VIRginia International Raceway is announcing that illustrious racecar driver Lyn St. James will serve as Grand Marshal for the Michelin GT Challenge, the track’s largest race of the year taking place Sunday, Aug. 25 during the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship weekend. St. James, who was voted as one of IMSA’s “50 Great Drivers” last year, held 31 international and national closed-circuit speed records over a 20-year period and is also the only woman to win an IMSA GT race driving solo. As IMSA celebrates its 50th year as North America’s premier sports car racing series, it’s a perfect tribute to the anniversary to have a true champion like St. James give the command for the headlining event at VIR.
At the Michelin GT Challenge, St. James will deliver the iconic command, “Drivers, start your engines!” as the competitors prepare to top speeds of 190 miles per hour during the two-hour, 40-minute race on the track’s historic 3.27-mile full course. St. James will also be available for fan meet and greets, autograph signings and photo opportunities throughout the day.
“We are thrilled to have such a distinguished female driver such as Lyn St. James kick off our fan-favorite Michelin GT Challenge race,” said Connie Nyholm, owner and CEO of VIR. “As one of the only female majority track owners, I’m passionate about celebrating the women drivers that have and continue to make waves in this male dominated sport. St. James knows firsthand how adrenaline-pumping these GT races are, and we can’t wait for her to rev up the drivers and crowd on our final day of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship weekend.”
St. James has paved the way for women in racing and during her career she competed in 62 IMSA GT races, winning six times while recording 17 top-5 and 37 top-10 finishes. She became the first women to win Rookie of the Year honors at the Indianapolis 500 when she did so in 1992, and she also competed in 15 Indy races and 53 SCCA Trans-Am races throughout her career. Her achievements also include being honored as one of Sports Illustrated For Women’s “Top 100 Women Athletes of the 20th Century” and getting inducted into the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame in 2017.
“It is a true honor to be chosen as the Grand Marshal for the Michelin GT Challenge during IMSA’s 50th year of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship,” said Lyn St. James. “Any racing enthusiast knows how iconic the VIR track is and this race weekend will put some of the best drivers out there to the test. I’m looking forward to an incredible experience reuniting with my racing roots and being a part of all the action, just not behind the wheel this time.”
Advanced tickets for the Michelin GT Challenge race weekend are $60 for Friday-only, $65 for Saturday-only, $70 for Sunday-only, $80 for a two-day Saturday and Sunday ticket, and $90 for a three-day ticket. Children 16 and under are admitted free of charge with a paying adult and parking is also free. Active military are admitted free of charge and veterans receive a 50 percent discount with valid military ID. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.virnow.com or call (434) 822-TIKS.
About VIRginia International Raceway
VIRginia International Raceway is one of America’s premier road courses, offering professional and amateur racing for modern and vintage classes while providing contemporary resort amenities. A prominent test facility for the automotive industry, VIR has the distinction of being named one of the top six courses in North America by Car and Driver Magazine, and southern roots and hospitality make it one of the friendliest. Conveniently located at the Virginia/North Carolina border, VIR is just a short two-hour trip from Richmond and about an hour and 15 minutes from both the Piedmont-Triad and Raleigh-Durham International Airports.
VIR visitors enjoy a full onsite resort, complete with amenities such as lodging, dining, an exclusive driver’s club, karting, off-road racing, shooting sports, skid pad and more. VIR’s hospitality features also make the property an unparalleled venue for corporate retreats, team building, special events and other group experiences. For more information, visit www.VIRnow.com, Facebook or Twitter.
The International Motor Sports Association, LLC (IMSA) was originally founded in 1969 and owns a long and rich history in sports car racing. Today, IMSA is the sanctioning body of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the premier sports car racing series in North America. IMSA also sanctions the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and the IMSA Prototype Challenge, as well as four one-make series: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama; Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama; Ferrari Challenge North America; and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. IMSA – a company within the NASCAR family – is the exclusive strategic partner in North America with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) which operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The partnership enables selected IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitors to earn automatic entries into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. For more information, visit www.IMSA.com, www.twitter.com/IMSA or www.facebook.com/IMSA.
About Michelin North America
Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, Earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks and motorcycles. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelinman.com) employs more than 22,650 and operates 20 major manufacturing plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.