne and fun dining and service in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Shoot a round of billiards or race VIR on the iRacing simulation in the Game Room. The menu includes fresh local produce, prime steaks and a constantly rotating list of specials, all prepared and presented in the preCivil War plantation house that has overlooked the property since 1846. During the day, there is no need to pack your lunch – visit the Pagoda Grill in the paddock. Serving breakfast, sandwiches, and snacks, the Pagoda’s covered dining area and elevated patio are some of the best viewing spots at VIR. The VIR Store, at the west end of the Pagoda building, is your source for VIR regalia, souvenirs, and many of the accessories you may need during a visit to the track. The Plantation Valley Kart Track offers non-racers a chance to hone racing skills or work off Walter Mitty aspirations without risking the fenders on their family sedan. The 5/8 mile long, 24-foot wide track is popular with racers and fans alike. Many race teams rent the track at the end of a test day as a thank you for the crew. Race the track’s 9hp Stratos Karts or rent the track and bring your own kart for a private test. The kart track hosts a popular ‘Pro-Am Enduro’ each spring and summer as part of the Bosch Engineering 250 and Suzuki AMA Pro Superbike weekends. Pitting some of the pro riders against media, ofﬁcials, track employees, and fans this event is challenging and entertaining, besides raising funds for children’s charities. Public kart leagues provide a fun way for clubs, businesses, and other groups to create team building or just have fun. Almost every successful pro driver in the world today got their start in karting, where the vehicle dynamics are ampliﬁed, more easily understood and often more readily practiced and much more cost
outings at VIR for your company or organization can take advantage of a shoot directed by VIR’s range masters. The range masters see to it that every shooter, regardless of experience or skill levels enjoys the experience.
effective than in full-sized cars. The kart track is open to the public ﬁve days a week, from Wednesday through Sunday, 9:00 am to dusk (Monday-Tuesday also by appointment and nights on major weekends). Whether you’re looking for a career stepping-stone or just a great time behind the wheel, join us at Plantation Valley Kart Track for some high-speed excitement.
How many tracks boast villas overlooking a worldfamous series of turns? VIR features the Villas at South Bend – town homes along the uphill section, where investors can purchase one as a year-round residence or as a rental, with the track handling all management. Meticulous construction standards, careful attention to décor, soundproof walls between units, and a stunning view of half the track make these both an attractive investment and an outstanding way to entertain customers or suppliers at one of VIR’s events or as a luxurious mid-week getaway.
The VIR Skeet Ranges, adjacent to the kart track is one of VIR’s newest attractions, where members and guests can ‘turn money into noise’ when not racing around the track. The two ranges opened last August and have proven very popular with group outings as well as fun shoots which are scheduled from time to time. Group
Besides the Villas, VIR offers the Garage Hospitality Suites. Located above the Garages and overlooking Pit Road, the Suites make an exciting event even more thrilling with their view of pit action and the
Oak Tree Tavern • Pagoda Grill • Connie’s Pub Oak Tree Spa • The Lodge at VIR • The Villas Garage Hospitality Suites • The VIR Store Plantation Valley Kart Track • Skeet Ranges
Indulge in Adventure
Oak Tree Spa
We invite you to VIR Resort, a motorsport experience destination where adventure abounds both on and off track. And where relaxation is not an afterthought. Luxury amenities complement the activities at VIR, rounding out a dynamic day with rejuvenation in the evening or just a night cap with friends. Our Villas are exceptionally equipped for a long, comfortable stay; the Lodge serves as a relaxing oasis; and the Pit Lane Suites keep you on top of all the action. With a full spa, a variety of restaurants and catering, meeting facilities and non-track activities both indoor and outdoor, there’s no need to look any further. VIR Resort is your destination for an experience of a lifetime.
Rejuvenate in our one-of-a-kind spa and get pampered. Located at our upscale Villas, the Oak Tree Spa offers resort guests an incredible way to relax after a day full of adventure. Choose from a variety of ways to rejuvenate, including spa treatments, massages, wraps and aromatherapy.
Oak Tree Tavern Make your trip to VIR Resort complete with dinner the Oak Tree Tavern and Connie’s Pub, located in a beautifully transformed 1840s plantation house, provide perfect spots to fuel up with laid-back gourmet fare. Catering available on and off premises. Open to the public 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Sunday.
Experience All Of VIR front straight. Take your trackside hospitality to the next level with VIR’s Hospitality Suites! This 18-unit facility is located right in the middle of all the action and only a short walk from the timing & scoring tower and Pagoda. Each suite includes a wet bar, ﬂatscreen TV, high-speed wireless internet, bathroom with shower, mini-refrigerator, microwave, and a shared balcony overlooking the pit lane and front straight with a view of the start-ﬁnish line. The Suites can provide a corporate race experience second only to being in the driver’s seat. The Lodge lets you stay in one of VIR’s beautifully appointed rooms. The Lodge rooms feature hardwood ﬂoors, Jacuzzi tubs and a porch with a premier view of the racetrack. A guest once commented that he had never had a more pleasant wakeup call than the sound of race cars driving by his room. These deluxe accommodations include a 32” ﬂat screen television, DVD/VCR player, refrigerator, and full bath amenities. VIR’s 1400+ acres can make getting around a challenge; especially on busy Pro weekends so why not rent a golf cart for the weekend. Make your reservations early to avoid disappointment. An even greener alternative is one of the bicycles VIR has for rent. Bikes let fans enjoy the sport, get exercise, and be ‘green’ all at the same time. If you wish to experience VIR from behind the wheel, there are many ways to get the same thrill drivers have experienced for over ﬁfty years. If watching a race at VIR has made you feel the need for speed and you want to go out on the track and follow in the tire marks of heroes past like Carroll Shelby and Roger Penske - or the current stars of the Grand-Am Rolex series or the AMA Superbikes there are many ways to drive or ride on track through various clubs and at our spectator events. Many of our spectator events have track touring sessions. During the Bosch 250 weekend, anyone with a three-day ticket will be eligible for a track touring session behind the pace car on Sunday. Sign up for the VIR newsletter for more details, as you must sign up for tracking touring in advance. Newsletter subscribers will be updated on track touring opportunities at events. VIR is one of the best drivers’ tracks in the country! If you want to drive or ride the track at higher speeds and perhaps receive some instruction, you can sign up for a track day with any of a very wide range of groups that come to VIR. Click on the track calendar,
Continued from Page 11 and you will see that on each weekend and many weekdays we have a club listed as renting the track. Click on the event that interests you, and you will see a link to that group’s website. Follow the instructions on that website to sign up. If you need further help, contact us and we’ll help you through the process. Of course, one of the best ways to get regular track time is to join our VIR Motorsports Country Club, which you can learn more about at virnow.com/vir-club/. For the younger enthusiasts, there is the attraction of Camp Motorsport. VIR is host each summer to a residential camp for ages 8-16. Accredited by the American Camp Association Camp Motorsport is a unique fusion of racing & driving education with life-skills development, and traditional summer camp for an unforgettable experience. Girls & boys ages 8-16 participate in hands-on driving & racing education, at a real racetrack, and enjoy the fun activities of traditional summer camp, such as ﬁshing, sports, swimming in the pool, and more! Adult/Child program participants attend for weekend sessions; for girls & boys ages 8-12, with an adult attending. Campers drive every day in Mini-Cup cars and Rally karts, both with full safety gear, in sessions that focus on precision, defensive driving and becoming a better driver in regular day-to-day street driving with the aim being good control techniques rather than speed. Campers learn safe vehicle dynamics: proper hand position and visual focus, defensive driving, and accident avoidance, including exercises in braking and lane changes. VIRginia International Raceway, America’s Motorsport Resort, is easy to get to and once you do get there, you will feel as if you’ve really arrived. A nearby destination for motorsports enthusiasts, business groups, trackday drivers and more, make sure you plan to visit VIR soon.
Oak Tree Tavern
By Mike Floyd In a bold and long-awaited move, the beautiful Oak Tree Tavern at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) has been completely reinvented into an affordable yet elegant full-time gourmet dining facility. The new marketing plan had been “in the works” for over a year according to co-owner, Connie Nyholm. A sneak preview was staged in January, with a combination happy hour/ three course tasting featuring all new items from their expansive menu. Bon appetite, for sure! There were over 60 people in attendance. Mostly longtime friends of the track and both resort and restaurant staffs were present to celebrate the new culinary path. Previously, the Oak Tree Tavern had been open only on Thursday through Sunday afternoon, serving a limited menu. Bringing in the general public wasn’t its main focus. That’s all changed now. “We needed to overcome our image of being a private and exclusive club. We have always been open to the public but really couldn’t shake that image of being private,” stated VIR co-owner, Connie Nyholm. She was hosting the Happy Hour in her namesake bar, “Connie’s Pub,” which contains an authentic bar from Dublin, Ireland, that Nyholm had shipped over, piece meal, and reassembled in the west end of the tavern. With a full ABC license, the tavern features mixed drinks, a wonderful wine list, and ice cold draft beer selections on tap. “We made these changes in direct response to the request of our customers. We’re now open seven days a week, we will be having monthly promotions for things like Valentine’s Day and we will change the menu monthly. That way, we can take advantage of the local and seasonal farm produce that exists right around us. If you’re hungry and in the area, come on in and enjoy our great food,” stated the excited Nyholm. “The kitchen, the chefs, our resort staff, and our customers will all have input and the menu will be spontaneous. We like to call it, ‘Casual Gourmet Dining,’ and we want some feedback from all of our guests tonight too, you included,” laughed the personable Nyholm, an active and competitive race car driver, herself. Well, soon thereafter, the seating was selected and the guests were spread out at various tables decorated with soft pastel colored plates on brown table clothes. The wait staff then fully launched into delivering the ﬁrst wave of appetizers. Our table was served four different, mouth-watering items; a delicious cream of peanut soup, Cajun Garlic Buffalo Chicken Wings, a chorizo and shrimp quesadilla, and homemade yeast rolls sprinkled with black pepper and lightly brushed with a butter/olive oil dressing and shredded Pecorino Romano cheese. Waves of appreciation were coming from all three tables in our room as we were all given the green ﬂag to start the judging and eating.
After our salad course, served family style with fresh greens and balsamic vinaigrette, the carts rolled out with our sizzling entrees. It was nice to be spoiled. My VIR dinner partner, to my right, Jo Morris commented, “It really must be a great job to be a food writer and reviewer!” I had to agree as I watched my wine glass being re-ﬁlled with a California merlot. Our entrée selections were a Double Cut Grilled Pork Chop in a Burgundy Cherry Reduction with Scalloped Potatoes, a succulent Veal and Mushroom meat loaf with Garlic Smashed potatoes, a perfectly grilled Angus New York Strip Steak and Shrimp, Mushrooms, Bacon and Cheese Grits, low-country style. My O’My was it great to share all of the different tastes and exchange the comments across the table. I think we all agreed that we liked the tender Angus steak and mouth-watering pork chop although my meat loaf was light, juicy, and very lightly spiced. I thought about recommending and did, that it be served with either sautéed fresh kale or Swiss chard with garlic and vinegar to let the richness of the greens compliment the savory taste of the meat. The steamed squash was too light for contrast and didn’t quite marry the tastes of the whole plate. . For dessert, we really scored and scored big with: a heavenly light Crème Brulee, a Bailey’s Cream and Kahlua cheese cake, a ﬂowerless, dense Chocolate Pate and a very unique Italian Rice Pudding with sun dried cherries and hazelnuts. Now, this was absolutely enough to swoon over and the Crème Brulee was the best I’d ever eaten, so terribly light and with a subtle butterscotch undertone...I kept it within hand’s reach and neglected to remember to pass it on. Moments after the meal was ﬁnished and the tables cleared, resort director Sandie Marshall showed up at our table with Jonathon Miller, the new food and beverage manager. Marshall looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, “How was everything?” Never one to hold back in the presence of greatness, I told her I would have no problem writing a glowing article for my paper about the new, fabulous and innovative food they were now serving at VIR. The presentation, the eclectic selection, the quality ingredients and the wide spectrum of tastes and ﬂavors were an absolute hit with our table. There was excitement at every table as the night wound down and coffee was served. It was a very, very impressive evening of upscale dining in a relaxed and comfortable setting. Go on out there, any day of the week, and see for yourself. I think you’ll be very surprised and glad you did. For reservations and more information, dial 434-822-7700, ext. 121 or 434-822-8605. Their website is www.virnow.com. And the directions out there (near Milton, NC) are a little tricky but are available on page 18. Enjoy!
The Best That Most
by Steve Hecox When I was young, one of my heroes was Jimmy Clark, the great Scottish Formula One driver. Clark thrilled me every time I watched him drive on The Wide World of Sports, which, at the time, was the only place we could see F1. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to drive the best cars in the world on the best tracks in the world and experience that thrill for myself. Obviously, that never happened, and it’s too late for it to happen now. A little while ago, though, I experienced the next best thing- a chance to ride a state-of-the-art simulator at Virginia International Raceway.
was awesome. It was a social gathering. Our sons were friends with each other, and all of the adults knew each other as well. All of us who wanted to feel the thrill of being behind the wheel took turns on the simulator.
The simulator is operated by the Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering and Research (VIPER), one of the most advanced motorsports institutes in the country, which is jointly operated by Virginia Tech, The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, and Old Dominion University. It allows drivers to get used to a track without the expense and effort of taking a car to that track. For example, if a racing team wanted to get familiarized with a certain track before going there, the drivers and engineers could come up, program their data into the system, put the driver in the seat, and give him or her the experience of driving that track, looking for braking points, ﬁnding places to go ﬂat out, and getting the feel of what their particular setup will work as the driver negotiates the track. A number of professional teams, including some from NASCAR have used the simulator and beneﬁtted from the experience.
Just like in any car, there is an accelerator and brake pedal at your feet. In front of you are three screens that show you the track as you see it from the race car. This is the point at which concentration and control come into play. Most people take cars like the Spyker or a BMW, both have automatic transmission options. I, of course, chose to drive a Formula One machine, which doesn’t. I had two runs that evening. My ﬁrst choice of track was Long Beach.
The simulator was developed by Zandvoort, a cutting edge company based in Amsterdam. Six linear actuators, fast and independent pumps that can be programed for different cars and different tracks take the driver up and down based on the dynamics of the course and the acceleration/ deceleration factors of the ride. The operator of the simulator can program different courses and cars at will. Tracks currently include Long Beach, Spa Francorchamps, Mid-Ohio Raceway, Brands Hatch, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That is by no means a comprehensive listing. In fact, Virginia International Raceway should be programmed in by April. On these tracks, one can run numerous types of cars, from Formula One, to Porsches, Ferraris, Corvettes, Spykers, and many more. All feel differently and behave differently. The night I was there was special. It was a closed-crowd consisting of ﬁve high school students and ﬁve parents. Most of us had never been there before, and the experience
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I loved every moment. When you get on the simulator, you climb up and strap yourself in, tell the operator which car and track you want to try, and you’re off to the races. Our operator was Steve Southward, who is the director of the VIPER program, so we had the best.
Long Beach is a street track. The Grand Prix is run on municipal roadways by the shorelines that are shut down for four days a year so that race cars can take them over. (It will be run on April 18 this year.) I’ve been there many a time to watch the races, and I wanted to see what I could do. It was challenging to say the least. The biggest challenges were learning how to paddle shift and facing the walls. One of Formula One’s newest technologies to make its way to the consumer market is the paddle shift. This is a form of manual transmission which lets the driver shift gears without releasing the wheel. There are paddles behind both sides of the steering wheel which let the driver change gears. Touching the one on the right takes you into a higher gear. The one on the left brings you down a gear. It’s tough getting used to. I’d never done it before, and on a tight street course like Long Beach, it was all I could do to stay on the course. That brings me to the other part of this particular experience-the walls. Long Beach has Jersey barriers, those big grey concrete things they put up on the roads everywhere when they’re doing construction and want to protect the workers, all over the track. They’re about four feet high and don’t seem like a big deal to us in our cars, but it’s a
of Us Will Ever Get different view from the cockpit of a Formula One car. From there, they look like monsters. Of course, the head of a driver in an F1 car is probably never more than three feet off the road. After watching the kids who came before me and their escapades in different cars and venues, I did not want to crash into one of those walls. And even while I was learning the ins and outs of paddle shifting, I never did. I wasn’t very fast, but still, I managed a couple of laps and brought the car home in one piece. I was proud of that. As I waited for my next turn at the wheel, I could see what other drivers were doing. To the right of the simulator is a viewing screen that projects the car’s progress around the track much as one might see it on television. I’m sure that the professional drivers who train on the simulator have team members watching for everything a driver can do to improve his or her performance and suggest speciﬁc ideas for the next go around. For the rest of us, it was just fun to watch each other as we tried to negotiate powerful cars on amazing tracks. When I go my second chance, I stayed with the Formula One car and took it to Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. This is an awesome racetrack with steep altitude changes and a corkscrew series of turns that is one of the most incredible areas in the world of motorsports. The actuators are so in tune with the track that you can feel yourself going uphill and downhill, and doing that on the corkscrew is simply an amazing experience. I was much better this time. I was getting the feel for the car and the paddle shifting experience. I’m certainly not in Jimmy Clark’s league, but I was getting better. And that’s what the simulator is all about. Most of the people who use it are professional race drivers who want to test their setups and get used to the tracks they are going to race on. Think of, for instance, a NASCAR team that wants to get used to tracks like Watkins Glen, or Inﬁneon Raceway in California, or even Indy. It costs a lot of money to take cars out to those tracks and practice there. It’s much less expensive to bring things to VIPER and let the drivers do some training at VIR. It is a world class facility, one which goes far to enhance the prestige of this area in the realm of racing.
There are other things that the team at VIPER are thinking of doing. Police and Fire departments may use it for training. Teenagers may use the simulator to get ready for their driving tests. Kids of all ages may want to come out and have a good time at a birthday party, so may many businesses. These are only some of the areas that the team at VIPER is exploring. The technology is so far advanced that almost nothing is impossible. As we were driving home after our evening there, my son said to me, “Wow, I just played a million dollar video game.” While I think his dollar estimate is far too low, I looked over to him and smiled, saying, “Yeah, man, you did.” Any kid would love it. So would any adult. For more information about the simulator and having some fun of your own with it, call Chandler Reubush of VIPER at 434-766-6671. It is one of the most exciting things that anyone who likes driving could ever experience.
Getting to VIR
From the north: • From Route 58 east of Danville, VA, take Route 62 south to Milton, NC, through the trafﬁc light and onto Route 57 South. Continue 1/2 mile and turn left onto Racetrack Road. VIR is 1 mile on the left. • From Route 58 west of South Boston, VA, take Route 119/Calvary Road south, just into NC. Go 3.5 miles, then turn right on Sunset Road (Sunset Road becomes Pointer Road in VA). Go 4.5 miles to VIR’s entrance on the right. From the south: • Traveling north toward Milton, NC, on Route 62, turn right onto Route 57 South. Continue 1/2 mile and turn left onto Racetrack Road. VIR is 1 mile on the left. • Traveling north on Route 57, turn right onto Dotmond Road. At the end, VIR’s entrance is straight ahead. • Traveling north on Route 119, turn left on Sunset Road (Sunset Road becomes Pointer Road in VA). Go 4.5 miles to VIR’s entrance on the right. For GPS Purposes use the address: 4180 Pointer Road, Alton, VA
• Children 15 and under are admitted free with a paying adult at all events. • No ticket refunds or exchanges. Events run rain or shine. Race times are subject to change by the race promoter. • All ticket prices include on-site parking and pedestrian paddock access. • Tickets are available via MasterCard, VISA, Discover and American Express and can be purchased by calling the VIR Ticket Ofﬁce at 434-822-7700 ext. 116 or ext. 300. Tickets are available online at www.VIRnow.com. Click the Buy Tickets button in upper right corner of our home page.
Sanctioning bodies determine racing schedules. In the event of delay or postponement all tickets will be honored. No refunds or exchanges.
Season passes are available for $350, which include access to every VIR Spectator event and free parking. A $500 value!
General Information VIR Club
Become a VIR Club Member for dedicated track time, special private events and discount promotions for club members. Contact Gina Drastal at 434-822-7700 x111 or gdrastal@VIRnow.com.
Oak Tree Tavern & Pagoda Grill Opening at 5:00 pm daily, Oak Tree Tavern and Connie’s Pub offer casual gourmet dining and are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. Please call 434-822-8605 for additional information or reservations.
Continued from Page 18 VIR Lodging at 434-822-7700 ext. 101. We now offer full hook-ups in both the North and South Paddocks. CAMPERS MUST HAVE A MULTIPLEDAY TICKET. NO CAMPFIRES OR GROUND FIRES ARE ALLOWED.
Bring your lawn chair or blanket to enjoy casual hillside seating. Spectators are not permitted to rope off any areas. Scaffolding is prohibited. On-site parking is free.
Located just past The Lodge at VIR, Plantation Valley Kart Track offers an opportunity to hone your racing skills on a state-of-the-art 5/8 mile, 24-footwide paved natural terrain karting circuit. Karts are available to rent, or you can bring your own. For additional information or to make reservations call 434-822-7700 ext. 350.
All non- racing vehicles must be street legal and operated by a licensed driver. VIR also requires all other unlicensed off-road vehicles (golf carts, pit bikes, ATV’s etc.) maintain a valid VIR credential displayed on the vehicle and a Registration Agreement on ﬁle with the VIR ofﬁce. The 2010 OffRoad Vehicle Registration Agreement can be viewed on our website under the Golf Cart Rental section, or you can obtain this form from the Front Gate, Registration or Administration Buildings on site. The Annual Off-Road Vehicle License Fee is $50, and the Weekend Off-Road Vehicle Fee is $20. One Off-Road Vehicle credential is provided to each race team per weekend at no charge. Bicycles used by spectators cannot be ridden in the paddock. Participants are allowed to use bicycles in the paddock area. Failure to abide by VIR’s rules may result in a non-refundable expulsion from the facility.
Golf Cart Rentals
Oak Tree Spa
Located in the Villas at South Bend, Oak Tree Spa offers guests the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate after a full day of adventure. Choose from a variety of facials, massage, wraps or aromatherapy, all featuring Pevonia products. Call 434-822-9714 for an appointment.
Plantation Valley Kart Track
Camp Motorsport is a race car and kart driving summer camp for kids! Every camper drives every day. Instruction rivals that of the best professional racing schools, plus campers participate in motorsports-related sciences, as well as enjoy the fun of traditional summer camp, such as sports, swimming and more! Campers ages 9-16 attend for one or two week sessions, or try Adult/Child weekend programs for kids’ ages 8-12 attending with an adult. No prior driving experience is required to enjoy. For information email email@example.com or call (434) 822-2999. www.campmotorsport.com.
Camping at VIR
Bring your RV, camper or tent and spend the weekend. Passes must be displayed in plain view at all times. VIR asks that all campers observe quiet time from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am. All campers must vacate Sunday within 2 hours after the last checkered ﬂag. RV pumping is available for a fee. The weekend camping fee is $35 for tents and $50 for RVs. AMA camping is priced slightly higher with tent camping fees being $50 and RV camping $100 for the weekend. Premium RV spots are available through
VIR has partnered with the Golf Car Company for cart rentals during the 4 major events of the season. FOR ALL OTHER EVENTS, VIR has golf carts available to rent to the general public on a ﬁrst come, ﬁrst served basis. For more details on golf cart rentals please visit www.VIRnow.com and look for Golf Cart Rentals under the @VIR drop down menu.
Hospitality & Catering
VIR caters events offering everything from hotdogs to caviar for 15 to 1500 people in a variety of exciting trackside facilities. Let our talented staff customize an event to suit your unique needs for a memorable event. Discounted group tickets, package deals including karting, skeet, and other activities, and car or bike corrals are available. Contact Tim Stacer at 434-822-7700 x115 or tstacer@experienceVIR.com.
Meetings & Events
What drives you? Book your next group meeting or team building event at VIR Resort, the perfect destination for any group looking for a unique, memorable and productive event. VIR Resort offers beautifully appointed accommodations
21 21 and ﬂexible meeting space. For more information, visit www.experienceVIR.com or contact Terrie Lantor, Group Sales at 434-822-7700 ext. 105 or tlantor@experienceVIR.com.
Villas for Sale
YOU CAN own a piece of Heaven on Earth with a breathtaking view overlooking the famous uphill esses of VIR’s historic full course and beyond. Whether relaxing or entertaining, you will deﬁnitely enjoy life (and the investment income to help pay for it) from the luxurious comfort of your own Villa at South Bend. To inquire, call Sandie Marshall-Currie at 434-822-7700 x110 or email smarshall@experienceVIR.com.
VIR discourages bringing pets to the facility. Pets will be allowed if they are leashed and if the owner cleans up after them. Pets are not allowed onto the false grid, pit areas, concession areas or buildings.
VIR will make every reasonable effort to accommodate guests with disabilities. Handicapped
Continued to Page 22
Industrial Property For Sale or Lease
Garages and Flex Space From 1,200 to 10,000 sq.ft. Lots for Sale or Build-to-Suit. Locating at VIR gives businesses a strategic Mid-Atlantic location, a high quality of life, and an affordable work environment with opportunities for ontrack testing and close proximity to other race support and high-tech companies. Beneﬁts and incentives are available in this enterprise zone location. Contact Connie Nyholm at 434-822.7700 x118 or cnyholm@VIRnow.com.
Good Luck To All Drivers This Season! • Storage Containers •
Ground Level Access - For SALE or RENT Two Sizes Available: 8’ X 20’ & 8’ X 40’
• Storage Trailers •
Loading Dock Height - FOR RENT
Trailers & Containers Provide Storage Space for:
• Construction Site Storage • Retail Stores - Inventory • Manufacturing Companies • Homeowners - Remodeling, Moving, Etc. •Store Cars, Boats or Motorcycles • Farmers - Chemicals, Greenhouse Supplies, Equipment, Fertilizer, Seed, Etc.
Containers & Trailers on Our Yard for Inspection Dry & Secure • Affordable Prices • Convenient Secure - Padlock Doors • Wood Floors
Hwy. 58 - 10 miles E. of South Boston, VA Toll Free 877-274-6695
General Information parking is available. For information call 434-822-7700 x300.
VIR Resort offers a variety of track-side accommodations including The Lodge, The Paddock Suites and The Villas at South Bend. For more information call 434-822-7700 ext. 101 or visit www.experienceVIR.com.
Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control rules and regulations are taken seriously at VIR—violations will not be tolerated. Patrons may purchase beer and wine at the Pagoda Grill. The Oak Tree Tavern offers beer, wine and cocktails in the pub and dining rooms. Please bring a valid I.D. Coolers are allowed for legally possessed and consumed beer and wine.
How can I drive my own car on track?
Has going to the races at VIR made you want to drive in the lines of your racing heroes or just drive faster, safer? There are many ways to get on track through
Continued from Page 21 various car clubs, racing or motorcycle schools, our events, or VIR Club. Check out www.VIRnow.com under the “@ VIR” heading to ﬁnd all the information you need to get on track in your own car or bike or how to ﬁnd the right school for you. New for 2010 is the Teen Driving Initiative and Women’s Only clinics - check out the Teens & Groups section under www.exerienceVIR.com website for more information or call 434-822-7700 ext. 300.
While at VIR, race coverage and track information airs on 89.9 FM.
Fast Facts Straights:
Back straight 4000’ Front straight 3000’ long Track Length: Full Course – 3.27 miles North Course – 2.25 miles South Course – 1.65 miles Patriot Course – 1.1 miles Grand Course – 4.2 miles (home of Car & Driver’s Lightning Lap)