2017 Virginia International Raceway – Michelin GT Challenge

August, 2017

Virginia International Raceway

Located in the rolling countryside of southern Virginia, the Virginia International Raceway (VIR) is a 3.27 mile road course with history dating back to 1957. Many of the legends in motor sports, such as Carroll Shelby, Carl Hass, Richard Petty, and Don Yenko, competed on this track. Although it closed in the mid ’70s for over two decades, after a complete renovation, it reopened in 2000 and is now one of the premier facilities of its type in the country. When you first enter VIR, this laid-back racetrack, it looks like a finely-manicured park. That is until you hear the high pitch of racing engines and see the miles of smooth winding “one way only” asphalt – a pure adrenaline rush for any race fan. VIR holds different types of events throughout the year, including exotic car club track days, motor bike racing, NASCAR practice sessions, and several SCCA races. This year, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) traveled to VIR to hold a weekend of high-end sport car racing with the main event being the running of GT Le Mans and GT Daytona cars. According to official estimates, over 40,000 spectators — the largest crowd ever — gathered for this three-day event. Despite the number of race fans in attendance, there was still plenty of room to find a stretch of track to watch part of a race, then move to another location for a completely different view of the action. Spectators also had opportunities to visit the pit area and check out the pre-race work performed on the exotic machines.

The King himself, Richard Petty, special guest and Grand Marshall, was on hand to make the feature race announcement — “Drivers start your engines.” Here are some of the sights and sounds that made for an exciting weekend.