The 2003 Grand Am Cup season consisted of eleven race weekends. The championship kicked off in January at Daytona International Speedway, which was followed two months later by an event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Beginning in May, the teams crisscrossed the United States, making a visit to Phoenix, Arizona and then back to the east coast for a stop at Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama. The championship made their final west coast, swing of the year to Fontana, California. Round six was held at Watkins Glen International which was followed by the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Next on the schedule was a visit to Canada for races at Mosport International Raceway and Le Circuit Mont Tremblant. The penultimate race weekend was held at Virginia International Raceway with the finale taking place at Daytona.

Most races were 3-hours in length and were scheduled as a support event for the Rolex Sports Car series. Mosport was the only weekend when the Grand Am Cup series competed without the Rolex championship.

The cars racing in the series are relatively unchanged from their road-going versions – modifications are mandated mainly for safety – roll cages, window nets, etc. They also used spec DOT-approved tires produced by Hoosier. Based on performance potential, the cars were divided into one of four groups:

  • Grand Sport (GS I and GS II): Grand Sport is the quicker of the two groups - this division features the larger displacement engines as well as smaller four-cylinder motors with forced induction systems. The power-plants produce between 400 and 500-horsepower. Minimum weights range between 2,900 – 3,300-pounds which, are dependent on the motor configuration and displacement. The GS I category includes cars such as the Porsche 993 Turbo, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Dodge Viper and Saleen Mustang SR. The Acura NSX, Audi S4, BMW M3, Nissan 350Z and Pontiac Firebird are examples of vehicles competing in GS II.
  • Street Tuner (ST I and ST II): The smaller displacement cars compete in the ST category. Engines in this group typically produce between 220 and 280-horsepower. Popular vehicles found the ST I class are the Acura RSX, Audi A4, Lexus IS300, Porsche Boxster, BMW Z3 Coupe and Acura Integra Type R. The ST II includes the Mazda MX-5, Honda Civic EX, Chevrolet Cavalier Z24, Acura Integra LS, Dodge Neon and Mazda Protege.

With the exception of Phoenix, Barber, Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen, these four classes competed on the track at the same time.

Round one of the 2003 Grand Am Cup series was held at Daytona International Speedway. Competitors would race around the twelve-turn, 3.56-mile roval in the Daytona 250.

In qualifying for the Grand Am Cup Daytona 250, Robert Julien recorded the fastest time after just three laps and parked the No. 119 Doncaster Racing Porsche. Unfortunately, the team failed to submit its qualifying driver’s name before the session, which is required by the rules. As a result, Julien started forty-fourth in the fifty-four car field. Undeterred, he and his teammate, JF Dumoulin, stormed through the field for the victory.
The second Doncaster Racing entry driven by David Lacey and Greg Wilkins received the same penalty as their teammates, Robert Julien and JF Dumoulin. Despite being second quickest during the qualifying session, Lacey would start from the rear of the field. Like their teammates, the pair moved up the race order and were in second place after the pit-stops. They maintained their position and finished in the runner-up spot.
Capturing the victory in the GS II category was the father and son team of Joe and Wayne Nonnamaker. Showroom Stock endurance veteran, Joe qualified the Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche 911 fifteenth overall and seventh in the GS II class. During the 250-mile contest, the duo moved up the lap-chart. With thirty-minutes remaining in the event, they were in the class lead. At the finish, the Nonnamaters were twelfth overall.
The Honda of America Race Team entered two Acura RSX-S in the ST I category. Sharing the No. 69 Acura was Chad Gilsinger and Shawn Allen, while the other RSX was piloted by John Schmitt and former open-wheel competitor, Pete Halsmer. Halsmer was 0.765-seconds quicker the Gilsinger during the qualifying and started third in class. Working together during the race the No. 00 and 69 finished first and second in class.
Brent Martini inherited the overall and GS I pole-position after the two Doncaster drivers were issued the penalty for failing to submit the names of the qualifying drivers. Sharing the G&W Motorsports prepared Porsche GT3 Cup with Martini was Cort Wagner. After the first round of pit-stops, the pair dropped to third place. Unable to match the pace of the leaders, they fell to a sixth-place finish.
Ed Magner was gridded sixth in ST II and fifty-fourth overall – the last position on the starting grid. But this did not prevent Magner and his teammate, Caroline Wright, from winning their first Grand Am Cup event. Magner moved the Chevrolet Cavalier Z-24 into the lead after just 30-minutes of racing. He and Wright never relinquished first place and captured the victory by a margin of almost two-minutes.
Jeb Thornton handled the qualifying responsibilities for Automatic Racing. During the session, he recorded the ninth quickest time in the GS II group. Thornton shared the No. 09 BMW M3 with David Russell and started seventeenth overall. They inherited positions when the Snipes, Bell and Istook teams encountered problems. Passes on five other competitors earned them a runner-up finish in their category.
Sylvain Tremblay’s, Speedsource team entered two Porsche GT3 Cup cars in the GS I class. Sharing the No. 66 Porsche was Paul Mears, Jr. and David Haskell. Mears was eighth quickest during qualifying but was moved to the sixth position on the starting grid when the Doncaster Porsches were penalized. The duo was in fourth place after the first round of pit-stops was completed. By the end of the event, they were third overall.
There were two Acura Integra LS models entered by Bill Fenton Motorsports. Sharing the No. 27 Acura were Mike Liebl, Bob Beede and the team owner, Bill Fenton. Fenton performed the qualifying duties and was the fastest in the ST II class. The team maintained first place until the 30-minute mark of the race when they were passed by the hard-charging Cavalier of WTF Racing. The trio managed to finish in the runner-up position.
Team Lexus brought three IS300 models to Daytona. Sharing the No. 0 Lexus was Andy Lally and the team principal, Chuck Goldsborough. Competing in the ST I category, two of the team’s cars qualified first and second in class. Lally would start second in ST I and pass the pole-sitter, Ian James for the lead. However, Lally would lose time when he went off course. He regrouped, but was unable to catch the Acuras and finished third.
Last season, Will Nonnamaker drove the family's Acura Integra LS with his brother, Wayne. The pair won the ST II championship. This year Wayne was paired with his father Joe in a GS II Porsche 911 while Will shared the No. 43 Acura with former ST I competitor, Howie Liebengood. Liebengood was gridded third in class and fortieth overall for the start. At the finish, the duo was forty-first overall and grabbed the final spot on the podium.
Sharing the No. 54 Bell Motorsports BMW M3 were Forest Barber and Terry Borcheller. They were also participating in the Rolex 24, driving a Doran JE4 with Didier Theys and Christian Fittipaldi. Barber was the nineteenth fastest during qualifying and would start eleventh in GS II. Despite as spin by Barber early in the event, they were able to move into contention. At the finish, Borcheller and Barber were third in the GS II category.
Michael Baughman Racing entered four Pontiac Firebirds in the Daytona 250. The quickest was the No. 46 shared by Baughman and father and son, Sam and Brett Shanaman. Brett had the honour of qualifying the Firebird and was fastest in the GS II category. The trio remained in contention during the contest but lost the second spot in the final thirty-minutes and finished fourth in their group – fifteenth overall.

POS.CLASSDRIVERSCARENTRANTLAPS
1GS IJulien / DumoulinPorsche GT3 CupDoncaster Racing70
2GS ILacey / WilkinsPorsche GT3 CupDoncaster Racing70
3GS IMears Jr / HaskellPorsche GT3 CupSpeedSource70
4GS IWellman / TremblayPorsche GT3 CupSpeedSource70
5GS IHuang / HallChevrolet CorvetteSilverstone Racing Services51
6GS IMartini / WagnerPorsche GT3 CupG&W Motorsports69
7GS IPowell / GoadChevrolet CorvettePowell Motorsport69
8GS IWilson / MerzonPorsche GT3 CupCase-It Racing69
9GS ILevitas / PobstPorsche GT3 CupTPC Racing69
10GS IDavis / CawleyPorsche GT3 CupFoxhill Racing69
11GS IWeinberg / HaynerChevrolet CorvettePowell Motorsport68
12GS IINonnamaker / NonnamakerPorsche 911Planet Earth Motorsport66
13GS IIThornton / RussellBMW M3Automatic Racing66
14GS IIBarber / BorchellerBMW M3Bell Motorsports66
15GS IIShanaman / Shanaman / BaughmanPontiac FirebirdBaughman Racing66
16GS IIKopperl / BrownMustang Cobra RFrederick Motorsports66
17GS IILaw / McCalmontPorsche 996Zoom Motorsports65
18GS IIMartin / Del VecchioPontiac FirebirdBaughman Racing65
19GS ILittlechild / JacksonPorsche GT3 CupTPC Racing65
20GS IISeafuse / SeafuseMustang Cobra RJBS Motorsports65
21GS IIAssentato / LonghiMustang Cobra SVTTF Racing64
22ST IHalsmer / SchmittAcura RSX-SHonda of America Racing Team64
23ST IGilsinger / AllenAcura RSX-SHonda of America Racing Team63
24ST ILally / GoldsboroughLexus IS300Team Lexus63
25ST IPawley / Van CleefToyota SupraJ Pauley Motorsports63
26ST IPfeffer / SalamaBMW Z4TC Kline Racing63
27ST IHamblin / TetreaultBMW Z3Duane Neyer Motorsports63
28GS IIRehagen / MartinMustang Cobra SVTRehagen Racing62
29ST ISchlesinger / GenaoPorsche BoxsterSpeedSource62
30ST ISpangler / ChenowethBMW 330iCSL Racing62
31ST IJames / HansonLexus IS300Team Lexus62
32ST INuzzo / LewisMini Cooper SNuzzo Motorsports62
33GS IIMasessa / EnglandPontiac FirebirdBaughman Racing62
34ST IMenard / MenardLexus IS300Team Lexus62
35ST IHimes / MoorconesAcura Integra RCraftsman Motorsports62
36ST ILegg / EllingerAudi A4LM Racing62
37GS IIIstook / BreazealeAudi S4Istook / Aines Motorsport61
38GS IISachs / SnipesMustang Cobra RSnipes Ford Motorsports59
39ST IIMagner / WrightChevrolet Cavalier Z-24WTF Engineering59
40ST IIFenton / BeedeAcura Integra LSBill Fenton Motorsports59
41ST IILiebengood / NonnamakerAcura Integra LSHRPworld.com59
42GS IISchuitemaker / ZachariasNissan 350ZSchuitemaker Motorpsorts58
43ST IILisa / RosenblumMazda ProtégéICY / SL Motorsports58
44ST IPappas / FitzgeraldAcura Integra RSky Rocket Six Racing58
45ST IISwain / LinvilleAcura Integra LSHRPworld.com58
46ST IIBaglier / LuffyMazda ProtégéBaglieracing57
47ST IDubler / Maehling / MagnerOldsmobile Achieva SCWTF Engineering57
48ST IWittmer / TrahanHonda Civic SiDe Sigi Auto Sport56
49ST IPatch / TuatyBMW Z4TC Kline Racing53
50GS IIBeaver / HaggertyPorsche 996TPC Racing53
51GS IKohler / SmithSaleen SRTF Racing40
52ST IBavaro / McGillycuddy / LewisMini Cooper SNuzzo Motorsports23
53GS IISturm / HorningPorsche 996North Shore Racing20
54GS IIPolidori / ArgetsingerPontiac FirebirdBaughman Racing5


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