- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
VIRginia International Raceway will host its biggest professional road racing event of the season this weekend when the stars and cars of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series converge on VIR for the Bosch Engineering 250. The three-day event, which begins Friday with practice and qualifying, will be headlined by Saturday’s noon running of the Bosch Engineering 250 for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and the 3:30 p.m. running of the two and the Bosch Engineering 200 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Other events included on the weekend’s schedule are twin races for the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series, a race for the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge, a race for the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup and twin races for the Skip Barber National Championship Series.
The events will be run rain or shine.
In the Rolex Series, sports car legend Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas have the early season lead in the battle for the Daytona Prototype championship.
Joining Pruett and Rojas in the field for the Bosch Engineering 250 Daytona Prototype class among others are former Indy 500 and Datyona 24 hour winner Buddy Rice, series champion Alex Gurney, Daytona 24 winner David Donahue, former series champion Darren Law and Daytona 24 hour winner and former series champion Max Angelelli.
In GT competition, Mazda finished 1-2-3 to sweep the podium in the series’ most recent event as Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato scored their second consecutive victory.
Joining the lineup of all-star drivers in the GT Class are noted television and movie actor Patrick Dempsey, who is racing the No. 40 Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 and Randy Pobst in a Chevy Camaro.
VIR-based Synergy Racing is also entering a car in the GT Class with the well-renowned David Murry at the wheel. Joining GT competition for the first time this year will be the Ferrari F430 of Bennett Racing piloted by Skip Bennett and Michael Skeen.
The Bosch Engineering 200 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, which features both the Grand Sport and Street Tuner classes, is expected to have more than 60 cars take the green flag in what is expected to be a very close race.
The field contains a wide range of makes and models, from pony cars to Porsches and BMWs, Mini Coopers and more.
While the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup and Skip Barber National Championship series will be opening their seasons at VIR, the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge will be holding its second event of the 2010 season.
There will be plenty of things to see and do off the track as well. For younger kids, there will be a free Kids Zone with inflatable activities.
Fans will have a chance to meet the competing drivers during the Rolex Series driver autograph session, which will be held Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until 10:15 a.m.
In addition, fans can take part in a pre-race grid walk prior to Saturday’s Grand-Am race. There will be live music and no special passes will be needed.
Also on Saturday, fans can take part in a Drift Ride-Along at VIR’s Patriot Course. The cost is $10 per run with half of the proceeds going to charity.
Fans can take part in parade laps and rally cross. On Sunday, there will be a Gymkhana on the Skidpad. Special sessions at from 11 a.m. until noon and from 3 p.m.- 4 p.m. will let fans drive brand-new VW GTIs (space is very limited) for a special VW prize.
There will interactive displays including driver simulators in the paddock and vending areas. Also, fans can visit the Grand-Am Fanzone, learn about Grand-Am racing, and get behind the wheel of a racing simulator.