Automotive event promoters in the modern day are realizing it's seldom enough to throw an event with just one theme. Unless it's racing, in which case most attendees will be racers and their friends/family, you need more to hold the attention of enthusiasts in today's era of timeline stories and fidget spinners.
And it's in this spirit that HyperFest - an event billed as the "ultimate automotive amusement park" for the past 16 years - is teaming with the right people and becoming more relevant than ever. Simply put: If you love drifting, shows, road racing, rally, off-roading, monster trucks, burnout contests, tractor racing, and camping shenanigans, and have a mild-to-moderate case of ADD, you really should check it out.
This year's festivities kicked off with sanctioned NASA road racing around VIR's 3.27 miles of fast straights and 17 turns, which persisted throughout the weekend.
If you're a car guy and "get" racing, a NASA event as big as this might be enough to quell those ADD pangs in itself. Here you'll find everything from stock-ish late-model road cars to spec Miatas, to full-on prototype or GT-class race machines from IMSA or WEC competition.
If that's not enough, this year's HyperFest again hosted the Ultimate Track Car Challenge, a NASA-sanctioned one-day challenge to crown the top honors among the fastest qualifying machines.
The mix of machines that turned out for this was even more impressive.
But in the end, one of those racing prototypes took the crown, when IMSA pro driver Eric Foss clocked a blazing-fast 1:44.376 lap time in Mosing Motorcars' Riley Track Day car - crazy, when you consider that bragging rights at VIR begin at about the 2:00.00-mark.
Alas, HyperFest is much more than racing. While all that timed competition got underway around the Main Course, traditional HyperFest debauchery went down within it, beginning Street Driven Tour and their band of merry drifters who took over the smaller Patriot Course for two days of bash-style drifting.
As exciting as it is to see professional drift competition, it's a whole other level of fun to see and take part in drift bashing among pro and advanced amateur drifters, together.
This is what Street Driven Tour is all about: Bringing both out to enjoy their brand of motorsport, free of the rigors and stress of competition.
Pros at VIR included Vaughn Gittin, Jr., Chelsea Denofa, Forrest Wang, Geoff Stoneback, Nate Hamilton, Kevin Lawrence, Dirk Stratton, Josh Robinson, Doug Van Den Brink, and Austin Meeks, and almost every run they blasted-solo or tandem-was with passengers who bought ride-along passes.
Ams were likewise invited to blast all the solo, tandem and passenger-laden runs they cared to, and so many did that the drifting seemed to never stop, save for the occasional mishap that makes drifting that much more fun to watch.
Tuner Evolution took over show duties this year, and subsequently packed the VIR midway with dozens of the mid-Atlantic's cleanest show rides of every conceivable persuasion.
Hot rods and muscle cars are par for the course in any rural East Coast show, and while we appreciated those, it was cool to see R32 and even R31 Nissan Skylines making the show this year.
Vendors lined the grounds and directed fans toward the main stage, where oddities like the pepper-eating contest and air-guitar challenge provided some silliness for everyone.
Across the way were more HyperFest originals, like Blind Golf Cart Racing, tractor racing, and monster-truck ride-alongs.
There was even the triumphant return of the Barbie Car Challenge, which is basically HyperFest's now-recurring downhill soapbox race involving engine/motor-less plastic children's play cars and dozens of hyper-competitive (and slightly intoxicated) racers and drifters.
At the Northeastern-most part of the grounds was a very cool and often overlooked part of the VIR facility: its rally course and off-road proving grounds. Per HyperFest and Street Driven tradition, it stayed lit all weekend with NASA rally test-n-tunes and Exedy Rally Rides, and mud obstacle course and off-road driver training sessions.
There was even some karting and dirt-bike racing.
As the final day drew to a close, it was time for Street Driven Tour's venerable Drift Games to take place, beginning with the Hard Park Challenge.
And continuing with Drift Soccer and the 360-Degree Drift.
But the piece de resistance each year (especially this year) was the Tire Massacre burnout contest.
In sharp contrast to previous years' mix of epic tire annihilation mixed with some pretty poor attempts, this year's event was all epic tire annihilation.
And if that wasn't enough, one V8-swapped Miata owner decided to take things up a notch with some whole-car annihilation, when he roasted his clutch and flywheel to the point of explosion, pierced a fuel line with a chunk of glowing-red flywheel, and closed out this year's festivities with a degree (a very hot degree!) of drama that will hopefully remain as a once-in-a-lifetime sight to behold.
So while 2017's event season promises a lot of everything for all types of gearheads, those who attended the 16th annual HyperFest show got a bit of all of it at once. Perfect, in our books.
Missed this year's festivities? Check out our gallery here and head over to the Street Driven Tour and Tuner Evolution sites to find where else you can get in on the drift and show action this year.