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5 Best From 2018 Hyperfest

There’s an unending list of places you can go to find a good time on four wheels.

Drifting? Formula D. Time-attack? NASA or SCCA. Dirt and rocks? King of the Hammers, Ultra4, NCRR, the Mint 400 and Moab, just to name a few. Yes, whatever you’re into, there are a bunch of events for it, but no one can bring it all together in one weekend quite like Hyperfest.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR Jeep off-road proving grounds muddy obstacle course

Long held at the sprawling and remote Virginia International Raceway (VIR) campus, the annual pan-automotica Hyperfest bash packs everything for everyone into a three-day weekend. This year was no different, aside from one added element from Mother Nature. Let’s have a look at our favorites from 2018.

1. Drifting

Residing within the 3.27-mile VIR main course is the smaller, narrower Patriot course. Its sweeping turns and steep elevation changes are lots of fun to drive in a car or bike, but the downhill incline and great vantage points that come with running the course in reverse along Turns 5-12 have proven great for drifting. Years past saw pro drift ride-alongs courtesy of the now-defunct Street Driven Tour, along with a competition round of the now-sort-of-defunct U.S. Drift FD pro-am series.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR Vaughn Gittin jr. drifting Nitto Tire

This year, U.S. Drift came out of their sort-of-retirement to host the best of both worlds: pro drift demos and ride-alongs. FD wheelmen and Nitto Tire teammates Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Chelsea DeNofa, along with Forrest Wang, Ryan Litteral, Dirk Stratton, Geoff Stoneback, Steve Angerman, Kevin Lawrence, Pat Goodin and more provided their services during the weekend. There was also a Battle Royale-style pro-am competition, dubbed the Cosmis Wheels U.S. Drift Shootout, with the mid-Atlantic region’s most determined drivers competing to become the newest FD-licensed Pro 2 contender.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR Chelsea DeNofa drifting

Dozens of drifters vied for entry into tandem eliminations, and when the qualifying grid was announced, 38 drivers from 18 states (with two who were mechanically unable to start) had made the cut. After a solid day of battling, 14-year-old Branden Sorensen from Las Vegas, Nev., took top honors, winning an FD Pro 2 license and becoming the series’ youngest licensed driver in history.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR US Drift Shootout final battle S13 Nissan 240SX E46 BMW M3

His win didn’t come easy. Branden had to fight through several One More Times and even battle out of the Losers’ Bracket to take the win. Even then, it came at the cost of his car when a hit by Dustin Miles took both cars out in the final battle.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR US Drift Shootout S13 Nissan 240SX E46 BMW M3 drifting crash final battle

2. Ultimate Track Car Challenge

Another long-standing regular component of the annual Hyperfest bash is the Ultimate Track Car Challenge, a no-holds-barred time-attack battle for pretty much anything and everything that’s able to pass a NASA tech inspection.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR UTCC Dodge Challenge NASA GT1 race car

Making the trip to compete this year was North America’s new fastest unlimited-class time-attack driver and car: William Au-Yeung and his 9th-generation Honda Civic from Toronto, Canada, who just the weekend prior broke Road Atlanta’s all-time FWD track record and earned yet another overall win in Global Time Attack competition.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR UTCC William Au-Yueng 9th-generation Honda Civic Unlimited FWD time-attack car

The smart money was on William, despite being pitted against NASA and World Challenge machines, racing prototypes, turbo-AWDs (great for the event’s intermittent downpours) and even a Tesla Model S-powered Exocet! When the Civic withdrew from competition with a rare oil-line failure and engine fire, the no. 00 Mazda-powered NASA NP01 driven by Frank Futrelle clocked the fastest lap of the event, with a blistering 2:01.083 lap.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR UTCC Tesla Model S-powered electric Exocet EV

3. NASA Racing

From sunrise to sunset on each of the three days of the Hyperfest weekend, racing never seemed to stop around the VIR main course, thanks to NASA and its multitude of classes for just about every year/make/model/vintage car imaginable.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR NASA Pro Racing Mazda spec Miatas

This is especially apparent if you stay at the North Paddock’s villas, situated above the pit garages and along the front straight. There’s no need to set an alarm when the racing persists like clockwork, and competitors are up at the crack of dawn to get an early start.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR NASA Pro Racing North Paddock Mini

Rain or shine, the racers never gave in. Certain run groups were carved out for the UTCC and important events like lunch, but only when part of the track flooded with mud and rocks did the officials decide to call an early end to Saturday’s on-track festivities. When the sun came up the following day, the racing resumed in full force.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR NASA Pro Racing Volkswagen VW Golf in the rain

4. Mud, Rocks and Rain!

NASA Rally Sport and Rage Buggy ride-alongs and the Off-Road Experience have long been a part of the Hyperfest recipe, but there’s something about rain and mud that turns these events into a party.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR NASA Rally Subaru 2.5 RS mud puddle splash

Intermittent rain and downpours persisted throughout Friday and Saturday of the three-day event, but that really didn’t slow down demand for the dirt. The Jeeps, Land Rovers, Range Rovers and rock crawlers of the Off-Road Experience (which allowed fans to drive over VIR’s multiple proving-ground stages) seemed every bit at home and capable when things got a bit damp, and the rain-soaked rally course gave a whole new twist to the ride-along experience—a dirty one, but a memorable one!

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR Off-Road Experience proving grounds Range Rover

Even on the track, the rain seemed to lift spirits and add to the excitement more than it detracted from any enjoyment, and at those few times when it got really hard, it provided a peaceful timeout from the action.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR Off-Road Experience heavy rain

5. All the Rest

From the way-more-serious-than-you'd-think-it-is lawnmower racing, to a couple of professional racing drivers attending solely to compete in the Power Wheels Downhill Attack, to the rubber-roasting Tire Massacre, to the incredibly talented DJ Manifesto and DJ Kure providing nightly entertainment, to some real rarities in the Japanese Classic Mega Meet—and plenty more—this year’s show was packed full of more to see and do than most showgoers got around to. See some of it all in the gallery below.

2018 17th annual Hyperfest bash at VIR Off-Road Experience Power Wheels downhill race

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