2002 was the Grand American Road Racing Championship (Grand Am) series’ third season. A business model which controlled costs had stable rules and avoided being dependent on automotive manufacturers attracted private teams. Based on the failure of the United States Road Racing Championship in 1999 critics suggested that the Grand Am would suffer a similar fate – races cancelled and the season cut short. However, that was not the case and all ten events were held as scheduled.

As in 2001, there were five classes:

  • Sports Racing Prototype I (SRP-I) - These are the purpose built two-seater prototype race cars. Competitors have a broad range of motor options to choose from – they include Ford, Chevrolet, Judd, Ferrari, BMW, Mazda and Porsche engines. Teams enter cars manufactured by Riley & Scott, Lola, Kudzu, Crawford, Reynard, Norma and Dallara. This season is the final appearance of the SRP-I category as it will be replaced by the new Daytona Prototype class in 2003.
  • Sports Racing Prototype II (SRP-II) - Introduced in 2000, the SRP-II class is for cars which could use engines no larger than three liters. Similar to SRP-I, these are smaller purpose built two-seater prototype race cars with chassis’ constructed by Lola, Kudzu, Picchio and Pilbeam.
  • Grand Touring Super (GTS) - This class includes production-based cars such as the Dodge Viper GTS-R, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, Saleen S7-R and Porsche 911 Turbo. This category captured the overall victory at the 2000 (Dodge Viper GTS-R) and 2001(Chevrolet Corvette C5-R) Rolex 24.
  • Grand Touring (GT) - This category is also for production based vehicles such as the BMW M3, Chevrolet Corvette, Ferrari 360GT and Porsche GT3RS. Turbocharged cars cannot compete in this class.
  • American Grand Touring (AGT) – American Grand Touring is for tube frame race vehicles. It includes cars such as the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. All vehicles are powered by a V8 engine which must not exceed a displacement of 375-cu.in..

The 2002 season consisted of ten races - beginning with the Rolex 24 at Daytona in February and ending in November at the same track. With some exceptions, the series visited many of the same venues as 2001. One of the changes saw Trois-Rivieres replaced with Mont-Tremblant. Also, Lime Rock was dropped in favour of California Speedway and the series completed at Virginia International Raceway instead of Road America.

The penultimate round of the 2002 Grand American championship was held at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant. This event would be six-hours in length around the fifteen-turn 2.65-mile road course.

Twenty-two competitors enter Mont-Tremblant’s final turn in anticipation of the Starter’s flag. On the pole is the SRP-I point’s leader, Didier Theys driving the Judd-powered Dallara. Sharing the front row with Theys is Andy Wallace in a Crawford entered by Dyson Racing. Immediately behind these two is the Pegasus Racing Lola B2K/10 and the only SRP-II entry, a Picchio prepared by G&W Motorsports.
The father-son duo of Fredy Lienhard and Fredy Lienhard, Jr. joined the SRP-I points leader, Didier Theys in the No. 27 Doran Lista Racing Dallara. Theys had four victories in 2002 but his lead was beginning to evaporate at the expense of Dyson Racing’s Chris Dyson. Theys was the fastest qualifier and led the race until the first pit-stop. Dyson took over first place but an accident took him out of contention giving the win to Doran Lista Racing.
The Girard-Perregaux/Scuderia Ferrari of Washington Ferrari 360GT shared by Bill Auberlen and Cort Wagner started second in the GT class. Their qualifying position seemed to be of little consequence as Auberlen took the lead shortly after the start. From there it was ‘clear sailing’ as the duo scored their fifth consecutive GT victory but more impressive, they finished second overall – tying a record set at the 2001 Rolex 24.
Co-driving the Sky Blue Racing Ford Mustang were Eric Curran, Darin Brassfield and team owner, Woodson Duncan. This was the team’s first start since the opening round at Daytona International Speedway where they finished seventh in AGT. When the class-leading Morgan Dollar Motorsports Corvette suffered an on-track incident, the Sky Blue Racing team took first place and captured the AGT victory.
There were only three GTS entries – The Racers Group Porsche, TF Racing Saleen and the locals, D.L.G.L. Racing. The Saleen Mustang SR suffered fire damage earlier in the weekend but after being repaired, it was the quickest in class until they encountered additional problems. That ‘left the door open’ for The Racers Group Porsche of John Morton, Christine Perot and Michael Schrom to grab the category victory.
Finishing second in the GT category were Cass Whitehead, Jeff Giangrande and B.J. Zacharias. They drove the No. 26 Porsche GT3R prepared by ACEMCO Motorsports. The Porsche started ninth overall and third in class. Unable to match the pace of the Girard-Perregaux/Scuderia Ferrari of Washington Ferrari 360 the trio were two-laps behind the GT winners at the checker but an impressive third overall.
To bolster the grids, Grand Am Officials invited the Grand Am Cup GSI and GSII competitors to participate in the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant. Without these additional entries, the car count would have been a mere eighteen. Only one team competed in the GSI category, Team Turbo Performance. The driver line-up included Fred Baker, Joe Nonnamaker, Michael Levitas and Bill Auberlen.
There were three entries in the GSII class. The category winner was the No. 04 Audi S4 of the Istook-Aines Motorsport Group. Racing the Audi were Shane Lewis, Canadian, Ted Martin and team principal, Don Istook. The trio started twenty-first overall and second in class. At the checkered flag, they were thirteenth in the order and twenty-three-laps ahead of the second place Shreiner Racing Mustang Cobra R.
With two races remaining in the Grand Am Championship the SRP-II category was all but decided. Rand Racing’s, Terry Borcheller simply had to start the race to secure the title. The team decided to skip the Mont-Tremblant event and Borcheller would have to wait until the finale at Daytona to be crowned the champion. The lone SRP-II entry at Mont-Tremblant was driven by Darren Law, Andy Lally and Armando Trentini.
Dyson Racing’s Chris Dyson entered the penultimate round with five consecutive victories and was closing in on the point’s leader, Didier Theys. At Mont-Tremblant, Dyson was joined by Andy Wallace and James Weaver. Rather than entering the team’s Riley & Scott the trio drove a Crawford. Dyson was leading the race when he lost control. The damage to the car was severe but the team finished second in SRP-I.
Falcon Racing, a team owned by Tommy Hilfiger’s Lawrence Stroh (Stroh is also the owner of Circuit Mont-Tremblant), made their first start of the 2002 Grand Am season. David Empringham and Nick Longhi drove the No. 86 Ferrari 360GT. The pair challenged the second place ACEMCO Porsche but were unable to make the pass and finished third in GT and fourth overall.
The AGT point’s leader, Kerry Hitt was fresh off a victory in the previous round at VIR with his co-drivers, Doug Mills and Owen Trinkler. The biggest threat to Hitt’s title hopes was Andrew Richards who along with his co-drivers was leading the category until they made contact with a slower car. The incident allowed Hitt and his teammates to finish second in class and gave him a 27-point lead heading into the finale.

1SRPTheys / Lienhard, Jr. / LienhardDallara LMP210-
2GTWagner / AuberlenFerrari 360GT197-
3GTWhitehead / ZachariasPorsche GT3R195-
4GTLonghi / EmpringhamFerrari 360GT195-
5AGTCurran / Brassfield / DuncanFord Mustang191-
6GTBuckler / Schrom / DumoulinPorsche GT3R187-
7SRPWeaver / Dyson / WallaceCrawford SSC2K184-
8GS IBaker/Nonnamaker/Levitas/AuberlenPorsche GT3 Cup176-
9AGTHitt / Trinkler / MillsChevrolet Corvette173-
10AGTRichards / Richards / MorganChevrolet Corvette170-
11GTSMorton / Perot / SchromPorsche GT3R170-
12GTStephens / Conway / JacobsenMarcos Mantis Plus166-
13GS IIIstook / Martin / LewisAudi S4165-
14AGTRiggins / MachavernFord Mustang163-
15GTSGuenette / Guenette / Guenette, Jr.Porsche 993 Carrera 2156-
16SRPKuttner / Calvet / PavlinaLola B2K/10147-
17GS IILapcevich / SchreinerMustang Cobra R142Suspension
18GTSDeFontes / Kohler / Smith / LewisSaleen Mustang SR139Accident
19SRP IILally / Trentini / LawPicchio138-
20GTKaufmann / OrtiPorsche GT3R125-
21GTBarbosa / Neugarten / PolicandMosler MT900R118CV-Joint
22GS IIDanaher / Del Vecchio / BaughmanPontiac Firebird11Differential

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