VIR offers world class racing in local area

If there’s one thing Altavista man Jim Funderburk loves it’s Corvettes! He currently owns a 1989 Vette and a 2006 model. “I don’t have any plans to buy the new one coming out,” he jokes when talking about the gorgeous 2020 C8 mid-engine Corvette that has been redesigned and is rumored to be pre-sold out for its first production year.

He was up in Carlisle, Pennsylvania at a big Corvette show on August 25 when he was reminded that back in his own area, VIR was holding the GT Challenge race in two days.

He got back down here and recruited his son, Nathan, to come to the exciting day of racing at VIR. Nathan suggested bringing the grandkids along to make the day even more memorable. 

So what exactly is VIR? It stands for Virginia International Raceway and is located just a short drive south of Altavista in Alton, just east of Danville.

After being open for a number of years as one of the country’s first permanent racetracks, the track fell into disuse for a few years and reverted to farmland until Connie Nyholm and Harvey Siegel decided to leave their high profile careers in New York real estate and resurrect VIR.

The website shares “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.”

Within two years of reopening, VIR began hosting the top professional sports car and motorcycle racing series in America, as well as welcoming back the amateur racers of the SCCA, whose North Carolina Region was thrilled to have their “home track” back.”

In early 2013, Siegel retired from ownership, and Nyholm became one of the only female majority owners of a racetrack in the country. Under her guiding hands, VIR has received international acclaim as one of the world’s most beautiful and challenging circuits, and continues to push the envelope of how a racetrack is viewed.

For more on this story, see this week's Altavista Journal