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Driver Testimonials

“If there is a heaven on earth, it is VIR.” — Paul Newman
And then we have VIR, which is another race I think everyone in the series loves. What Kerrigan [Smith] and Connie [Nyholm] and their whole team do there is so impressive and unique. They involve teams and fans and drivers in their event in ways that no other circuit does, and that makes the experience really special. You take this beautiful setting, an incredible race track, and fantastic people, it’s just something magical. Plus, we all love a GT-only race! But, it’s a hard race, you can’t take anything for granted there. We hope this year we are good there, I think we were last year, but it’s a place where you can’t expect anything. -Bryan Sellers  ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “I love VIR… absolutely love it. I have since the first time I went there. It reminds me of racing at a lot of tracks where I grew up in the UK. I come from the rural countryside and live in amongst the grass and trees. When you go to a track like Virginia that is in the hills and trees, there is greenery everywhere. It feels different. Past that, the track layout is awesome. It has everything… super-fast with long straights, elevation changes, slow technical section and super-high speed technical sections. It definitely is one of my favorite places to race on the IMSA calendar.”
_________________________________________________________________________ “VIR has a real rhythm and flow that, once you figure out, makes lap after lap enjoyable. Winning there is extra satisfying. Every time you stand on the podium there you feel like you’ve earned it! The track amenities are wonderful and it’s simply a beautiful place.”
Madison Snow, (IMSA GTD Driver No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini) _________________________________________________________________________
“VIR is a special place that embodies everything you could ask for in a racing facility. The staff represent the finest in the business with a true feel of southern hospitality. The track is kept and maintained to the highest standards and something you look forward to experiencing every year. The only fault at VIR is the race isn’t longer.”
-Bryan Sellers, (IMSA GTD Driver No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini) 
“VIR is my favorite track on the schedule! The track is one that truly challenges any driver with a combination of fast and slow corners, elevation changes, and sections like the esses that make you hold your breath.
The hospitality and the make you feel at home atmosphere is something you’ll never find anywhere else. From top to bottom VIR does it right. It’s the venue I look forward to going to most each year.”
-Corey Lewis, (IMSA GTD Driver No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini & GS Driver No. 3 Motorsports in Action McLaren) 
“VIR is one of my favorite tracks in North America. The famous climbing esses are some of the greatest corners that can be found on any circuit anywhere. The track combines high-speed straights with some very technical sections, where the corners are all connected to each other. If you make a mistake in one corner, it will lead to being slow in the next four corners to follow. What I really enjoy most about the track is that in certain points of the lap you have to be on full attack mode, then directly after you have to be super delicate with your movements and be super patient with the car. There isn’t really another track quite like VIR!”
Ryan Hardwick, (IMSA GTD Driver No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche)
“The first time I went to VIR, I didn’t have time to do a track walk, and on-board cameras weren’t as available back then. My first three or four laps were pretty interesting. The esses were a big eye-opener, especially when you knew you needed to go through them flat! I immediately liked the track. I do miss the Oak Tree and I’m glad I got to race there when it was still standing. It was always cool to go through that corner with the tree there.”
Antonio Garcia, (IMSA GTLM Driver No. 3 Corvette C8.R)
“As a motorsports enthusiast, VIR is one of those places that you never get tired of going back to. The people and facilities are second to none, and the track is the perfect mix of technical corners, high-speed straights, and daunting elevation change. Connie and her team share the same passion for racing as all of their members, racers, and fans, which truly makes it a motorsports paradise.”
-Ray Evernham, (NASCAR Hall of Famer, 3-Time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Crew Chief with Hendrick Motorsports, and VIR Club Member)
“Racing at VIR is a more of an engineering exercise. The track has a number of different corners – high-speed and low-speed – long straights, big brake zones. So you have long straights where you want to trim out the car and lose all your downforce and drag, but then you have some very technical sections where you want that downforce and braking capabilities. It’s a lot on the engineers to find that perfect setup, which makes it fun. As a driver, it’s a fun track. You have to know where you’re going. It’s very narrow with not much room for error. From those standpoints, it’s always very challenging at VIR.” -Jordan Taylor, (IMSA GTLM Driver No. 3 Corvette C8.R and No. 10 Cadillac DPi) ________________________________________________________________________________ “I always love going to VIR. It’s one of the great road courses that we have in North America. It’s tight, it’s hard and it’s extremely difficult to pass there so it pays off to qualify up front.” -Frankie Montecalvo, (IMSA GTD Driver No. 12 Lexus – Aim Vasser Sullivan) ________________________________________________________________________________ “I’ve had the pleasure to race at some of the most iconic tracks in the world. VIR is one of the very few tracks that gives me this intense adrenaline rush every single lap from start to finish. It has an old school feel in some aspects which rewards precision and driving on the edge to wrangle the lap time out of the car. Now when you combine the on track experience with their perfectly groomed facility and accommodations, it makes VIR one of my top three favorites in all of North America. It truly is the hidden gem that every driver must experience!” -Connor De Phillippi, (IMSA GTLM Driver No. 25 BMW – Team RLL) ________________________________________________________________________________ “I really love VIR. It’s a really nice, technically, fast and challenging track that I love competing on. “The Esses” are definitely one of the best sections out of all of the tracks that we go to on the IMSA calendar. It’s a track that continues to challenge us as drivers with its technical sections. I’m really glad that IMSA takes us there each year and it’s one that I will be looking forward to next year.” -Mario Farnbacher, (IMSA GTD Driver No. 86 Acura – Meyer Shank Racing) ________________________________________________________________________________ “VIR is one of my favorite tracks in the U.S. because of the high-speed character of the layout. I especially like the fast esses and into Oak Tree turn. The surface usually provides a lot of grip so you can really push your car to the limit. It has nearly every kind of turn, so you really have to be on top of car set-up to have a good day.” -Toni Vilander, (IMSA GTD Driver No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari for Scuderia Corsa) ________________________________________________________________________________ “I really like VIR. When you really have your car hooked up it is a great place to race. On the other hand, if it is not, you are probably in for a long day. I’ve raced the track in many configurations over the past 10 years. I was fortunate to win my class in the SCCA Runoffs there last year, 2019. My favorite section is the fast esses in a fast car, nothing like it!” –Cooper MacNeil, (IMSA GTD Driver No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari for Scuderia Corsa) ________________________________________________________________________________ “It’s also run by a great group of people. The management at the track are always visible, always smiling, always wanting to talk to you and get your feedback on what they can improve – whether it’s the circuit, the weekend or the entire experience we have as a competitor. They work so hard at it and are excellent. That’s great to see. When you go there, you feel like you’re wanted. At some circuits, you get the feeling that you’re just another series coming through and you don’t necessarily get a lot of the love. At VIR, you get a lot and they’re fantastic.” -Tommy Milner, Corvette Racing ________________________________________________________________________________ “It’s also run by a great group of people. The management at the track are always visible, always smiling, always wanting to talk to you and get your feedback on what they can improve – whether it’s the circuit, the weekend or the entire experience we have as a competitor. They work so hard at it and are excellent. That’s great to see. When you go there, you feel like you’re wanted. At some circuits, you get the feeling that you’re just another series coming through and you don’t necessarily get a lot of the love. At VIR, you get a lot and they’re fantastic.” -Oliver Gavin, Corvette Racing ________________________________________________________________________________ “The best kept secret in North American racetracks. Even worthy of an Atlantic crossing!” -Townsend Bell, IMSA SportsCar Driver
“Well it’s no secret that VIR has been such a special place in my career. from my pro debut to my first pro win and many other on track and off track memories. When we made the show (Dinner with Racers on Amazon Prime), we got to dive deeper into the history of the track and really learn how it came to be and how much love the fans have for it, it made me appreciate it even more. For years VIR was one of the closest races to my home that I got to compete in so my family and I have considered VIR our home track.” -Ryan Eversley
“It’s twisty, it’s technical, it’s tight. Just a classic, classic racetrack and it’s sort of the heritage of sports car racing in the U.S.” -Patrick Long, </strong/> Porsche Factory Driver
“The track is just amazing with a lot of elevation and a lot of really quick corners. You have the feeling of flying at some point.” -Patrick Pilet, IMSA SportsCar Driver
“It has a very eclectic mix of corners. You have super high-speed corners likes the esses in Turn 10, but then you have very challenging low speed sections like Turns 4 and 5, getting quicker into 6, and it’s always a very difficult balance to handle the car because one corner feeds into the other, both in some of the low-speed sections and in the high-speed sections, so I’ve always enjoyed that challenge. It’s also challenging to get the car right, to get the setup right for the engineers because you can’t just pile downforce on because you do reach high top speeds, but at the same time you can’t rip it off because you really need some great balance in the low-speed stuff as well. It’s just a very challenging place with a lot of elevation change and I think a little bit of everything.” -John Edwards, BMW Factory Driver
“The layout of the track makes for quite a long lap, the average speed is very, very high except for that little complex behind the pits. It’s a really old-school layout with the way the corners are, big sweeping corners, and fast. There’s big undulation from the track.” -Jan Magnussen, Corvette Racing Factory Driver and reigning GTLM Champion
“I remember running one race at VIR back in 1966, I only finished about 12 laps. The track was out in the woods. It looks way different now. I’m glad to see the track is still open and races are still being held there.” -Richard Petty, The King and seven time NASCAR Champion
“The Lightning Lap on VIR’s Grand Course is the closest thing to Nordscheife ‘Ring’ benchmark in Germany!” To preview the 2019 Lightning Laps click here>> — “One of the Top 6 Road Courses in the U.S.A.”
“VIR is a very special place to me because it feels like home.  Granted the facility is only a couple hours away from where I live and our BimmerWorld facility, so VIR is our home track, but it goes deeper than that.  A winding road through the rolling Virginia mountains is what I grew up driving on, and sometimes at similar speeds if I’m honest.  The scenery with the architecture of the facilities and some of the historic structures, and most importantly the Southern hospitality of the staff just make it an amazing place to be.  The fact that it happens to be a world-class facility and one of my absolute favorite tracks is the big ball of icing on the cake!” – James Clay, driver of the No. 82 BimmerWorld M4 GT4
“ I love VIR and let me tell you why. VIR is a world class track, I mean the part you drive on. The track layout is from the old days when tracks have personality and a fantastic flow. It is of course FIA approved, a great visual drive with rolling hills elevation changes, great pavement and gorgeous views. VIR has that and so much more with shooting range, karting, VIR Kids Club, lodging (rooms right over garages, nice hotel overlooking the esses or high end villas overlooking the high speed esses) and the Oak Tree Tavern restaurant, all in the middle of a forest. Whenever I go to VIR I never leave the property the entire event. The number 1 reason I love VIR is simply the people there that make it so special, the staff is like family and will make you feel at home!” -David Murry, former IMSA driver and driver development and coaching
“ What I love about VIR can be so many things… *My first professional win in GrandAm competition at VIR is a special memory. *Having the privilege of calling VIR my home track while being considered as a world renowned circuit. *When driving through the front gates at VIR with all the friendly faces, truly feeling like its home away from home. *The complex and balanced nature of the circuit offering tight technical sections while also having some of the quickest combination of corners in the US.” -Tom Long, Mazda Motorsports factory driver, driving coach and developmental driver ________________________________________________________________________________ “ I’ve been racing at VIR since the first year it reopened and in addition to it being one of my favorite tracks on the planet, it is also run and managed by some of the best people in the sport that are both thoughtful and forward thinking VIR has an awesome combination of high speed corners, elevation changes and difficult brake zones all mixed together and it produces excellent racing in every kind of car.” -Andy Lally , WeatherTech Sportscar Championship driver
“VIR represents everything that’s right about racing, both present and past. The track is one that truly challenges drivers with a combination of fast and slow corners, elevation changes, and sections like the esses that simply would never be built today. Yet despite all the high speed sections VIR is one of the safest tracks on the planet given how seriously the staff takes the task of protecting drivers and fans. VIR is also one of the best places to spend a weekend watching racing. They host great events that are fan and family friendly with a staff that goes out of their way to make the guest experience unforgettable. From top to bottom VIR does it right. It’s the venue I look forward to going to most each year.” -Spencer Pumpelly, Porsche specialist and driver coach
“It’s just a great track… it doesn’t get any better!” -Boris Said, driver with wins in many of the most prestigious races including 24 Hours of Daytona (1997 & 1998), 12 Hours of Sebring (2004), Rolex Sports Car Series GT Class Champion (2004), 24 Hours of Nurburgring (2005)
“Here, I’ve got something special. I have to say this is my favorite [circuit] here in America.” — Giancarlo Fisichella, driver of the No. 62 Ferrari GTLM car during the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at VIRginia International Raceway August 22-24, 2014
“I loved running at VIR…it’s fun, challenging and fast. You come off that last turn before the Esses and then hold on. If everything is right you’ve got a fast straight shot. If not, you’ve got to sort it out and get through there as quick as you can. You really need to keep your wits about you. I’m looking forward to going back.” — Tomy Drissi, driver of the No. 9 RSR Taken 2 Prototype Challenge Car during the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón at VIRginia International Raceway September 15, 2012
“It is a wild track. It is very fast, daunting in a lot of areas and narrow. It is fun to drive on. To put a really good lap together around VIR is definitely thrilling. You certainly make sure your belts are tight because there some super high-speed edgy areas.” — Scott Sharp, Driver for Extreme Speed Motorsports Tequila Patrón Ferrari
“This is a real drivers track – so we knew the team would run strong here – as both Chris Cumming and Michael Valiante love the challenges that go with a fast and flowing, high-commitment layout like VIR.” —Harrison Brix, JDX Racing co-owner at the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón
“The Lightning Lap on VIR’s Grand Course is the closest thing to Nordscheife ‘Ring’ benchmark in Germany!” To preview the 2016 Lightning Laps click here>> — Car and Driver Magazine
“The layout of the [VIR] circuit is great. It has a little bit of everything from elevation changes, quick corners, long straights and technical sections that make it very fun to drive. It really offers a great variety.” — Klaus Graf shares the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a with Lucas Luhr in the American Le Mans Series Note: The VIR track record of 1.36.310 was broken by Klaus Graf driving the Muscle Milk Pickett No.6 P1 with a 1.35.434
“One of the Top 6 Road Courses in the U.S.A.” – Car and Driver Magazine
“VIR is a great facility and I have been involved with some great races there. I fully expect the ALMS event to be one of the best, if not the best, they have ever seen. There are tons of places for the fans to watch and enjoy the race and the track is not short of good passing zones. There is action everywhere for the fans and the drivers. Over four hours of racing, this should be a memorable event for the Series.” — Bryan Sellers, driver of the Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the American Le Mans Series
“VIR is bad to the bone. This place is really fast, challenging and an enormous amount of fun and rewarding when you get it right. For Ed to have been pacing the kind of laps he was doing here at what we would consider the most difficult track we’ve been to so far, I’m proud of him. He did a great job.” — Guy Cosmo, driver of the No. 02 Tequila Patrón Ferrari 458 Italia, co-driven by Ed Brown, during the ALMS race at VIR September 15, 2012
“It’s a really beautiful track. Really beautiful part of the country. Very challenging. It’s a very fast track.” — Patrick Dempsey, Grand-Am Racer
“I think this is the most interesting and fun race track that’s been built in this country.” — Carroll Shelby
“Truly one of the world’s best race courses!” — Chris Economaki
“VIR is one of the highest speed tracks we test at in the U.S.  It has many configurations that provide the turn combinations and speeds required to fully test our powertrains to the extreme limit.” — Luke Sewell, Energy/Powertrain Integration for Performance Car – General Motors
“The combination of high-speed aerodynamic turns and low-speed finesse turns at VIR provide a very complete package when you’re tuning a car. VIR is without question my favorite racetrack in the country with facilities that are second to none.” — Jim Mero, Corvette Suspension Vehicle Dynamics – General Motors
“I love driving VIR’s different configurations, with a track surface that has consistent grip levels and is so well maintained. VIR offers the greatest challenge for man and machine in North America.” — Aaron Link, Vehicle Dynamics Engineer for the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – General Mot
“It’s very technical, twisty and demanding on drivers in all aspects,” says Porsche North American Porsche 911RSR pilot Patrick Long. “It kind of radiates old-school sports car racing. The heritage of the beginning of sports car racing really lives at VIR.” Long’s favorite section comes towards the end of the lap, called The Hogpen: “It’s descending down into the final three corners before the front straightaway. The amount of modulation in the brake and loading and unloading of the car to get it to change direction and ride the curbs is a ballet you don’t regularly see anymore.” — Patrick Long, America’s only Porsche factory racing driver
” I have been on almost every race track in Europe within the last 30 years and on a couple outside of Europe, but the overall package of VIR is the best I have ever seen.” — Thomas Gruber, Legendary Porsche Driver