Plans Finalized for GT LIVE Weekend at VIR
Alton, Va. (July 25) -- Plans are now complete for one of the most unique and ambitious motorsports events ever to be staged in America, the GT LIVE Weekend at VIRginia International Raceway scheduled for October 6-8.
The weekend will feature the first-ever East Coast appearance of the phenomenally popular GT LIVE, an interactive festival for tuner-car and sport bike enthusiasts that is the wave of the future for young motorsports enthusiasts. Sharing the track with GT LIVE will be the Grand American Road Racing Association's Grand-Am Cup Series, the hottest production-based sports car racing series in America, which will end its 2006 season and determine the championships for its two classes with a pair of six-hour endurances races, the longest races in the series' history. Also on the bill will be the season finale for the United States Endurance Racing Association (USERA), whose Carbotech Endurance Championship will contest a pair of three-hour enduros.
GT LIVE is an event unlike any other ever held in the eastern United States. It offers a non-stop list of interactive attractions for fans of Japanese tuner and GT cars and sport bikes. GT LIVE will utilize both the 3.27-mile Full Course and the 1.1-mile Patriot Course. The Patriot Course will host drifting competitions and Tarzan's Lap Battle, an amateur time attack event that gives tuners a safe and exciting environment to test their machines against each other in a one-up, timed-lap format. The top three lap times in each of the six categories (Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Ford) will have the option to turn their cars over to the capable hands of world-famous time attack king and Tsukuba Circuit Champ, Tarzan Yamada, who will attempt to beat the winning time set by the car owner in their own car.
On the Full Course, GT LIVE will present the GT Track Attack Championship, in which some of the world's fastest modern-day Asian muscle cars will battle for fastest lap time honors; GT Sim Race, in which fans can ride around the circuit in Japanese GT or Grand-Am Cup race cars at full speed; and the U.S. Stunt Riding Championship, an invitation-only freestyle motorcycle stunt competition to determine the best stunt rider in the country. In addition, GT LIVE will offer fans an opportunity to drive racing karts on VIR's state-of-the-art 5/8-mile paved Plantation Valley Kart Track and to experience Rally-X on special gravel rally stages, plus the first-ever Spoon Sports festival (celebrating famed Honda automobile tuner Spoon Sports Co., Ltd.), professionally judged sport-compact car and sport bike shows, a mini-SuperMoto competition, a 50cc mini-Stunt competition, music and vendors.
"We're really excited to bring GT LIVE to VIR, and to give east coast fans a chance to experience what west coast enthusiasts have already seen and enjoyed," said GT LIVE founder Randy Grube. "VIR is an awesome facility, and will lend itself perfectly to our 'motorsports theme park' concept. The combination of GT LIVE and the Grand-Am Cup Series is a natural match, and we can't wait to drop the green flag on what we think will be an historic occasion."
The Grand-Am Cup Series' season finale will be comprised of two six-hour races on the VIR Full Course, one for the Grand Sport (GS) Class featuring high-performance coupes such as Ford Mustangs, Porsche 911s and BMW M3s and Nissan 350Zs, and the other for the Street Tuner (ST) class, which is populated by smaller high-performance coupes and sedans such as Chevrolet Cobalts, Mazda RX-8s, BMW Z4s, Acura TSXs and BMW 330s.
The Grand-Am Cup was originally scheduled to run a 12-hour enduro, but the decision was made to run each class for six hours due to very large car counts in recent events. When the series visited VIR in April, more than 100 cars were entered.
VIR has been an important part of the Grand-Am Cup Series since its inception in 2001. The Southside Virginia track hosted a three-hour stand-alone race in June 2001, and the Grand-Am Cup has accompanied the Rolex Sports Car Series at VIR every year since. A six-hour endurance race on the picturesque and challenging VIR circuit will pose a very tough test for the teams, whose cars and drivers will have to adapt from the series' customary 200-mile, 2.75-hour race format to face the demands of a grueling six-hour event. With championships on the line, car preparation will be of utmost importance and a drama-filled weekend is guaranteed as teams battle for last-minute points to determine driver, team and manufacturer titles.
"With as many cars as we've had throughout the Grand-Am Cup season, it only makes sense to split our season finale into two six-hour races, while still delivering the 12 hours of racing that we and our partners at VIR have promised to the fans," said Grand American president Roger Edmondson. "This will ensure that our fans and competitors will get the kind of close and exciting competition befitting of a season finale. We expect an action-packed weekend as our Grand-Am Cup championships are decided at VIR."
The USERA Carbotech Endurance Championship is an entry-level, nationwide, professional endurance racing series in its inaugural season featuring four classes of cars. Their visit to VIR will be the season finale, and will consist of two three-hour nighttime races that will see non-stop, fender-to-fender racing.
"USERA is excited to be hosting the final two races of our inaugural 2006 Carbotech Endurance Championship at VIR," said USERA president Ken Grammer. "VIR is a fantastic racing facility, and we expect the championship battle to go down to the last corner of the last lap of the last race. Racing at night will challenge both our drivers and pit crews to be at their best during both races. The fans are going to love this weekend!"
The on-track action will be almost non-stop all weekend, with GT LIVE, Grand-Am Cup and USERA sharing the Full Course from 8:00 am to 12:00 midnight on Friday and Saturday and from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on Sunday, while the GT LIVE action on the Patriot Course will start at 8:00 am each day and will end at 9:00 pm on Friday, 8:00 pm on Saturday and 6:00 pm on Sunday.
"The GT LIVE Weekend is going to be the busiest event in VIR's history," said VIR general manager Josh Lief. "With GT LIVE's many activities, plus two six-hour races for the Grand-Am Cup Series and two three-hour races for the USERA Carbotech Endurance Championship, we're going to be flat-out all weekend. There will be so much to see and do for fans that it may be impossible to take it all in. There has never been an event like this in the eastern United States, and we're really excited to be hosting what we hope will become an annual tradition."
Advance three-day Super Tickets for the GT LIVE Weekend are priced at $40, with advance single-day tickets for Saturday and Sunday priced at $20. At the gate, three-day Super Tickets will be priced at $50 with single-day tickets priced at $20 (Friday) and $25 (Saturday and Sunday). VIR is a family-friendly facility, where children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Spectator camping is available. Call 434-822-7700, ext. 116 or 300 for advance ticket sales.
VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River between Danville and South Boston, Va., just north of historic Milton, N.C. In addition to its 3.27-mile natural-terrain road racing circuit, VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club, America's first motorsports country club; the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park; the VIR Gallery, a sales showroom for high-end collector and racing cars; Plantation Valley Kart Track, a 5/8-mile paved karting circuit; The Lodge at VIR, a 27-room trackside hotel; the new VIR Paddock Suites and Garages, with 18 dual-purpose hospitality/ lodging units and garages; and the Oak Tree Tavern, a full-service restaurant located within the circa-1840 Plantation Clubhouse.
For more information, visit the track's website at www.virclub.com or contact VIR at 434-822-7700. For more information on GT LIVE, visit their website at www.gtlivetour.com. For more information on the Grand American Road Racing Association, visit their website at www.grandamerican.com. For more information on the USERA Carbotech Endurance Championship, visit their website at www.usenduro.com.