Trans-Am Champ says NASCAR fans should love VIR SpeedFest. Alton, Va. (Oct. 17) -- Boris Said, the newly crowned champion of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup, has driven lots of laps at VIRginia International Raceway since the ...
Trans-Am Champ says NASCAR fans should love VIR SpeedFest.
Alton, Va. (Oct. 17) -- Boris Said, the newly crowned champion of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup, has driven lots of laps at VIRginia International Raceway since the track reopened in 2000 after 26 years of dormancy. However, none of them have been in the No. 33 ACS Express Panoz Esperante that he will race in the Trans-Am season finale during the VIR SpeedFest presented by the Justin Bell GT Motorsports Experience, Oct. 25-27.
For the past few years, Said has been one of a handful of road racers who are regularly invited to compete in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series' two road races, held at New York's Watkins Glen International and California's Infineon Raceway at Sears Point. Since it reopened in 2000, VIR has become a very popular spot for Winston Cup teams to test their road-racing set-ups, and Said a popular "coach" for Winston Cup drivers looking to sharpen their road racing skills.
As a result, he's done a lot of Winston Cup testing at VIR, both in the No. 67 Jasper Engineering Ford Taurus that he races twice a year and in other people's cars. If there's anyone who can compare and contrast a Winston Cup car and a Trans-Am car, Said is the man.
The personable Californian, who clinched the Trans-Am championship at Road Atlanta on Oct. 11, makes the case that the Trans-Am cars that will headline the VIR SpeedFest should be very popular with NASCAR fans, because the two are very similar.
Trans-Am cars, like their Winston Cup cousins, bear a strong resemblance to the production cars that fans drive to the track. The Mustangs, Jaguars, Corvettes, Camaros and Esperantes help the fans identify with what they see on the track, just as do the Monte Carlos, Tauruses and Intrepids in NASCAR.
"Out of all the road racing cars, Trans-Am cars are the closest thing to Winston Cup cars," Said explained. "They're both tube-frame cars, and the way the rules are set up are similar."
Winston Cup cars weigh 3700 lb., while Trans-Am cars weigh in at a much more nimble 2600 lb. Winston Cup cars utilize 358ci V8 engines, while Trans-Am cars must make do with 311ci. However, Trans-Am cars use much wider tires, which provide a great deal more grip, and much better brakes.
"A Trans-Am car drives very similar to a Winston Cup car, except that it does almost everything better," Said added. "A Trans-Am car turns better and stops better, but a Winston Cup car goes down the straightaway a lot better."
Despite all the experience he has at VIR, Said has never run the full 3.27-mile circuit that will be used for the VIR SpeedFest. In every test he has done at the track, he has used the 2.25-mile North Course.
"I've driven around the long course in a rental car, but that's about it," he said. "I'm looking forward to racing the long course. And since the Trans-Am championship has already been decided, it's going to be an all-out war. Just my kind of race. I can't wait."
The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup, America's oldest continually active professional road racing series, will be joined during the VIR SpeedFest weekend by the SPEED World Challenge Series, the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship, the Pro Spec Racer Series and the Pro Miata Challenge.
Three-day Super Tickets for the VIR SpeedFest priced at $45, and one-day tickets for Sunday at $35, will be available at various ticket outlets. At the gate, three-day Super Tickets will be priced at $50, with one-day tickets selling for $10 (Friday), $25 (Saturday) and $40 (Sunday). For ticket outlet information, visit the track's website at www.virclub.com. VIR is a family-friendly facility, where children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Spectator camping is available. There will be a special "Trick or Treat the Track" for kids of all ages on Saturday, after the day's racing activities conclude, so be sure to bring your costumes!
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 an advanced safari 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.