Every time we come to VIR, I always believe that we are in for one wild ride… I mean, just look at the place!
Seventeen very difficult corners ranging from technical, low grip, off camber, decreasing radius to absolutely balls-to-the-wall high speed climbing esses that, without any hesitation, could throw you into a place you really don’t want to be quite quickly.
I love this place for that very reason; yet another old school race track that follows the natural terrain, has lots of character and one hell of a story. Either way, this latest trip to VIR did not disappoint!
Arriving on Wednesday afternoon, it was interesting to see what changes had been made to the track since this most recent re-pave.
Nothing really stuck out to me too much aside from a few corners with sealer down already and the general idea in your head that the track was going to pick up grip throughout the weekend and hopefully not it’s own asphalt.
Fortunately having been to VIR many times before, I was confident in what could possibly be accomplished in our Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo as well as the Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
Promoter test days are far and few between these days but luckily we had the opportunity to test both cars all day on Thursday.
As track conditions will always change dramatically throughout the first two days of a race weekend, we didn’t focus on finding the ideal set-up with our cars right away.
Rather, our goal was to get re-acclimated to the track, get a feel for the new pavement, and at least get an idea of the tuning direction that we would like to follow for the official practice day on Friday.
Unfortunately, the No. 10 Prestige Performance Huracan Super Trofeo was experiencing some significant power steering issues which was solved later on in the day to get Craig some solid seat time in that beast.
Fortunately for us, Jordan Taylor decided to bless us with his presence in order to help us peasant Super Trofeo drivers out, although the WTR Corvette Daytona Prototype was not in attendance.
Jordan hasn’t driven the Huracan Super Trofeo too much, but his experience and ability to critique our driving just through observation was definitely a big help all throughout practice and qualifying.
Super Trofeo Race 1 fell directly in the middle of Saturday morning in the already blazing Virginia heat.
In terms of track conditions, it wasn’t too much of a surprise to us that our pace and the overall grip level remained relatively similar in the increased temperatures purely because of how new the surface of the road was.
After qualifying and starting third for race one, we ran in the third position throughout a first stint plagued by full course yellows until it was time for me to hand the car off to Craig.
In a solid stint, Craig held on to third overall until about 10 minutes to go when the raging bull saw red and decided we just had to do our best to bring it home in one piece.
Final result: fourth overall and third in class, really a very solid race for us considering that we had a few items with the car that needed to be addressed for race two.
Later on in that honestly disgusting Virginia humidity, Bodymotion Racing, Cameron Cassels, and myself were really gunning hard to get back up on the top step of the podium. We showed some really outstanding pace in practice and worked very hard on the car and ourselves as a team to give us the best possible shot at another win.
Well, after rolling off the grid in sixth and Cam getting one hell of a start, mother nature decided that us folks at VIR were having entirely too much fun on that nice new pavement and wanted to change it up a bit… or a lot for that matter.
Out of all of my years at racetracks around the United States of America, I have never, ever seen a storm pop out of nowhere like that with the same intensity as this one did in the CTSC race. Between all of the rain and the dangerously close lightning strikes, it’s really something that nobody was hurt or went off track in any sort of significant fashion.
That race saw an immediate red flag and we were parked not knowing what was going on for almost a full hour.
The storm had let up quite a bit by the time I got into the car and the race went green again. I absolutely love racing in the rain, especially when you’ve got a great car underneath you, so slowly chipping away at the gap between myself and the GS leaders was challenging yet really, really fun.
After moving into third, we caught the No. 15 GT350R-C right at the last lap and after doing everything I could to get around (including a few almost off track excursions), we had to settle for third.
With that said, Cameron and I were thrilled with the result considering how extreme the weather was and the fact that our Porsche was still in one piece.
Luckily Sunday was much cooler and the Prestige Performance/WTR crew had made some changes to our car that Craig and I were curious to feel out.
After starting eighth, Craig made a run up to fourth overall in another opening stint that saw significant time behind the safety car. Seeing our pace was much better than the day before, I was certainly ready to take the fight to the Pro-Am leaders.
Fortunately the great strategic calls by our team put us right into second place overall for the final 20 minutes of the race.
We had a great shot at trying to take home our second overall win of the year, but between another full course caution and a super fast Shinya Michimi, we again settled for another overall podium and win in the Pro-Am category.
I know, a bit long winded here but I’m always excited to share my take on these race weekends. A huge, huge thank you to both the Bodymotion Racing and Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing teams for all of their long hours and hard work in the miserable heat.
Also, a big thank you to Cameron Cassels and Craig Duerson for once again giving it all they had behind the wheel – I’m a lucky guy to be sharing race cars with both drivers.
Finally, a big thanks to our partners Cassels Racing, Trim-Tex Drywall Products, and the Prestige Family of Fine Cars for all of their support with these programs. See you all in COTA!