Virginia International Raceway - July 20, 1957
Danville Va., July 20 (AP) Steve Spitler of Washington was clocked at 85 miles per hour in a Jaguar SS today during inaugural runs over the 3.2 mile road course of the Virginia International Raceway here.
In the closed circuit test preliminary to the inaugural American championship Grand Prix races here Aug. 3-4, the Washington Region of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) participated in full. Every driver was high in praise of the driving test which the Southeast's only road course demands.
Spitler drove his Jaguar SS, a power-packed production model, to the best time of the day. None of the drivers had seen the course before, and Spitler reported a top speed on the three-quarter mile straightaway incline of 160 m.p.h.
Charlie Wallace, a leader in the international competition at the Sebring, Fla., race, also piloted a Jag to a fast pace, but the second best time recorded was by the SCCA's National over-all point leader for1957, Frank Baptista, in his Lotus. The Hyattsville, Md., driver averaged 80 m.p.h.
President Ed Kemm of the raceway said he was pleased with the reaction of the drivers and with the engineering capabilities of the asphalt road course.
"In the qualifying for our first Grand Prix races in two weeks, somebody might well hit 100 m.p.h., but today's results showed that it will take everything working to perfection - driver, car, and weather conditions."
The Aug. 3-4 events, conducted by the SCCA which has announced an entry deadline of July, 26, will include all classes of competition for racing sports cars.
It was announced today that the Italian manufacturers of Maserati were flying over a new 4.5 liter racing car which Carroll Shelby, the national champion from Texas, will drive for the first time in the Grand Prix here.
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