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There’s More to See at VIR with Expanded Viewing, Camping Areas

The Spectator Areas from Turn 2 to Turn 5 Open for the First Time This Week

By John Oreovicz

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – With a 1,300-acre footprint, VIRginia International Raceway is the largest property that the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship visits.

For perspective, Road America, which at 4.048 miles is the longest circuit on the schedule, measures 640 acres. Daytona International Speedway is laid out on 480 acres.

Now, fans will be able to access even more of VIR’s spacious grandeur.

This weekend’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR is the first event open for spectator viewing and tent camping on the outside of the circuit (driver’s left, or across from track concessions) from Turn 2 to Turn 5.

The change comes in addition to another new spectator and camping area that opened in 2021 at the south end of the track, from halfway down the backstretch to near the undulating section known as the Rollercoaster. VIR features more than 150 feet of elevation change.

“There’s a ton of viewing areas at this track, much of it due to our topography,” said Mike Rose, VIR’s director of marketing. “It’s an easily navigable track, our spectator parking areas are inside and outside the perimeter of the racetrack and you can pull up right on the fence line for great viewing right from your car.”

Rose is excited to show off the improvements to VIR, which opened in 1957 and is unique in that it allows the facility to run multiple events simultaneously. This weekend, for example, while the WeatherTech Championship and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge run on the 17-turn, 3.27-mile “Full Course” layout that features memorable corner names like Left Hook, Snake and Hog Pen, Michelin is offering the chance for fans to take free hot laps on the 1.1-mile Patriot Course tucked inside the Full circuit.

The land upon which VIR is laid out was once farmland, and the character of the property has been tastefully preserved. The facility contains shooting ranges that, when cars are not on track, function as training grounds for multiple government agencies.

“It’s much, much more than a racetrack,” Rose said. “We have a full-service restaurant in the 1840s plantation home from the original family, which we have completely restored.

“We’ve also had on-site lodging for 15 years, with approximately 60 rooms in different configurations,” he added. “For example, it’s really cool to stand on your balcony and be overlooking pit lane.”

Rose is curious whether the expanded camping and spectator areas will entice longtime VIR spectators and campers to seek out a new vantage point, or if they will stick with their traditional favorite.

“It’s great how people have their own special spot that they return to every year,” he said. “But there’s so much new to see. No one has ever been able to watch from outside Turn 2 before. And the new open section at the south end gives a fantastic view of the maximum speed the cars go at VIR and the differences between multiple classes in race traffic.”

While spectator amenities continue to evolve, what has stayed the same at VIR for nearly 70 years is the racetrack itself.

“What makes the iconic tracks like Road America, Lime Rock and Mid-Ohio so special is what makes our track special,” Rose observed. “It’s the original 1957 racing line. It’s been repaved, obviously, and it’s been widened in certain locations.

“VIR is for anyone who enjoys the true nostalgia of a natural terrain road course,” he added. “The IMSA weekend is always the biggest platform we have all year, and we really try to take advantage of it.”

Action at VIR starts Friday with five IMSA-sanctioned series in competition. The Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, the WeatherTech Championship race, caps off the weekend starting at 2:10 p.m. ET Sunday. Tickets are available at virnow.com.

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