Good Time Shine Through at a Wet and Wild Time Trials National Tour at VIR

Good Time Shine Through at a Wet and Wild Time Trials National Tour at VIR

Take an iconic track like VIRginia International Raceway that can challenge even the most professional of road racing drivers, add in a spectacularly wet early spring Saturday, turn everyone loose on a dry Sunday for a shot at the win and, well, you’ve found the ultimate risk/reward (and team-building) situation at the Tire Rack SCCA Time Trials National Tour Powered by Hagerty event last weekend in Alton, VA.

Each one of the 128 drivers that turned laps on the March 9-10, 2024, weekend were genuinely up to the challenge, whether that challenge was the ultimate best time they could turn or just an exercise in smart decision making.

Shining Through

Jason Craver was as up to the challenge as anyone, topping the previous all-time best SCCA National Time Trials lap at VIR by a second and a half in his Lamborghini Huracan. Craver’s best lap during the weekend of 1:51.632 was better than the previous top time of 1:53.103 that Kyle Carrick turned in 2021, and more than two seconds faster than Craver went just a year ago. Kudos for that performance, and others who were able to better their own personal bests from past seasons.

Bumped to Sunday for the weather, a little rain couldn’t stop the car show hosted by Driver Motorsports, which you might know for its SEMA 2022 award-winning Nissan R32 GTR. Some of the coolest cars you may ever see – along with some of the coolest people coming to look at them – were on hand to add to the festivities.

Fully on display at VIR was the spirit of Time Trials. It’s often preached by the SCCA staff conducting the event that track days only truly work if everyone realizes that they’re on the same team. That became evident with one scoring session still to go for Heat 3. A fellow competitor asked the group in impound who still needed a chance at a best lap, and Andrew Lunsford raised his hand. The group agreed to be aware of his car, and he got four point-bys on the out lap. That space and awareness from “competitors” allowed him to set his best lap and take a class victory – and didn’t detract from anyone else’s enjoyment. In fact, that single goal brought the team of participants together.

VIR Victorious

While Craver stood on top of the overall KONI Podium celebration and in Unlimited 1, other marks were just as impressive. The class battle in Max 1 filled up the spaces behind Craver on the overall sheets while a trio of drivers got within shouting distance of their wins.

Below are the top five overall at VIR, with name, class, car, and top time from Sunday’s TrackAttack sessions:

1. Jason Craver, Unlimited 1, 2015 Lamborghini Huracan, 1:51.632
2. Allen Patten, Max 1, 2021 Toyota Supra, 1:58.008
3. Ido Waksman, Max 1, 2009 Chevrolet Corvette, 1:58.210
4. Eric Peachey, Max 1, 2008 Dodge Viper, 1:59.687
5. Jacob Glover, Sport 1, 2008 Chevrolet Corvette, 2:01.906

Plenty of the class battles were close, too, in addition to the Max 1 gang. Sport 2, 3, 4, and 5 all saw gaps of less than two seconds at VIR, which is a tight grouping for a twisty 3.2-mile course.

Sport 4, Sport 5, and Tuner 3 had less than a second between the top two finishers. Timothy Maxey and Heath Maxey were just 0.364sec apart in Mini Coopers (Sport 4), DJ Alessandrini’s Scion FR-S was just 0.87sec ahead of Lee Hill’s FR-S (Sport 5), and Andrew Lunsford’s Toyota GR86 was just 0.796sec better than Randall Prince’s BMW 335d (Tuner 3).

The tricky conditions didn’t stop lap records from falling. Here’s everyone who made their mark on the VIR TTNT lap record book:

Unlimited 1: Jason Craver, Lamborghini Huracan, 1:51.632
Unlimited 2: Ben Thorn, Honda Civic, 2:08.017
Max 3: Robert Wilmouth, Audi RS3, 2:02.840
Max 4: Nathan Trenor, Mazda Miata, 2:07.682
Max 5: Nicholas Johnston, Mazda Miata, 2:13.478
Tuner 2: Vito Jin, Toyota Supra, 2:06:472
Tuner 5: Ryan Carwile, Mazda Miata, 2:22.606
Sport 1: Jacob Glover, Chevrolet Corvette, 2:01.906
CSX: Daniel Lohan, Mazda MX-5, 2:25.498
CSM: Michael Bard, Ford Mustang, 2:14.899

Full event results can be found here.

Feeling Super

Several additional awards are given out at every stop on the Time Trials National Tour. On the track, Jeremiah Thomas piloted the quickest front-wheel-drive car, while Robert Wilmouth took the same honor for all-wheel drive. Craver was tops in rear-wheel drive (and, of course, overall).

Thomas also took home an additional award, named the top “Crossover” driver. Thomas’s typical SCCA discipline is autocross, but came to play on the big track at VIR this weekend.

Driving within your limits can actually lead to improvement, as Bryan Roberts found. Learning as he went, he improved 10 seconds from Sunday morning to Sunday afternoon to take home the Most Improved Driver trophy. Bryan Tripoli was named Top Novice for the event, continually improving throughout the weekend during his very first time on a racetrack and scoring second place in Sport 3.

Sometimes people go above and beyond to participate in Time Trials just because they love it, and Nikhil Kovelamudi was recognized for his efforts this week with the Spirit of Time Trials award. Kovelamudi drove his BMW 325i E30 from New York to the track, which many would already consider going “above and beyond.” An unfortunate rainy incident left him in the guardrail with front-end damage, but with the help of some friends, he drove to Raleigh, picked up a new radiator, got back on track on Sunday, scored second in Tuner 2, and then drove back home at the end of the event.

Event lead John Hunter also recognized that, while the TTNT Champion award couldn’t go to everyone, the entire group showed Champion Spirit during the weekend under challenging circumstances. Despite unfavorable weather, the entire Time Trials community came together to find a solution that worked for the event and allowed it to continue.

Next up: Road America, April 13-14, 2024. Join us!

Photo by Tradd Slayton