I like VIR. Mostly because it is fairly close. Just about an hour and twenty minute drive and literally just over the Virginia/North Carolina boarder. And it is a beautiful place. Rolling grassy hills and wonderfully kept facilities. The owners are continually finding ways to make it a stellar venue.
A couple of Saturday’s ago they had multiple events going on. One was Formula 4. If a youngster has racing ambitions that lean toward the pinnacle of international racing, Formula 1, then they usually begin with carting and its various levels of competition. All this is to get to the first step of Formula 4.
Drivers have three years to prove themselves in this first step and then they must move on or move out.
It is not easy, but it is a lot of fun. Traveling to various race tracks around the country and competing against fellow drivers.
This weekend we met a young competitor that was in his third year in carting. He had graduated from the four cycle engined carts to the two-cycle. His mother was there finding creative was to fund his passion. She described how he started out in carting and how he struggled to figure out what it meant to drive a racing cart. As he competed at the back of the pack things finally clicked for him and he started to put it all together. Finally he was qualifying in the single digits and got his rhythm.
He even looks like a race car driver now. Dreaming of some day being a Formula 1 driver.
One of the great things about VIR is that it is very fan friendly. Unlike some other venues you can walk around the pits and the paddock to your hearts content seeing the cars and talking to the owners and crew. This weekend had a great variety of race cars. Some vintage and many current competitors.
Here was a classic Lola that brought back memories of racing I had from back in junior high school. Even after all these years it is still a beautiful racing car.
Walking around the paddock was a bit of time travel as memories are visited as they are triggered by coming across one classic after another.
This BMW 2002 model brought back memories of the first time I spotted on making its way through the demanding curves of Cape Cod roads. That first time I was merely an observer that was amazed as the boxy sedan snaked its way through the curves and vanished into the distance. A few years later I found myself behind the wheel on a particularly challenging part of route 149 with a smile on my face as I enjoyed the thrill of maneuvering the curves and snaking my own way through the wooded road at speeds I had never dared before. It was lovely.
Meanwhile cars were on track and crews were either preparing for their cars time on track or repairing things that happen on track.
We continued to explore with our attention drawn from one great set of wheels to another.
Lest we forget about the all important tires. That which is the true connection to the race track…
More vintage race cars…
Above is a clone of the fantastic Team 44 race car.
Then we got to see them on VIR’s full course.
This Saturday there was also a Cars and Caffeine car show on the grassy parking area.
As the “pony cars” did their Trans Am racing thing we browsed the cars.
The cars in the car show had moved to the parking area near “Oak Tree” and we had a chance ot take some photos before the racing paused and these had their chance to do some laps around the track.
As the race cars came to the end of the back straight and headed for the challenge of “Roller Coaster” we fired up our Mitsubishi Evo IX and headed back home with a smile in our hearts and the urge to return to VIR soon.