DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 10, 2001) - A remarkable history of sports car racing will have a new chapter written when the Grand American Road Racing Association brings national championship racing back to Virginia International Raceway on Labor Day weekend (August 30 - Sept. 2) next season.
Reopened in March 2000 after a 25 year hiatus, VIR was host to a who's who of racing legends for two decades, from its original opening in 1957 until its closing in 1974. Living up to its new slogan - Fun, Fast, & World Class - the modern race circuit boasts a challenging 3.27-mile full course with excellent viewing areas for race fans.
"We held a very successful AMA Superbike race weekend here in September, and now we're ready to offer a major sports car event," VIR's Vickie Abbott said. "Grand-Am offers the excitement we're looking for to entertain our fans."
Abbott noted that the track and its staff go out of their way to ensure that everyone has a good time when they come to VIR. "We put up a large movie screen during the AMA race and showed old classic bike movies under the stars for our campers. I'm sure we'll do something similar for our car fans on the Grand-Am weekend. We are always trying to find a way to make a race weekend more of an experience!"
The Labor Day race schedule will include twin 250-milers for the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series on Saturday, Sept. 1, and a 500-mile/six-hour contest on Sunday for the Rolex Sports Car Series. The Grand-Am Cup races will be split into two divisions - Grand Sport and Sport Touring - with each division running a separate 250-mile race.
"We're very pleased to be adding VIR to our Rolex Series schedule for 2002," Grand-Am President Roger Edmondson noted. "We came here last year with Grand-Am Cup and got great reports from racers and staff. It's an excellent race course, and it's being run by some truly genuine people. It's the kind of place where racers and fans are sure to have a great time."
Come next Labor Day, more than 30 years will have passed since Peter Gregg and Hurley Heywood teamed up at VIR to win the IMSA GT "Danville 250" in April of 1972. But as surely as VIR's 4000 feet long front straight will quicken the pulse of any true racer or race fan, the scream of championship engines will reverberate once again over those rolling hills and a new team of drivers will have their names etched into the record books as the ones who inaugurated the rebirth of sports car history at VIR.
For more information about Virginia International Raceway, log on to www.virclub.com. Additional information about Grand American Road Racing is available online at www.grand-am.com.