It was with heavy hearts that we reported on the natural felling of the Virginia International Raceway's Oak Tree in July. The 200-plus-year-old monument actually influenced the design of the track, leading to a tricky, double-apex, right-hander called Oak Tree Turn.
Now, Road & Track is reporting on the work of scientists from Virginia Tech University's Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, who have announced that, at the behest of VIR management, they're going to attempt to clone the legendary oak. The cloned saplings will then be offered to fans, who can then plant their very own piece of this scenic circuit. It's unclear if one of the saplings will be planted in the old Oak Tree's place, although it seems unlikely considering recent changes to the corner.
Connie Nyholm, the owner and CEO of VIR, had this to say about work of Virginia Tech and the Oak Tree:
"To be able to honor the grand old oak tree in such a historic and innovative way is really special for us. We're so grateful to the IALR for helping us with this, and we're excited to be able to share the cloned tree with VIR fans. Nothing will replace the old tree, but this will serve as a great tribute to it."