Day One of VIR's Bosch Engineering 250 Report Danville, Va. -- The Bosch Engineering 250 weekend at VIR, featuring the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 got off to a great start Friday, featuring the first qualifying...
Day One of VIR's Bosch Engineering 250 Report
Danville, Va. -- The Bosch Engineering 250 weekend at VIR, featuring the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 got off to a great start Friday, featuring the first qualifying round for the SPEED Touring Car Championship, the first practice session ever for the VW Jetta TDI Cup and a round of the BGGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda.
Chip Herr, driving a Tindol Motorsports Mazda6 took provisional pole for the SPEED Touring Car race, just ahead of fellow Mazda driver Charles Espenlaub and the Acura driven by Kuno Wittmer. The practice session for Volkswagen's brand new Jetta TDI Cup race was headed by Chris Castagna, at a fast time of 2:16.160 over the 3.27-mile road course. The new series will have its first ever race Sunday afternoon, with 30 young drivers taking the green flag at 4:00 pm, following the day's feature races: an enduro for the MOTO-ST motorcycles Sunday morning and the weekend's highlight, the 250-mile Bosch Engineering 250 for the Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype and GT racers.
Drivers in the Jetta TDI Cup were chosen from among the many applicants, based on driving abilities, public speaking and overall marketability. At the end of the season, the series champion will be eligible for a bonus of $150,000 over the prize fund of $100,000, if that driver is signed to a contract with a professional road racing team within six months. Competition in the new series continues with another qualifying session Saturday, prior to Sunday's race.
The Skip Barber National Series was won by fourteen-year-old Gabby Chavez. The Colombia native also captured the series opening race at Sebring. He was followed under the checkers at VIR by Felipe Pohletto and Mark Bumgarner, with the Masters category crown going to Dallas, Texas' Peter Tucker.
A fascinating addition to the weekend's action is the Society of Automotive Engineers' "Formula SAE" Collegiate Design Competition. University engineering students from around the nation must conceive, build and then compete in their own cars. Judging includes quality of design; construction quality; efficiency; handling; stability and overall excellence. This weekend is the first FSAE event held in conjunction with a race event, giving students the opportunity to network with race teams in real-world racing conditions.
Racing excitement continues Saturday with the first practice for the MOTO-ST Super Twin motorcycles, then a two-hour session for the Rolex Series cars and a warm-up for the Skip Barber Series cars. Josef Newgarden will head the field, followed by Pohletto and Chavez. Following a lunch break, the Jetta TDI cars will take to the track for their qualifying session, followed by the Skip Barber cars in their final race of the meeting. Another practice session for the Rolex Series precedes separate qualifying for the GT and Daytona Prototype cars, then the SPEED Touring Car Championship sedans take the green flag for a standing start in their 50-minute race.
Sunday's action starts with a final practice for the Rolex Series, then the MOTO-ST race take motorcycles on one of their few races over VIR's Full Course. After the lunch break, the Rolex Series racers take over the track for the series' 250-mile feature race, followed by the first race in the new VW Jetta TDI Cup series. Standing starts make both the SPEED Touring and Jetta TDI races a different challenge from the usual racing rolling starts.
Tickets are available at the gate for the entire weekend with sports cars running rain or shine on the history-laden 3.27-mile road course.