Tag Archives: VIR

New Track, New Role! Working GT Challenge at VIR as Pit Fire Marshal

Another enjoyable experience working a new role as a Pit Fire Marshal at Virginia International Raceway for IMSA GT Challenge.

I was pretty excited to take advantage of an opportunity that presented itself to work a track where I had previously only been rejected to work as a flagger… I had a slight concern how I’d fit in among all the other “real” fire fighters on pit lane, as they typically are in places like Pocono where I worked last weekend as spectator marshal roaming the pit lane during IndyCar race and making sure VIP’s don’t get in the way of the teams working.

This time around I had to wear a red fire suit, nomex balaclava, a helmet, boots, etc. The full kit! It was stinken hot, but I enjoyed it more than any of my recent flagging experiences including the one day I spend on flags at VIR for this same event.

Pit Fire is a position I would definitely like to do again. It was awesome!

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The calm before the storm… when the Monsoon hit we had to take shelter in the Turner tent because everything else was getting washed out with heavy rain and lightning. The paddock was 2 inches deep under water… my shoes got wet which quickly resulted in blisters forming from walking… one of the track radios got a little wet and stopped working. But other than that I think we weathered the storm pretty well.

Next day it was just sun shine and lovely!

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Pit Boss thought I’d get a kick out of working the winner’s circle, victory lane… after the two winning cars (one for each class) just spent nearly 3 hours going flat out around the 3+ mile circuit, the chances of something sparking up were there… and luckily I was standing there with a fire bottle… keeping out of the reach of cameras to not end up on TV unnecessarily. It was great!

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Can’t wait to do this again! (somewhere)

vir fire rescue imsa gt challenge weekend in pit lane as pit fire marshal

Woo Hoo! I got to Flag at VIRginia International Raceway Leading into the Oak Tree Turn

I’m going to chalk this one up as an accomplishment. It’s been a while since I had my mind set on volunteering one of the big pro events at VIR… but lo and behold none of the contacts I reached out to were willing to help… in fact, people told me it was impossible to flag here unless you get a job with the track. And so I gave up on the idea.

Until of course I saw a Mazda Motorsport facebook post promoting the event and my desire to marshal here sparked up again.

I reached out to my “friends” in SCCA who as expected gave me the typical response: “Impossible!” It pissed me off to no end that the club I’m a part of and pay annual dues for does nothing to help. And by club I mean high ranking local club members like flag chiefs who wouldn’t lift a finger to help, but who are selfishly boasting that they are working this event because in addition to their role at SCCA they are also employed at the track… Gee good for them! I was hoping for a little bit of help but apparently there’s politics involved why VIR doesn’t rely on general SCCA membership. Except of course those that are SCCA and work for the track directly. Whatever!

I remembered the IMSA race control folks advertising the idea of working some of their other events at various IMSA races I’ve done earlier this year. So I jumped on the opportunity to reach out to them. And just as quickly I got an official response (my mail was forwarded onto the track) from VIR saying all positions were filled.

It wasn’t until someone from RSI, the club that staffs marshals for Watkins Glen International, posted about openings that still required staffing one week away from the race, that I got my chance to participate by reaching out. Once I was in, I was in… it was VIP treatment from then on. I had no trouble signing in, picking up my credentials, I even got the Paddock parking pass which came in very useful for my pre-race picture snapping during the promoter test day. It was fantastic. And it was at that time I learned they still needed more flaggers, and that’s what I’d be doing on Friday.

Great!

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I really enjoyed the flagging experience at VIR. The stations that I had seen and personally experienced were nice gazebo’s providing some much needed shade on a stinken hot southern summer day. They were elevated and provided excellent view from flag post to flag post. I was amazed with all the elevation changes around the track, and how many drivers found the turns challenging. We had quite a few spins I had to put a flag out for, and even a light impact.

It was great! I would love to have another opportunity to flag here again… but my favorite part was being in pit lane for the rest of the weekend… I’ll talk about it more in the next post, but will share some pix from day one, here:

camping at vir

Nice camping area near the north paddock, with a good shower and some trees providing much needed shade. I’m so glad the new tent held up under the monsoon we had on Saturday.

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global mx-5 cup racing at vir

I already shared the Global MX-5 Cup car pix, but there were also several NC MX-5’s racing in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.

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And some of my favorite shots above pit entry, looking from the second story above the pit garages.

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Post Card from Global MX-5 Cup Round at VIR: Virginia Int’l Raceway

My plans for this weekend were to check out the Millionth Miata Tour visiting the East Coast… my options were to go to Wayne, NJ for the NYC stop of the tour where the car would visit Wayne Mazda dealership or if that failed I could go to the Philadelphia stop where the tour would visit Easton Mazda in Pennsylvania…. I blew my chance! But instead I go to marshal the Global MX-5 Cup round at VIR – Virginia International Raceway (my first visit there!)

I came across a facebook post from Mazda Motorsports inviting owners to come join the Mazda Corral at VIR for the MX-5 Cup weekend and I figured I’d sign up… then I learned this was in support of the IMSA weekend and suddenly I knew it would be an uphill battle to even consider this event… I was convinced I’d be signing the Millionth Miata instead. But the stars aligned just right and there I was both flagging and playing pit fire marshal for the races. Freaking amazing!

Here’s some pix from the paddock from the day I arrived at VIR:

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And some action shots:

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It was an excellent weekend to go MX-5 Racing!

Post Card from Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway

I’m not sure if there’s an event in the US I wanted to do more than the IMSA race at VIR… now I’ve gone and done it!

And I’m really proud of the opportunity I had to participate in this amazing event at a really fantastic facility. I went from being treated like a reject to feeling like a VIP with the snap of the fingers. And I loved every minute of my experience there, including the full paddock access upon my arrival on Thursday, where I took a million pix of the various spec racers as well as the feature event machines.

Enjoy!

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And of course lots of Miata stuff!

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This was a weekend full of spec racers, from the Global MX-5 Cup to the Porsche GT3 Cup USA to Blancpain Lamborghini Super Trofeo.

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more to follow…

Spotter Guide for Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway by Andy Blackmore

I haven’t done these in forever, but thanks to Andy Blackmore and his Spotter Guides facebook page that alerts me every time he creates a new one, I’m happy to share the IMSA Michelin GT Challenge spotter guides for VIR next weekend… where I’ve weaseled my way to finally volunteer.

Yay!

Download the hi-res version of the spotter guide directly from Andy’s site: www.spotterguides.com/portfolio/16imsa/ or do what I do and follow him on facebook:  www.facebook.com/SpotterGuides/

Thanks Andy!

andy blackmore spotter guide vir virginia international michelin gt challenge

Oh and if you do go to the event, Andy is the official IMSA spotter guide maker, so pick up one of the booklets from the track. I have a whole collection of them now.

Update: Andy also added Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Porsche GT3 Cup spotter guides to the Download list:  www.spotterguides.com/portfolio/16_lambo_st_us/ Now if only he could create the Mazda MX-5 Cup spotter guide for us to have this or next season, I’d be real happy!

vir andy blackmore spotter guide michelin gt challenge virginia international raceway lamborghini super trofeo and porsche gt3 cup imsa

MotoAmerica Volunteer Request Form 2015 Season

For the Motorcycle Racing fans out there, MotoAmerica is recruiting marshals for the 2015 season taking place around a number of the famous road courses within the US. The tracks include: Circuit of the Americas, Road Atlanta, Virginia International Raceway, Road America, Barber Motorsports Park, Miller Motorsports Park, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the New Jersey Motorsports Park.

motoamerica schedule 2015 circuits
source: MotoAmerica.com

The Schedule for 2015 goes as follows:

Apr 10-12 Circuit of the Americas – Austin, Texas (Superbike/Superstock 1000 and Supersport as MotoGP support races)

Apr 17-19 Road Atlanta – Braselton, Georgia (Superbike/Superstock 1000, Supersport, Superstock 600)

May 15-17 Virginia International Raceway (VIR) – Danville, Virginia (Superbike/Superstock 1000, Supersport, Superstock 600)

May 29-31 Road America – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (Superbike/Superstock 1000, Supersport, Superstock 600, KTM RC Cup)

Jun 12-14 Barber Motorsports Park – Birmingham, Alabama (Superbike/Superstock 1000, Supersport, Superstock 600, KTM RC Cup)

Jun 26-28 Miller Motorsports Park – Tooele, Utah (Superbike/Superstock 1000, Supersport, Superstock 600, KTM RC Cup)

July 17-19 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Monterey, California (Superbike/Superstock 1000, Supersport, Superstock 600, KTM RC Cup as WSBK Support Race)

Aug 7-9 Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Indianapolis, Indiana * (Superbike/Superstock 1000, Supersport as MotoGP support races)

Sep 11-13 New Jersey Motorsports Park – Millville, New Jersey (Superbike/Superstock 1000, Supersport, Superstock 600, KTM RC Cup)

Source: http://www.motoamerica.com/2015-schedule

Oh and if the classes sound familiar it’s because you have seen this racing before especially if you’re a Motorcycle racing or MotoGP fan, because MotoAmerica is the new series that replaced AMA Superbike Championship series, for which I have participated myself  a few years at NJMP.

It’s an absolutely wonderful experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in marshaling.

Some of my favorite photos from past events:

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To register go ahead and visit:  www.motoamerica.com/motoamerica-needs-you

And download a PDF registration form that should be submitted with your availability at the circuit of your choice: www.motoamerica.com/sites/motoamerica.com/files/attachments/2015/03/motoamerica_volunteer_request_3.pdf

To read up more about MotoAmerica and AMA Superbike Championship check out their wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMA_Superbike_Championship

One of the coolest things I experienced pertaining to this series was hearing a Taiwanese marshal I worked the Singapore GP with rant and rave how much he likes to watch AMA Superbikes… and even though I worked the event several times I knew very little about it.