Hyperfest x Street Driven Tour x Tuner Evolution Take Over VIR
Words/Photography: Luke Munnell
Day 1: Business in the Front
Here’s a riddle: What begins with some NASA-sanctioned road racing, features two days of pro/pro-am drifting, a car show, monster truck and rally rides, even tractor racing, and ends in an explosive, fiery burnout contest? If you were at this year’s 16th-annual Hyperfest automotive extravaganza and third-annual Street Driven Tour at Virginia International Raceway, you’d know the answer all too well.
This magical combination of automotive debauchery again greeted East Coast and mid-Atlantic auto enthusiasts at southern Virginia’s VIR facility for two recent days, compete with a bigger schedule, packed with more events, attendees and participants, than in years past. And East Coast enthusiasts responded in kind, reasserting themselves as some of the most dedicated, die-hard, and carefree gearheads out there.
The fun began with a day of NASA-sanctioned road racing, featuring the Ultimate Track Car Challenge. Calling virtually all of the tech-passing cars out to the mat for one glorious day in the quest to don an ultimate “fastest track car,” the UTCC once again boasted a diverse field of competing machines—this time nearly 80 of them, spanning a wide variety of makes/models. Entrants included everything from a Super Unlimited Stock Camaro turning 10,000 rpm to a showroom-stock 2017 Viper ACR…
… to an immaculate 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL (kit … but still) and retro-styled Factory Five machine …
to an assortment of impressively quick, performance-modified, late-model foreign cars, imports and domestics.
If you click off a sub-two-minute lap throughout VIR’s 3.27 miles and 17 turns, you’re pretty fast. But once the final lap was clocked, the fastest of the day went to IMSA driver Eric Foss in the Mosing Motorcars-backed Riley Track Day racing prototype. Foss’ blistering 1:44.376 lap was good enough not only for the event win, but also a place in the history books under the fastest lap ever recorded in the UTCC’s 11-year history.
After the serious business of the Ultimate Track Car Challenge, it was time for the not-at-all-serious Barbie Car Challenge.
Think of this as a soapbox challenge for big kids. Engines, motors and rules of sportsmanship were left in the paddock, as participants squeezed into the Power Wheels-esque “vehicles” of their choice and gravity-raced each other through the downhill turns of VIR’s “rollercoaster” section, trying to usurp their foe whilst not dying on their sprint toward a crudely drawn finish line.
Many entered. Few finished. All had fun.
Day 2: Party in the Back
Saturday is traditionally the main day for Hyperfest, and true to form, event organizers made the absolute most of it. NASA racing persisted on the main course throughout the day, while the Street Driven Tour invited drifters with all qualifying machines and ability levels to join a select group of professionals on VIR’s smaller Patriot Course for a day of bash-style drifting.
Those pros—Vaughn Gittin Jr., Chelsea Denofa, Forrest Wang, Geoff Stoneback, Nate Hamilton, Kevin Lawrence, Dirk Stratton, Josh Robinson, Doug Van Den Brink, and Austin Meeks—took to the track as much as they wanted, tandeming with the locals and toting along lucky passengers who purchased ride-along passes.
Participating drivers pitted and changed tires next to the track, while fans swirled around, and there wasn’t a dull moment from open ‘til close.
In between drift run groups, participants in the day’s Red Line Oil Hyperdrive sessions took to the Patriot course for some increasingly high-speed lead/follow runs, which were open to just about any car—rentals included (don’t tell!).
Street Driven Tour’s partnership with Tuner Evolution could be seen just outside the Patriot Course, engulfing the entire west side of the drive down to the main course’s north paddock with some of the area’s best and freshest makes and models spanning the vintage/style/country-of-origin spectrum.
These are only some of our favorites. There’s more to see in the gallery below.
Joining them and spilling over onto the other side of the lot were the usual assortment of vendors …
… followed by some favorite HyperFest activities, namely the Blind Driver Golf Cart Racing (MC’d by Formula Drift’s Jarod DeAnda) and Lawn Mower Racing …
… but also including the PRS Guitars Air Guitar Contest, and monster truck rides—both fun. One maybe a little more so than the other.
Further out in right field at VIR are two events for the dirty heads among us: Exedy Rally Rides, and Conquer That Hill, the latter being—as they say in the south—Muddin’.
Once the VIR main course had gone cold and everyone at Patriot had just about enough drifting they could handle (but not quite), there were Street Driven Tour’s venerable Drift Games, consisting of the Hard Park Challenge …
… Drift Soccer …
… and 360-Degree Drift.
Blaze of Glory
And just in case two straight days of racing, drifting, showing, and assorted other automotive mayhem (along with the midnight camping shenanigans that occur in between) weren’t enough, East Coast fans pulled it together for what we think is still their favorite part of the event: the Tire Massacre.
Every year of the Tire Massacre at VIR has its memorable moments, but this year delivered like no other. There was not a single shoddy burnout attempt, and each one went up to (usually past) its allotted time limit. There were Supras and Mustangs …
… FWD, bone-stock Ford Escorts …
… Scion FRSs …
… and no less than three Miatas, the driver of the last of which attempted a sixth-gear smoker but mistakenly roasted his flywheel to the point of explosion, with jagged chunks of flywheel and bellhousing exiting the car at warp speed from every direction (including straight through the windshield), severing and igniting a fuel-line in the process.
No one was hurt (still not sure how that happened) and the owner was just stoked to have put on a good show. It was, very literally, an awesome way to end the event, and hopefully something we’ll never see again!
So, in closing, if you missed this year’s Hyperfest, you’ll have to wait until next year to catch it again. But Street Driven Tour still has three national events to come (in St. Louis, Las Vegas and Atlanta), and Tuner Evolution is adding events faster than we can keep count.