GT TAKEOVER at VIR // 2015 Oak Tree Grand Prix

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Photos: Mike Raffia & Zach Lumley

Words: Mike Raffia

IMSA has two distinct types of events on the schedule this year. The two types of events are those that have prototypes and those without. The prototypes are as fast as you can imagine and they bring the biggest names out, like the Wayne Taylor’s or Chip Ganassi’s of the racing world, but they look nothing like street cars we’re able to drive, so they’re not quite as relateable as the GT cars fans love.

Virginia International Raceway hosted the Oak Tree Grand Prix late in August, welcoming a massive GT only field to the Virginia countryside for what could only be called a GT takeover. Under the bright blue sky over VIR there were seven series events in a single weekend. VIR pulled off some serious logistical feats making 7 series worth of GT efforts fit into paddock at the same time.

The Porsche GT3 cup is the home of the gentlemen driver. Lamborghini Super Trofeo features a good mix of seasoned pros and determined weekenders. One make series are intensely competitive and a little reckless. There was even a one make Maserati Super Trofeo event, yet another GT style series, that proved to have some very tight racing when it managed to stay under a green flag.

Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge raced on Saturday and the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship highlighted track action Sunday with a classic 3 hour afternoon sprint race. What is football again? I wouldn’t know because this is so much better a way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The big story of the weekend was Porsche Racing NA taking first and second in the biggest race of the weekend, in the top class running, Tudor United SportsCar Championship GTLM class. Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet captured first coming all the way from, well first actually. They qualified the #911 Porsche 911 RSR for the pole on Saturday night and their teammates Jorg Bergmiester and Earl Bamber pulled off a similar feat qualifying in second and staying there for the full three hour sprint around VIR.

Joining this crew of front runners, Risi Competizione with the number 62 F458 Italia held onto third the entire way. Team RLL with their pair of gorgeous Z4 GTE’s held 4th and 5th from qualifying to finish. Not until 7th place was there single position change. In these sprint race events that seems like a remarkable story that there wasn’t a single botched pit stop or blown tire throwing any of the top cars off their leading paces.

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