VIR: Automatic Racing preview

ALTON, Va.- Automatic Racing earned their first top ten finish ever during the Grand-Am Cup race at Virginia International Raceway in 2002. This year, the team will be aiming for the podium as they return for the 3 Hours of VIR on October ...

ALTON, Va.- Automatic Racing earned their first top ten finish ever during the Grand-Am Cup race at Virginia International Raceway in 2002. This year, the team will be aiming for the podium as they return for the 3 Hours of VIR on October 4.

Automatic Racing fields the No. 09 BMW M3 in the Grand Sports II class of Grand-Am Cup, and co-drivers Jep Thornton and David Russell have been able to race to a podium finish three times this season, and they have earned seven top-ten finishes.

After further testing and development of the BMW E46 M3 during the Grand-Am race at Mont-Tremblant last month, Russell and Thornton are ready for the technical 3.27-mile VIR road course.

"Our car handles really well in the fast stuff, so we expect it to perform well here," says Russell. "We've come such a long way since last year in the development of our cars."

Both Thornton and Russell consider VIR to be one of the best tracks on the Grand-Am Cup season schedule.

"VIR has a lot of different features- straights, esses, and some good technical parts," said Thornton. "When it's dry, it's a great track. It's a beautiful place to be. And there's a great barbeque place in Danville."

"It's one of my favorite tracks," added Russell. "It suits my style with the high-speed turns. It's a really challenging racetrack and you have to be strategic about passing. I think this track, more than anywhere else, rewards your for being precise in car placement, especially in the esses. The turns are so fast and where you are in one turn makes a big difference in the next one."

The 3 Hours of VIR will be held on Saturday, October 4, at 3:00 p.m. EDT. Automatic Racing will qualify for the race on Friday, October 3, from 3:30-3:45 p.m. EDT.

Fans can visit www.AutomaticRacing.com to see race results and news, and to listen to audio clips from Thornton and Russell.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jep Thornton , David Russell
Teams Automatic Racing