Jim Taggart took his GT-2 Taggart Autosport Porsche 911 Cup car to victory at the SCCA Majors Easter race at VIRginia International Raceway. It was one of two races for Taggart around the newly-paved 17-turn road course, his home track, with the Pirelli World Challenge driver re-setting the SCCA GT-2 track record on Saturday before a Sunday victory.
The SCCA Majors event delivered a moderately-sized field with Taggart up against Vipers, Corvettes and more, including the 2013 reigning SCCA National GT-2 Champion.
The weekend at VIR started with a full Thursday test day, and Taggart, no stranger to VIR, logged more important track time on the new-for-2014 racing surface. As Friday qualifying turned over to a Saturday race, the event was able to dodge a big rain storm moving up the east coast.
With Michelin tires on the car on Saturday, Taggart had an interesting set of opening laps, carving through faster GT-1 cars in the corners but ultimately driving off-track to avoid a spun car and lightly hitting a tire wall. A quick check by the Taggart Autosport/Long Road Racing crew in the pits proved successful, and back out Taggart went to drop the track record at VIR with a quick lap at 1:55.49, earning him second on the grid for Sunday’s feature race.
Moving back to Hoosier Tires for the final race, Taggart had more grip available, despite four heat cycles on the tires. Not wanting his crew to work the Easter holiday, the car was prepped Saturday afternoon and put in the garages at VIR.
“Being Easter, I really didn’t want Glenn Long and the crew to work, so he got to it right after the Saturday race, changed tires, set pressures, fueled up and everything else,” Taggart said. “Then we put the car in the garage at VIR, a big benefit of it being our home track. Just before the race on Sunday I started the car, drove to the grid and started the race, my only crew there was Regina, my wife, as well as impromptu spotter Kerrigan Smith, from his Villa balcony.”
Kerrigan is the track manager and competition director at VIR.
With the green flag in the air a GT-1 car gave Taggart some added help, blocking a competitor’s car and letting the Porsche slip into the lead. However, despite their raw power, the GT-1 cars lap slower than Taggart’s Porsche, and with huge speed down the straights are tough to get by,
“That same car was holding us up for half the race. I managed to get by him at the Oak Tree corner and then fend him off down the straight,” Taggart continued. “Another lapped car got between us and I was able to lay down some permanent distance. At the same time, Tim Myers, in the Viper, who was right on my tail for the lead, spun, giving us some more distance. After that it was just doing laps to take the win.”
With the checkered in the air, Taggart was able to take his wife on the victory lap, with her sitting on the floor in the Porsche waving the checkered flag out of a half-opened door around VIR.
Next up, the Taggart Autosport team heads to the Road America with Pirelli World Challenge in mid June.
Source: Taggart Autosport