HD RADIO EVENT PREVIEW: VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Round 8 of the 2017 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge sees CJ Wilson Racing return to the site of its maiden GS class victory. Last year, Marc Miller and Danny Burkett took victory in a heavily rain affected race and the #33 car is back to defend its title. The last time Damien Faulkner raced at VIR, he also took victory so the competition between the #33 and #35 CJWR cars should be intense all weekend.
Sitting in third place just eight points off the Championship lead, Marc Miller and Till Bechtolsheimer know that they are still very much in the title hunt, but they also are aware that one mistake could cost them any chance of taking the title.
"Last year we earned a hard fought win in wet conditions at VIR and naturally we would have no issue with the exact same result," explained Miller. The Holland, Michigan resident has no illusions about the task ahead. "Reality though points to an even stronger field of GT4 cars and we can't rely on poor weather for a level playing field. We are looking forward to a test day to put our Unit Nutrition Cayman through its paces and hopefully have a car that can compete for the win in wet or dry conditions come race day."
For Bechtolsheimer, the unique challenge of VIR's 3.7 miles and seventeen turns has to be met head on before he can start to think about Saturday's two-hour race. "VIR is the last of the circuits on the Conti calendar that I have yet to go to, I’ve heard great things so I can’t wait to try it out for myself. With only three races left we are still in the Championship hunt but we can’t afford for anything to go wrong and we really need a solid result - No pressure then!"
The drivers of the #35 enter the weekend from contrasting ends of the track knowledge spectrum. For Damien Faulkner, VIR is a happy hunting ground. "VIR holds fond memories for me as I won the last IMSA GTC race to be held here. I even have a piece of the famed Oak Tree to prove it! It’s a beautiful facility, full of character and packs a good punch, to boot."
Russell Ward is in a similar position to Bechtolsheimer, having to learn the track as quickly as he can before focusing on setting fast times. Despite this being his first visit to the track, the Texan has long been a fan of the VIR layout. "With all the elevation changes, VIR will be exciting. It will be a new track for me, so I'm looking forward learning it."