The last weekend of April has become the regular Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series date at Virginia International Raceway and this year, I got to go back for all the action after missing it last year. A friend of mine - Matt and I headed up to the track for the Saturday action including the Rolex cars Bosch Engineering 250 race. This was their second race of the season and their first since the 24 Hours of Daytona back in January.
Also on the schedule were races from the Formula BMW and VW Jetta TDI Cup series; neither of which I had seen race live before. The weather forecast predicted a hot, 90+ degree and sunny day and for once, the weather report was accurate and we had a full day of sunny skies and low humidity.
As part of the promotion for the TDI Cup, we got into a tour group to tour the garage and learn about the Jetta TDI and the racers that compete in them. After the tour, I can tell you this attractive German car with a quiet yet powerful and efficient clean diesel engine is very appealing and is now on my short list for our next new car purchase. After all, it's engine is based on the technology developed in the Audi R15 TDI that dominated the American Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans the past several years.
After a morning strolling and roaming the paddock area, we settled on the hill with a cooler of brew for the 2 hour and 45 minute race. This year's race was no different that the last two Grand Am races at VIR as the cars ran close together and many prototypes stayed on the lead lap as the battled for the win. In the end, the Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype driven by Alex Gurney and 2007 series champion; son of the great American race Dan Gurney passed for the win on the next to last lap while Scott Pruett's Lexus Riley was bumped off course in turn 2 as they raced for the finish.
The second place finisher; Michael Valiante in a Ford Riley who had also spun early in the race, battled back to the front by the end. I caught his spin on video; well - sort of, with my camera during the start.
It was another great day at VIR - if only more big name series raced there. The AMA Superbikes will be back in August and the Grand Am Koni Challenge Series in October so get out there for them and let me know what you think.