Virginia (VIR): Friday practice summary

Doran Lista Quickest in VIR 500 Practice ALTON, Va. (August 30, 2002) -- Doran Lista Racing posted the quickest time of the day during practice sessions at Virginia International Raceway for Sunday's VIR 500. Points leader Didier Theys, teaming...

Doran Lista Quickest in VIR 500 Practice

ALTON, Va. (August 30, 2002) -- Doran Lista Racing posted the quickest time of the day during practice sessions at Virginia International Raceway for Sunday's VIR 500. Points leader Didier Theys, teaming with Mauro Baldi for the race, clocked a 1:39.242 at 118.618 mph in the #27 Judd-powered Dallara. The Crawford of Dyson Racing Team, also sporting a Judd engine, recorded the second-fastest time of the day with its 1:40.511 lap at 117.122 mph.

"It was quite muddy and slippery this afternoon. I think in the session before us many cars went off and when they pulled those cars out of the grass onto the racetrack, they were not only wet, but muddy too," said Theys. "The mud was drying, but it took some laps to clean up the racetrack. That's why I stayed in the pits for the first 45 minutes of the practice. After that, we had quite a few quick laps and we learned what we need to change."

Nic Jonsson posted the quickest time in the SportsRacing Prototype II class. He piloted Rand Racing's #8 Nissan Lola to a 1:48.258 lap at 108.740 mph, while the team's point-leading #7 Nissan opted to skip the practice when a light rain began to fall on the track. "The championship is what we've been working for all year and that's where our focus is," explained Lazzaro who is slated to co-drive the #7 Nissan. "VIR is a fantastic race course, but it's also a very unforgiving track. We don't want to put anything at risk this weekend. With the way the weather is, we're being a little bit conservative."

Bill Auberlen led the GT class in the #33 Ferrari 360 GT of Scuderia Ferrari of Washington. Auberlen turned a 103.297 mph lap in 1:56.399. "I've never been to this track before. My first laps on the track were in the rain this morning. Then all of a sudden you drive in kind of dry conditions and the track is a whole different track," said Auberlen. "You approach the hills on this course so fast, and I don't even know where I'm going yet. I'm capable of doing much more if I don't screw up. I spun into the mud once. Its just frustrating because you normally know exactly where to go."

In his first appearance behind the wheel of the Morgan Dollar Motorsports #46 Corvette, Darius Grala clocked the quickest American GT lap of the day. Grala recorded a 1:56.399 lap at 101.135 mph. "The track started out pretty slick, but it kept getting better as the day went on. The boys had the car setup perfectly for these conditions, which is why we were able to get the fast lap time," he said.

Ferrari Looking for Record Fourth-Straight GT Win

Scuderia Ferrari of Washington's Cort Wagner and Bill Auberlen will try for their fourth-straight GT win on Sunday during the VIR 500. The duo picked up their first win of the season in the #33 Ferrari 360GT at the 6 Hours of The Glen and followed it with class victories at the Jani-King Paul Revere 250 and Bully Hill Vineyards 250, tying the Rolex Series GT record for the most consecutive victories.

During the post-race press conference at the Bully Hill Vineyards 250, the pair of Californians confessed that they have developed a bit of a pre-race ritual -- shopping. Before all three victories, Wagner and Auberlen have gone shopping together at a local mall. Following the Daytona win, the two admitted that they had struggled with the Ferrari's setup throughout practice but were struck with the 'perfect' setup idea while shopping at the mall across the street from the Speedway prior to the race.

However, the duo's shopping ritual might come to an end on Sunday. Nearby Piedmont Mall, located in Danville, Va., does not open until 1 p.m., while the green flag for the VIR 500 is slated to fall at 12:15 p.m. "Don't worry. We'll just go a day early," remarked Auberlen.

Mosler Announces GTS Car for 2003

Morrison/Mosler Motorsports announced today that it currently has MT900 mid-engine coupes, designed especially for the Rolex Series 2003 GTS class, under construction at the company's Riviera Beach, Fla., craft center. Owner Tommy Morrison also announced plans to continue through next year the MT900 team program, which provides technical support, at-track spare parts and significant contingency awards to MT900 entries.

"We are committed to a total customer support effort," said Morrison, who added that MT900s built to GTS specs can be available for testing almost immediately upon purchase. "Our current platform is tailor-made to accommodate GTS specifications for wider tires, bigger brakes and more power. GTS will be a different playing field for us. But we believe the MT900 can be every bit as competitive as it has been in GT."

Morrison says the cost of a race-ready package ranges from $160,000. He noted that the MT900's move to GTS coincides with the start-up of its road car production. The company expects to build at least 250 road cars for sale worldwide.

The Rolex Series will hold qualifying for Sunday's VIR 500 on Saturday, followed by the Grand-Am Cup Twin 250s and a fireworks show at dark. Tickets are available at the gate. For additional information on availability and prices visit or call 888-RACE-099.

Additional information about the Grand American Road Racing Association is available online at

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Nic Jönsson
Teams Dyson Racing