Art In Motion - Vintage Racing With The SVRA At VIR This Weekend
Alton, Va. -- The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) believes that racing history should be on display on the racetrack, not in a museum. The SVRA promotes and organizes events at racetracks with a rich racing heritage, so that some of the most beautiful automobiles in the world can be enjoyed as they were originally raced at North America's most scenic and historic tracks. Virginia International Raceway (VIR) near Danville, Virginia boasts a unique racing heritage of its own, going back to the first race held there in 1957, which was won by the legendary Carroll Shelby driving a Maserati. It is not surprising that the SVRA chose VIR for the final race of the 2001 season, this weekend the 27th and 28th of October.
The SVRA weekend at VIR will feature several events sure to excite even the most casual motorsports enthusiasts. Snarling Shelby Cobras will do battle with thundering Chevrolet Camaros in the Edelbrock Sprint Series Championship Races. Open-wheel "Indy style" Formula cars -- including some real Indy Cars - will flash around the 3.27-mile Grand Prix circuit at VIR only inches apart at speeds well over 140 mph! The Michael Stott PaineWebber Endurance Championship will see two riveting endurance races, one for Vintage cars (up to 1972) and one for Historic cars (up to 1990).
Race fans and classic car lovers, no matter where they're from, will have the choice of cheering on their hometown drivers or their favorite marque; either way they should have no problem finding one or the other. As might be expected, a sizable number (99, or somewhat less than half) of the 227 racers entered are from the Mid-Atlantic states. Also competing will be drivers and their cars from as far away as California, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Kansas, and Oklahoma, with at least two drivers from each of those states traveling to VIR. At least 33 drivers from Florida to Texas will have to travel north to compete, while more than 30 drivers hail from the Midwestern States. Looking northward, Ontario, New York, New Jersey, and the New England states will provide almost 50 more competitors.
The SVRA likes to say that "the Cars are the Stars", and the 'Stars' available for viewing at VIR both close-up in the paddock and in on-track battles are as diverse as the drivers' hometowns. Race cars with legendary names like Elva, Lister, Lotus, Lola, March, McLaren, and Brabham, as well as sports car icons like Porsche, Jaguar, Corvette, Alfa Romeo, Fiat Abarth, Triumph, MG, AC Cobra, BMW, Sunbeam, and Austin Healey will all be 'on display'. Equally notable but less well-known marques like Beach, Matra, Ralt, Titan, even a Yenko Stinger will all be battling in sprint and endurance races, along with what are usually thought of as muscle-cars (Shelby Mustangs, Camaros, and Boss 302 Mustangs) or family cars (Datsun 510's, Dodge Colts, Thunderbirds, even a Ford Pinto).
Spanning the years from a 1956 Lotus 11 Lemans, with its sculpted polished aluminum body that any art museum would be proud to display, to a 1992 Benneton Formula 1 car, spectators will be able to experience and enjoy almost 40 years of racing, automobiles, and the culture they sprang from, in what might just be the perfect setting. In fact, the eminent automotive journalist David E. Davis, writing in his column in this month's Automobile magazine, boldly stated "Virginia International Raceway must be the most beautiful road-racing facility in North America."
For the enthusiast, nothing more need be said. Yet even for those who've never watched a race or cared to, the combination of the fall foliage at its peak, VIR's everyday family friendly atmosphere (all children 12 and under with adults are admitted free), and the chance to explore the history, purpose-built machinery, enthusiasm, and excitement promised by a vintage race weekend, the SVRA at VIR may be the next best thing to an old fashioned county fair - and the best excuse to enjoy one last weekend in the country before settling in for the winter.
To learn more about the SVRA and the sport of vintage racing: http://www.virclub.com/pages/eventInfo/svra.htm
If you would like to know more about VIR, including ticket information, visit our site at: http://www.virclub.com