Today, the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron announced the addition of the 4.1-mile Grand Course at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) to the 2012 season schedule. The four classes of the ALMS will contest their prowess … on a course that Car and Driver magazine described as the closest thing in America to a lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife … on Saturday, September 15 with the race to be televised on ESPN2.
The event weekend will have as its headline a four-hour enduro with the ALMS elite sport cars, with the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama, Cooper Tires Prototype Lites powered by Mazda, USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda and the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy MX5 Cup as its supporting cast events.
This excerpted and edited from the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón –
ALMS ADDS VIR TO 2012 EVENT SCHEDULE
Series’ debut race at Virginia circuit will be on 4.1-mile Grand Course
The first ALMS race at VIR – located in Danville, Va. – also will mark the first competition on the track’s impressive 4.1-mile, 31-turn Grand Course. It’s a safe bet that track speed records will fall at the hands of the world’s most exotic prototype sports cars and premier production-based GT cars.
“For years we have received numerous inquiries from fans and competitors on when we would race at VIR, I’m proud to say that time is now,” said Scott Atherton, ALMS President and CEO.
“Virginia International Raceway is an excellent addition to what no doubt will be a fantastic 2012 season for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. Given VIR’s history and acclaim as a world-class road racing facility, this is a natural fit. We look forward to working closely with the VIR team to introduce their fans and lots of new ones to the fastest, toughest and most entertaining competition VIR has witnessed.”
The history book at VIR is ripe with the biggest names in North American road racing. Built in 1957, the track played host to its first race in August of that year – an SCCA event that attracted the likes of Carroll Shelby, Bob Holbert, Carl Haas and more. VIR also played host to the first IMSA GT race in 1971 – Hurley Haywood and Peter Gregg drove a Porsche 914-6 to a victory over Dave Heinz’s Corvette. Gregg and Haywood also won in the 1972 IMSA GT race at VIR.
Competitors over the years have heaped praise on the circuit. Paul Newman once opined that “if there’s a heaven on Earth, it’s VIR.” Car and Driver named it one of the six best road courses in the U.S..
“The list of drivers and manufacturers who have achieved success at VIR is a storied one,” Atherton said. “We are thrilled at the prospect of ushering in a new era of competition at VIR as the first series to run its Grand Course. The sights and sounds of our prototype and GT cars racing at high speeds around such a demanding and picturesque layout will create a spectacle no one should miss.”
The track closed in 1974 but reopened in 2000 after New York real estate developer and vintage racer Harvey Siegel acquired the track property in 1998. In addition to a repaving and widening of the circuit, VIR added resort facilities that include three hotel and multiple dining options. The track plays host to numerous events during the course of a season including sports cars, motorcycles and karting.
Tickets for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón race at VIR on Sept. 15 will be available at VIRnow.com beginning Feb. 1.
The 2012 American Le Mans Series season gets underway with the 60th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on March 17. It also will mark the first race of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship. Visit sebringraceway.com for details on tickets and accommodations.
The annual Sebring Winter Test is scheduled for Feb. 8-9 at Sebring International Raceway. Tickets are $10 with no paddock access granted.
… notes from The EDJE
-Article first seen as Virginia Is For American Le Mans Sports Car Racing Lovers at Technorati-