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Oak Tree Landmark Falls at VIR

July 4, 2013 by Matt

VIR Oak Tree Corner

The motor racing community lost an icon on Tuesday.

No, not a driver or a team—a tree. The slowest corner on the Virgina International Raceway (VIR) circuit, named for the massive oak tree it passes around, lost its namesake. According to the official report from VIR management, the tree fell of natural causes, splitting near the base.

Being somewhat local to the circuit (it’s 1.5 hours away in Danville, VA), I initially thought a gust of wind must’ve toppled the tree; there had been some fairly severe windstorms in the area in the past month, so I was mildly surprised to read there was no warning; the course’s caretakers apparently arrived at work Tuesday morning to find the tree in pieces.

Oak Tree was at least as iconic as the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca and nearly as renowned as the tunnel at Monaco or Eau Rouge at Spa; VIR won’t be the same without it. From the circuit’s initial opening in 1957 through its closing in 1974, then from its reopening in 2000 through the present day, Oak Tree had been a fixture of the track; its most recognizable feature, to the point where it made it way onto VIR’s official logo. I’m glad I got to drive around it one last time with my son a month and a half ago. It will be greatly missed.

Image credit: nsxpo2013.com

Filed under: News, Racing

6 Comments

  1. Ryan says:

    I was sad to hear this on Tue. I’m glad I got the opportunity to experience Oak Tree Bend on quite a few occasions. It not only made for a great view from behind the windshield but also for some great photos from behind the fence as cars rounded the corner. I’m headed to VIR on Tue (SRT Driving Experience!) and will be anxious to see how it looks in person without Mr. Oak Tree there. Not sure I’m going to know where to turn. :(

  2. Phillip says:

    Tis a sad sad day. I have taken many a photo with that tree in the back ground as many E30’s, E36’s, E46’s, 911’s, MG, Alfa, Protoype and so many others. It will be different and will be missed dearly… anyone know if they will plant another Oak Tree there or transplant another from the local wood line???

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