Alton, Va. (April 23) -- Prototype Technology Group, Inc. got in some valuable test time for its SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT series BMWs at VIRginia International Raceway last week. PTG, based in Winchester, Va., is campaigning four BMW M3s in...
Alton, Va. (April 23) -- Prototype Technology Group, Inc. got in some valuable test time for its SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT series BMWs at VIRginia International Raceway last week.
PTG, based in Winchester, Va., is campaigning four BMW M3s in the World Challenge GT series this year for drivers Hans Stuck, Boris Said, Bill Auberlen and Justin Marks. The team brought two cars for Said, Auberlen and Marks to drive during the course of a two-day test last Thursday and Friday.
For team owner Tom Milner, it was his first visit to VIR in many years.
"This is a really nice facility," he said. "It reminds me of the old days in 1964-65, when I first came here.
"It's a much different facility today. But the pit area is still in the same place. The embankment that you used to be able to sit on behind the pits is gone, and that area is now the paddock. It's been so long ago I didn't even remember how to get here!"
The team, which sat out the 2002 season after years of racing BMWs in the American Le Mans Series, has had to hustle to get ready for the move to the World Challenge series. Their first race of the year was at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway in mid-March.
"This is the first time we've really tested the cars," Milner said. "We never tested before Sebring. The cars were ready the day before we got to Sebring, so this is the first time we've tested."
For Boris Said, visits to VIR are getting to be a regular thing. He wrapped up the 2002 Trans-Am championship here last fall with a win in the VIR SpeedFest, and often does testing here for a variety of road racing and stock car teams. He is now reunited with the PTG team, for whom he drove in the ALMS, and said this week's test was going well.
"It's going great," he said. "We're making a lot of progress on the car and it's been really reliable, so we're looking forward to going to our next race at Mosport in May."
Said is the hardest-working man in road racing, with full-time rides in the Trans-Am and World Challenge series, in addition to part-time drives in the Grand-Am Rolex Series, Grand-Am Cup Series and the ALMS. As if that weren't enough, he'll also compete in the two NASCAR Winston Cup road races.
His return to PTG also brought about another happy occurrence, reuniting him with longtime teammate and "unofficial brother," Hans Stuck. The two have cooked up a summer adventure that, naturally, involves racing.
"We're going to do the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring together in a BMW M3 GTR entered by the Schnitzer team," Said revealed.
"We actually spent a week together recently over in Europe. He taught be on the long track at the Nurburgring -- the legendary 14-mile Nordschleife -- and then we went to Spa and we had a long-distance test in the M3 GTR, so we've been spending a lot of time together.
"It was my first time at the Nordschleife. VIR is awesome, but there's nothing that compares with 14 miles of racetrack."
The PTG team now finalizes its preparations for the SPEED World Challenge race at Mosport over the weekend of May 16-18, while VIR gears up for this weekend's appearance by the Skip Barber Formula Dodge presented by RACER, the first spectator event of the season.
Three-day Super Tickets for the Skip Barber event priced at $25, and one-day tickets for Friday, Saturday or Sunday at $10, will be available at the gate. VIR is a family-friendly facility, where children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Spectator camping is available.
VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River 12 miles east of Danville, Va., and just north of historic Milton, N.C. In addition to its 3.27-mile natural-terrain road racing circuit (which is designed to be operated as two autonomous, full-service courses), VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club, America's first motorsports country club, and the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park. The newest addition to the facility is the VIR Euro Rally School and Corporate Motorsport Experience, which features four rally stages plus a kart track, motocross track, ATV and SUV training grounds and a Tuff Terrain"course. Future plans include the VIR Gallery, a showroom for high-end collector and racing cars, and resort lodging.
VIR made history from 1957 to 1974 and is doing so again. The renovated original circuit has 17 challenging turns and 130 feet of elevation change. In addition to spectator events, the track is also available to rent for testing, driving schools and club days.
For more information, contact VIR at 888-RACE099 or visit the track's website at www.virclub.com.