VIR - 1958 May - Pre-Race Press

Virginia International Raceway - May 3-4, 1958

Jaguar Team Enters VIR Sports Car Sprint Races
National Champion Hansgen Set For Danville On May 3-4

DANVILLE, Va., April 19 (AP)- America's leading sports car racing team, the Jaguars of Briggs Cunningham, will be entered in the 1958 national championship spring sprint races at Virginia International Raceway May 3-4, with Walt Hansgen, of Westfield, N.J., as the starring figure.

Sports car racing in the United States concentrates on road racing courses for the national events, and the 3.2-mile rolling turns of VIR provide the top outlet for the Sports Car Club of America stars. Such is Hansgen, and so is the entire Cunningham Jaguar team.

The Jaguars, this season supplementing the venerable D-Jaguars with the brand new Listers, controlled the prizes at the year's inaugural races, the Orange Bowl regatta at Miami, Fla. Hansgen was first, Ed Crawford of Chicago second. The team races this week end at Upper Marlboro, Md., in the second national event, and is favored as usual to capture the top prizes.

But VIR is longer and more trying than either the Orange Bowl (on an army air field) or Marlboro (only two miles in length). Therefore, Cunningham has stated that he is holding his best cars for the Danville race, and he has seven of them in all. The Listers competed at the international Sebring, Fla., event, but engine mistakes took them out of competition after five hours. VIR presents sprint races, and on the long course the Jaguars are favored to take the lead roles.

However, VIR President Ed Kemm forewarns the Jag team. His early entry list from SCCA includes the best Ferraris and Maseratis in the country, and several of them are running 4.5 litres. The top power the Lister Jaguars can attain is 3.9 litres, which is still nine-tenths above the international limit placed on sports cars this year. Kemm predicts the greatest competition in the short VIR history, and this includes the victory of Carroll Shelby of Dallas, Texas, in the 4.5 Maserati last August and the Charlie Wallace - Walt Hansgen team in Jaguar last October. Shelby is now racing professionally in Europe.

The 1958 spring sprints, following a full day of practice and time trials on Saturday, May 3, will have eight races beginning at 9:30 a.m. and concluding about 5 p.m. The five and one-half hours of actual competition highlights the Southeast's spring racing, and more than 20,000 racing enthusiasts are expected to be on hand for this road racing spectacle, including competition in 12 classes under the "big car" specifications. At least five national champions of 1957 will be present.