During the summer, the infamous Oak Tree at Virginia International Raceway fell, broken at the base.
AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The famous Oak Tree at Virginia International Raceway has fallen, broken at the base.
Rumors ran through Twitter today, stirring a frenzy of questions and snarky comments after word escaped that someone wrecked a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at the Virginia International Raceway today.
Well, it turns out that the rumors were true and the wrecker was Top Gear USA consulting producer Aaron Gold. The picture appeared on Gold’s Facebook page, along with comments that he was OK and that the damage, according to GM, was purely cosmetic.
While we’re not shedding any tears of the auto giant having to fix one of their latest and greatest, it’s pretty funny when these sorts of incidents make the news. After all, press cars are put through automotive hell on a regular basis and these things happen with relative frequency.
While it’s never good to crash a car, it’s probably better to do it when there’s a chance the manufacturer will pick up the repair tab. We’re glad nobody got hurt.
[Source: Facebook via Jalopnik]
Earlier this year, we heard word that RealTime Racing would be making the jump to the World Challenge GTS class. And just like that, in what was supposed to be a much more competitive class with even faster cars, RealTime driver and company owner Peter Cunningham has maneuvered his No. 43 RTR Acura TSX all the way to the top yet again. This is Cunningham’s sixth drivers’ championship making him the most decorated driver in World Challenge.
And yes, there is still one event left in the World Challenge Series for the year, but Cunningham and RealTime Racing have been so successful in the GTS class that they can now simply just have some fun in the finale and not have to worry about losing the championship. Cunningham also managed to turn in the fastest GTS lap of the day with a time of 2:09.907 and now has 40 career wins.
So what lies ahead for Cunningham and his RealTime Racing team? We’re not sure, but we’re hoping they find a way to make it even more challenging for the competition and showing off just how refined their racing program truly is.
Dodge head honcho Ralph Gilles took a brand new Viper ACR-X around Virginia International Raceway not long ago, and decided to film his exploits.
With Powertrain Communications Manager Nick Cappa as his passenger/videographer, Gilles managed to hit a peak speed of 165 mph and turn a 1 minute, 35 second lap time. The ACR-X sheds 160 pounds and gains 40 horsepower over the “normal” ACR (for a total of 640 horsepower), making it one seriously quick machine.
Here’s a story that is certainly going to get the rumors of Volkswagen‘s involvement in NASCAR started. Last week two-time DTM Champion Mattias Ekström was at Virginia International Raceway helping test a Red Bull Racing Toyota for the upcoming NASCAR race at Sonoma.
The reason for the odd match isn’t about NASCAR ambitions says Audi, but rather a driver’s dream and a sponsors request. That’s right, Red Bull Racing is the main sponsor for the No. 82 and No. 83 Toyotas in NASCAR, as well as the main sponsor for Ekstrom’s Audi DTM car. No. 83 driver Brian Vickers was ill and the car still needed to be tested, and according to Audi, Red Bull Racing USA remembered Ekstrom’s interest in NASCAR and made the request to Audi Sport.
“It’s no secret that the NASCAR series fascinates me and that it’s been a long-harbored dream of mine to drive such a car,” said Mattias Ekström, commenting after the test that, “The first hour of the test I was fighting the car a lot just getting used to the power, the weight and the fact that the car has little aero — all things that are very different for me. A few hours into the test I felt a lot more comfortable in the car and overall I think we had a really good test. I came into this test not having any experience in these types of cars, and also having never worked with the No. 83 team before, so it was really nice to see how well we all worked together. I really enjoyed my first Sprint Cup test and am glad to have had this opportunity.”
Er…. did he just say “first” test? We think so. Gentlemen, start your rumors.
[Source: Audi and RedBullRacingUSA.com]
Official release after the jump:
Virginia International Raceway has long been a staple of road racing in North America, having been an unofficial home for Car and Driver’s vehicle testing for many years.
Ford recently wanted to show off the track prowess of the new and improved 2011 Mustang GT500, and where else but VIR is appropriate to let the public see what Ford’s baddest muscle car can do, and the end result was a lap that was nine seconds quicker than the outgoing model. There’s a wonderful V8 soundtrack, a nice example of how to steer a car around the track (keep those hands at 9 and 3, no shuffling the wheel) and lots of data for you track geeks.
Hit the jump to watch the GT500 in its natural environment.
So many cars are marketed on their performance potential, yet very few sports cars ever get driven they way they were intended. To do so in a legal environment involves going to the track, where the big boys get seperated from the poseurs very quickly.
The Nissan 370Z is one of the most coveted sports cars on sale today, but as Car and Driver magazine found out, it’s not exactly fit for track duty. It seems that Nissan intentionally fit underachieving brake pads to the Nismo 370Z (ostensibly the high performance model) in an effort to minimize brake dust and noise.
Car and Driver later found out that although the pads themselves are not the best for track work, the real problem was that the brake fluid was boiling, meaning that the brake calipers were unable to properly clamp the rotors. Upon further research, the magazine found that the fluid is the same type used in some very high performance machinery, and came to the conclusion that in a quest for better fuel economy, the aerodynamics of the car were compromised, preventing a set of proper brake cooling ducts from being installed. If you’ve ever seen a real race car, you’ll know that their brake cooling ducts look like some kind of industrial HVAC piping, which gives a clue to how important they are.
[Source: Car and Driver]