The old Start stand, which had stood in front of the Control Tower on the front straight since VIR reopened in 2000, is no more. It was torn down on November 6th and the trees at Pit Out are gone as well. This was done to make room for a widening of pit road. The new Start stand, whose design has just been finalized (click on photo), will be built in the vicinity of Pit Out. The trees were removed to give the Starter a clear view of the front straight, to give drivers a clear view of Turn One as they come down the front straight and a clearer view as they enter the track from Pit Out, as well as remove any solid objects from the edge of the track in a very high-speed area. The new Start stand will be more like a Start “bridge”, as they have at Road America. Much like a diving board design, it will still allow Starters to see everything they could from the old location, as well as have the added benefit of being able to see and control traffic leaving pit road. The new location of the Start stand will make it possible for spectators to view the start, but particularly the finish of races, from the Pagoda’s upper deck and surrounding areas, therefore, enhancing the spectator’s experience of attending races at VIR.
Another much needed change (below), is some added apex curbing at the “kink” on the front straight. And…look at that view of Turn One from there!