In 1955, a group of North Carolina car enthusiasts began their search for a possible racetrack location. They soon found the perfect site on the state line on land owned by the Foote Family and VIRginia International Raceway opened for business in August of 1957. The group leased the property as Sports Car Enterprises. VIR’s first official event was an SCCA race that attracted stars like Carroll Shelby, Carl Haas, Bob Holbert, Augie Pabst, Bob Grossman, Don Yenko, Dr. Dick Thompson, Walt Hansgen and Bruce Jennings. Shelby, who would later go on to worldwide fame by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959 and creating the iconic Cobra sports cars in the early 1960s, won that first feature race at VIR in a Maserati 450S.The lconic Texan uttered a quote about the track that is remembered to this day, “one lap at VIR is like a hundred at Watkins Glen.”
As one of the first permanent American road racing tracks, VIR soon became a fixture on the SCCA circuit and a favorite among racers due to its high-speed straights, challenging turns and dramatic elevation changes. However, being located in the heart of stock car racing country, VIR wasn’t able to attract the big road racing crowds like those enjoyed by Watkins Glen and Elkhart Lake.
As a result, Sports Car Enterprises was forced to relinquish its lease on the Foote family’s property in 1959. Danville’s Colonel Paul Rembold took over the lease and the track fell under the control of the Civil Air Patrol. Colonel Rembold and his track manager Henry Wallace were more successful in the operations through the 1960s, attracting thousands of fans to VIR’s sports car, motorcycle and kart races.
VIR reverted to farmland for 25 years until 1998 when investors Connie Nyholm and Harvey Siegel decided to leave their careers in New York real estate and resurrect VIR. Their vision for the weed-infested, overgrown facility was more expansive than anyone could have imagined. Reopening in 2000, the historic track was renovated to become a world-class road racing circuit repaved and widened, while still following the track’s original centerline. In addition, Nyholm and Siegel transformed VIR into America’s first “Motorsport Resort,” a unique combination of racetrack, lodging, dining, skeet shooting, pistol, and rifle ranges, karting and more.
Prior to the start of the 2014 season, Nyholm once again led the charge in initiating several updates at VIR including repaving the track’s Full Course for the first time since 1999, widening the track by six feet at several locations to allow easier passing, moving the start and finish line to just after pit row for better viewing for spectators, and paving the North Paddock to ensure an even and smooth surface for fans and drivers alike.Courtesy: VIR.
Track Length: 1957-74 Full Course - 3.270 miles / 5.262 km 2000-02 Full Course - 3.270 miles / 5.262 km North Course - 2.250 miles / 3.621 km South Course - 1.650 miles / 2.655 km 2003-2014 Full Course - 3.270 miles / 5.262 km Grand East Course - 4.200 miles / 6.759 km Grand West Course - 4.100 miles / 6.598 km North Course - 2.250 miles / 3.621 km South Course - 1.650 miles / 2.655 km Patriot Course - 1.100 miles / 1.770 km
The circuit is located in Virginia on the North Carolina border, Danville is approximately 12 miles east. Piedmont Triad International Airport at Greensboro, North Carolina, 70 miles to the south west of the track is the nearest international airport.
Vehicles can access VIR from Highway 58, exiting on to the Milton Highway south, through the community of Milton and then left onto Racetrack Road. VIR is on the left after one mile.
Parking is free at all VIR events.