Racing Blip: 2014 Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR

By | August 23, 2014

No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia

No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia

The inaugural season of TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is coming to end. After this weekend’s race at VIR, two more races are left. Why does that matter? Contracts are coming up. Everybody wants to put on a good show to prove they are worth the money. For the viewers, this should mean some of the best racing of the season thus far.

Virginia International Raceway is located on the Virginia-North Carolina border. Widely known for the uphill esses, we should see plenty of tires coming off the ground as each driver tries to tackle this portion of the track full throttle. It’s also one of the older tracks in North America, built in the late 1950s. Oh, did I mention this is also a resort destination? Not only a racetrack, but also has shooting ranges for both skeet and rifles, off-road racing course, onsite hotels, and a spa.

This race features an abbreviated field. No Prototype cars this weekend. PC cars are running with the feeder Prototype Lites on two shorter races. Leaving the main attraction, GTLM and GTD class cars running tomorrow for the, some what normal, 2 hours and 45 mins race.

What to watch for:

In GTLM, Risi Competizione took pole, continuing their late season momentum. Followed closely by No. 55 BMW Z4, then No. 91 Dodge Viper SRT grabbing the 3rd sport. Tight racing again in this class. 1.015 secs separate the pole sitting Ferrari and the 9th place Corvette C7.R. This will be a battle on the 3.27 mile Full Course! As a side note, the No. 3 Corvette Racing and No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR had a NASTY crash during a practice session today. As a result, Richard Lietz suffered a broken arm. Jan Magnussen has reported to be sore, but in good shape for tomorrows race. Porsche NA’s crew will have a long night putting together the spare 911 RSR in time the start of the race. As of the time of this posting, the No. 3 Corvette and No. 911 Porsche will be racing tomorrow.

UPDATE (8/24 @ 10:57am): It is being reported that Jordan Taylor will replace Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette Racing C7.R.

In GTD, expect more of the same from the last few races. Lots of close racing and the return on the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage, which took pole.

How to watch the race on Sunday @ 4:05pm ET (8/24)?

Again, best thing to do is hit up IMSA’s Race Central for all the details.

Or you can catch the race a few days later on IMSA’s YouTube Channel.

And here’s the ever handy Spotter’s Guide.

And here’s a short preview of the race.

[photo | mike gillilan]

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