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 group 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.

At Watkins Glen International, the Grand Sport and Street Tuner categories competed in separate 250-mile races (with a 3-hour limit) around the eleven-turn 3.337-mile road course. Street Tuner teams would compete late Friday afternoon while the Grand Sport contest was the last event on Saturday’s schedule.

Thirty-two Grand Sport I and II drivers head into to corner one for the start of round six at the very wet Watkins Glen International. Leading the way is the Robert Julien, who qualified third in the Doncaster Racing Porsche GT3 Cup. Immediately behind Julien is the Porsche of Michael Levitas and Devon Powell driving a Chevrolet Corvette. On the right is the quickest in GS II competitor, Paul Zube piloting the No. 04 Audi S4.
At Watkins Glen International, Michael Levitas put the No. 18 Porsche on the pole. Levitas lost the lead on the wet track when the team elected to start on slick tires. Eighteen laps later, the tire decision proved to be the right choice as he grabbed first place. After the pit-stops, Levitas’ teammate, Randy Pobst, was in third place. With just three laps remaining, Pobst moved into the lead and held on for the victory.
Darren Law and Chris Dyson shared the No. 6 G&W Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup. This was only the second time this season that they shared the driving duties. Dyson was responsible for qualifying the Porsche and was sixth fastest. They were in contention during the sixty-four-lap event. During the final stint, Law was behind the wheel and in the lead. Unable to hold off Randy Pobst, he finished in the runner-up position.
A damp track and all-wheel-drive gave Paul Zube an advantage in qualifying. Driving the Istook/Aines Motorsports Audi S4, Zube not only captured the GS II pole but also started on the outside of the front row. The wet track began to dry at the beginning of the event. At the mid-point of the contest, the rain returned and the No. 04 Audi slid off course. Zube and Don Istook were classified twenty-fifth overall.
Baughman Racing entered three Pontiac Firebirds in the GS II category. Fastest on the Baughman team in qualifying was the No. 46 Firebird driven by Brett Shanaman. He was sixth in GS II and would start fourteenth overall. Shanaman had reason to be confident as he won the event in 2000 with his father, Sam. He and his teammate, Michael Baughman, moved to the front and earned their first victory of the season.
Robert Julien and JF Dumoulin entered Watkins International with a string of five podium finishes and the GS I point lead. Julien qualified the No. 119 Porsche and was third fastest. During the contest, the pair-maintained pace with the leaders. Dumoulin drove the last half of the race and was in fourth place when the track went green for the final time. Rather than risking the team’s point lead, he held his position.
Sharing the No. 23 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup was Andy Lally and Michael Schrom. Schrom drove the overall and class-winning Porsche with Kevin Buckler, Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister in this year’s Rolex 24. Lally qualified seventh fastest and started on slicks. He was able to remain on the lead lap as the damp track transitioned to dry conditions. Lally was one of four drivers battling for the win but at the finish, he was third.
The Planet Earth Motorsports duo of Joe and Wayne Nonnamaker were looking to rebound after a disappointing outing at California Speedway. At Fontana, the GS II class leaders finished a discouraging eleventh in class. At Watkins Glen International, the team encountered more issues and started from the rear of the field. But the pair was able to overcome this deficit and finished in the runner-up position.
This was the second race of the season for Dean Martin and Larry Rehagen. They finished a distant tenth in race one at Daytona International Speedway. The duo shared the No. 52 Rehagen Racing prepared Ford Mustang Cobra SVT. During the qualifying session, Rehagen was the second quickest GS II competitor and started ninth overall. Unfortunately, the team’s bad luck continued and they retired after thirty-nine laps.
One of the three Baughman entries was shared by Frank Del Vecchio and Bob Ward. With credit going to Del Vecchio, they were gridded twentieth overall and ninth in GS II for the start of the 250-mile event. The pair used the same strategy as their teammates in the class winning No. 46 Pontiac Firebird. At the checkered flag, Del Vecchio and Ward had moved through the field and captured the last position on the GS II podium.

POS.CLASSDRIVERSCARENTRANTLAPS
1GS ILevitas / PobstPorsche GT3 CupTPC Racing64
2GS IDyson / LawPorsche GT3 CupG&W Motorsports64
3GS ILally / SchromPorsche GT3 CupTPC Racing64
4GS IJulien / DumoulinPorsche GT3 CupDoncaster Racing64
5GS IDavis / CawleyPorsche GT3 CupFoxhill Racing64
6GS IWellman / TremblayPorsche GT3 CupSpeedSource63
7GS IWeinberg / AltenburgChevrolet CorvettePowell Motorsport63
8GS IIShanaman / BaughmanPontiac FirebirdBaughman Racing63
9GS IMears Jr / Haskell / LewisPorsche GT3 CupSpeedSource63
10GS IINonnamaker / NonnamakerPorsche 911Planet Earth Motorsport63
11GS IIWard / Del VecchioPontiac FirebirdBaughman Racing63
12GS IIBeaver / SmithPorsche 996TPC Racing63
13GS IIBarber / BorchellerBMW M3Bell Motorsports62
14GS IIAssentato / LonghiMustang Cobra RTF Racing62
15GS IPowell / GoadChevrolet CorvettePowell Motorsport62
16GS IISchuitemaker / ZachariasNissan 350ZSchuitemaker Motorpsorts62
17GS IISeafuse / SeafuseMustang Cobra RJBS Motorsports62
18GS IIDeFontes / BrownMustang Cobra RFrederick Motorsports61
19GS ILynn / FrancePorsche GT3 Cupdds Racing61
20GS IINonnamaker / NonnamakerPorsche 911Planet Earth Motorsport61
21GS IIMasessa / PrilikaPorsche 993G&W Motorsports61
22GS IIAbello / Tremblay / SchlesingerPorsche 911SpeedSource60
23GS IIAckley / SnyderMustang Cobra SVTCMA Sports58
24GS IIKnowles / LiebengoodBMW M3Competition Preparation56
25GS IIIstook / ZubeAudi S4Istook / Aines Motorsport48
26GS IIRehagen / MartinMustang Cobra SVTRehagen Racing39
27GS IWilson / Merzon / MurryPorsche GT3 CupCase-It Racing36
28GS IIMountain / LapcevichMustang Cobra RFrederick Motorsports34
29GS IHuang / HallChevrolet CorvetteSilverstone Racing Services32
30GS IKohler / SmithSaleen SRTF Racing30
31GS ILacey / WilkinsPorsche GT3 CupDoncaster Racing28
32GS IIYeakle / Baughman / ShannonmanPontiac FirebirdBaughman Racing19
32GS IIJones / HilliarChevrolet CamaroPrecision Motor Werks3


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