SCC: VIR announces pre-entry record

Record 99-Car Field Slated for VIR Grand-Am Cup Race Alton, Va. (April 3) -- One of the largest fields in American professional racing history will take the green flag when the Grand-Am Cup Series races at VIRginia International Raceway on ...

Record 99-Car Field Slated for VIR Grand-Am Cup Race

Alton, Va. (April 3) -- One of the largest fields in American professional racing history will take the green flag when the Grand-Am Cup Series races at VIRginia International Raceway on April 22.

The Grand-Am Cup Series is the Grand American Road Racing Association's showcase for the latest in international and American-made high-performance sports cars, coupes and sedans straight from the dealer showroom floor. With major modifications permitted only in the area of safety, the Grand-Am Cup Series is home to the same cars seen on streets and highways around the world every day. The series regularly races as a companion event to the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, which will contest the VIR 400 on April 23.

Like the Rolex Series, with its Daytona Prototype and Grand Touring divisions, Grand-Am Cup is made up of two classes of race cars. The big-bore Grand Sports (GS) class features a rules package that allows exotic international machines like the Porsche 996, Nissan 350Z, BMW M3 and others to go head to head with American iron such as the Pontiac GTO, Cadillac CTS-V, Ford Mustang Cobra and GT and more. The smaller Street Tuner (ST) class is Grand American's offering to the import and compact car crowd with the Mazda RX-8, Chevy Cobalt SS, Dodge SRT4, Mini Cooper S, Lexus IS 300, Acura RSX and TSX, a variety of BMWs and other models eligible.

A total of 99 cars have registered for the VIR 200, a 200-mile Grand-Am Cup race that is scheduled to start at 3:15 pm on Saturday, April 22. The total includes 54 entries in the GS class and 45 entries in the ST class. Of the 54 GS entries, 20 are Porsches (996s, 997s and Carreras), including Tafel Racing's No. 175 Rembrandt Charms Porsche 996 with which co-drivers Eric Lux and Charles Espenlaub won the season-opening Grand-Am Cup 200 at Daytona International Speedway in January. There are 17 current- or previous-generation Ford Mustangs, 10 BMW M3s, a handful of Pontiac GTOs and Nissan 350Zs, as well as one Cadillac CTS-V and one Pontiac Firebird.

In the ST category, there will be 13 Acuras (RSXs, TSXs and Integras), 11 Mazdas (10 RX-8s and one Mazda 6), nine BMWs (Z4s and 330s) and five Chevrolet Cobalts. There will also be three Mini Coopers in the field, as well as one Audi A4, one Dodge SRT4, one Nissan Sentra and the No. 92 HART Honda Accord that John Schmitt and Dave Roush co-drove to the ST class victory in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

The 99 entries are a Grand-Am Cup Series record, ranking as one of the largest fields of cars ever entered in a professional automobile race in the United States.

"Having almost 100 cars entered for the Grand-Am Cup race at Virginia International Raceway speaks volumes to the competitiveness and affordability of this great series," said Grand American President Roger Edmondson. "The incredible field is full of great teams and drivers, which will make for an exciting race at VIR. Grand American is very proud of the number of entries in both the Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup Series, but having 99 cars in a race is certainly historic for Grand-Am Cup."

The record entry for the VIR 200 also bodes well for the inaugural VIR 12-Hour Enduro, the Grand-Am Cup season finale scheduled for the weekend of October 6-8.

The Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup Series will be joined over the April 21-23 VIR 400 weekend by the Skip Barber National Championship presented by RACER magazine, one of America's most renowned training series for aspiring open-wheel racers. On-track action will begin on Friday, April 21 at 8:00 am. Friday's schedule includes practice for all three series, plus a qualifying race for the Skip Barber National Championship. Saturday's schedule includes qualifying and the VIR 200 race for Grand-Am Cup, practice and two points-paying qualifying races for the Rolex Series and the first of two races for the Skip Barber National Championship. Sunday's schedule includes the second Skip Barber National Championship race and the Rolex Series' VIR 400, which is scheduled to take the green flag at 1:00 pm.

Advance three-day Super Tickets for the VIR 400 weekend are priced at $50. At the gate, three-day Super Tickets will be priced at $60. Also, single-day tickets will be available for Friday ($15, gate only), Saturday ($25, gate only) and Sunday ($40 advance/$50 gate). 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., and 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; and the Oak Tree Tavern, a full-service restaurant located within the circa-1840 Plantation Clubhouse.

-vir

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Skip Barber , Charles Espenlaub , John Schmitt , Eric Lux
Teams HART