Virginia International Raceway
Virginia International Raceway (commonly known as "VIR") is a race track located in Alton, Virginia, near Danville. It is less than a half-mile from the North Carolina/Virginia border just outside Milton, North Carolina, on the banks of the Dan River. VIR hosts amateur and professional automobile and motorcycle events, driving schools, club days, and private test rentals.
VIR offers six track configurations, of which two can be run simultaneously. The "Full Course" is 3.27 miles in length while the "Patriot Course" stretches for 1.1 miles entirely inside the Full Course. The "North Course" is 2.25 miles long and the "South Course" covers a distance of 1.65 miles. Both consist of a portion of the "Full Course" and short connecting sections that connect to portions of the "Patriot Course" to produce the two courses that can run simultaneously. There is a second pit complex that is used only when running the "South Course". The longest configuration, "Grand East Course", is 4.2 miles long, and combines most of the "Full Course" and most of the "Patriot Course" by means of two of the short sections of connecting track used to make the "South Course" and "North Course". There is also another, seldom run, long configuration called the "Grand West Course" that uses the other two short connecting sections between the "Full Course" and the "Patriot Course." Car and Driver magazine has an annual test of fast cars called "The Lightning Lap" using the "Grand West Course". Since the Patriot course is contained completely inside the Full Course, they can be run simultaneously.
The "Full Course" is the most common configuration. One of the most notable sections of the course, second only to "Oak Tree" (T11), are the "Climbing Esses" which consist of an initial left up-hill (T7), followed by a right which crests at the apex then dropping slightly into a left (T8) which again crests at the apex dropping slightly, and then up into a final left (T9). The complexity and difficulty of this section is multiplied by the incredible entry speed because of a straight section leading into the Climbing Esses. This is followed by a cresting blind left hand turn (T10), "South Bend", that finishes in a steep downward slope. Another signature section is the "Roller Coaster" (T14) which is a scaled-down mirror image to the famed "Corkscrew" at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
There are two main straights on the track. The front straight is approximately 3000 ft long while the back straight is approximately 4000 ft long. While the back straight is 33% longer, the front straight is where higher speeds are reached since "Hog Pen" (T17) leads onto it and is a much faster corner than "Oak Tree" (T11), which leads onto the longer back straight. There is 130 ft of elevation change throughout the course.
Some of the raceway's other named curves include "Oak Tree", "Horse Shoe", "NASCAR Bend" (because NASCAR drivers Richard Petty, David Pearson and Wendell Scott had difficulties there during a 1966 Trans Am race), "Snake", "Spiral", "Fish Hook", and "The Bitch".