On October 15, 2003, a significant restructuring of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series and Grand Am Cup classes was announced. Starting next year, the Grand Sport I (GS I) cars would be called Super Grand Sport (SGS) and compete in the Rolex Sports Car Series. Following this news, there were changes in the Grand Am Cup category. In 2004, there would be a single Grand Sport (GS) and Sport Touring (ST) class.

  • Grand Sport (GS): The quicker of the two classes - the group features the larger displacement engines as well as smaller four-cylinder motors with forced induction systems. The power-plants produce between 350 and 405-horsepower. Minimum weights range between 2,900 – 3,300-pounds, which is dependent on the motor configuration and displacement. This class includes cars such as the BMW M3, Pontiac Firebird, Ford Mustang, Nissan 350Z and Porsche 996.
  • Sport Touring (ST): The smaller displacement cars compete in this class in which engines typically produce between 170 and 240-horsepower. Popular vehicles found in this group are the Acura RSX, Mazda RX-8, BMW Z3, BMW 330i, Acura Integra Type R and Mini Cooper S.

While the classifications changed the rules remained the same. The cars 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 are placed in the Grand Sport or Sport Touring group.

The 2004 season consists of ten race weekends and starts in January at Daytona International Speedway, which is followed by a second event in Florida at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In April, the series will make a visit to Phoenix International Raceway for the Twin 200s. The Grand Sport and Sport Touring teams will compete in separate races. Then the series travels north of the border to compete at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant. After this event, race weekends will take place Watkins Glen International, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and a second visit to Homestead-Miami Speedway. The final three rounds will be conducted in October and start with Virginia International Raceway. The penultimate weekend is at Alabama’s, Barber Motorsport Park, with the finale taking place at California Speedway.

Round one of the 2004 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.

The 2004 Grand Am Cup season starts with the Daytona 250 and Daytona International Speedway. Leading the field of fifty-seven starters is the pole-winning Doncaster Racing Porsche 996 of Kenny Wilden and Devon Powell driving the Powell Motorsport prepared Pontiac Firebird. In the second row is the BGB Motorsports Porsche 996 of Mark Plummer and Anders Hainer driving the Istook / Aines Motorsport Group Audi S4.
In December 2003, it was announced the Terry Borcheller and John Krieg would team up in one TheRaceSite.com Porsches. But that would change and Borcheller shared the ride with Craig Stanton. Stanton qualified the Porsche fifth fastest. During the race, the pair trailed the leaders using a fuel conservation strategy. Their plan worked and while the other teams pitted late in the contest for fuel, Borcheller stayed out and won.
Sharing the No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura RSX-S was John Schmitt and Mike Liebl. Schmitt, who was last year’s Sport Touring I champion, performed the qualifying duties and was third fastest in Sport Touring – he would start twenty-fourth overall. In the race, they battled with their teammates, the SpeedSource Mazdas and the Turner BMWs. A superior race strategy allowed them to win by a one-lap margin.
The No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche 996 was qualified by Mark Plummer. Plummer was third quickest and would share the driving with Guy Cosmo. Cosmo captured two ST I class wins in 2003 and was hoping to open this season with another victory. The Porsche didn’t lead any laps but kept in contact with the front runners. In the last hour, Cosmo moved into second place but couldn’t catch TheRaceSite.com Porsche.
Robert Julien joined Doncaster Racing for another season of Grand Am Cup competition. His driving partner for the first race of the season was fellow Canadian, Kenny Wilden. Wilden qualified the No. 91 Porsche 996 and won the overall pole. The pair were in contention for much of the race, but they encountered a transmission issue on lap-50. The lost eight-laps while repairs were made and finished nineteenth.
The Grand Sport podium for round one of the 2004 Gran Am Cup series. Standing in the center of the rostrum are the victors, Terry Borcheller and Craig Stanton, who shared TheRaceSite.com Porsche 996. To the left of the winners are the runner-ups from BGB Motorsports, Mark Plummer and Guy Cosmo. Completing the podium are the drivers of the No. 33 Unitech Racing Nissan 350Z, Mike Cronin, Jr. and Stu Hayner.
Another of the many two-car teams at Daytona was Turner Motorsport, which entered a pair of BMW 330i. Sharing the No. 97 330i was Tim Pappas and Steve Pfeffer. At the end of the qualifying session, they were sixth quickest in Sport Touring and would be gridded twenty-seventh overall for the start of the Daytona 250. The duo challenged for the top but at the finish, they were one lap behind the winners in the runner-up position.
Starting on the outside of the front row was the second-fastest qualifier, Devon Powell, in the Powell Motorsport Pontiac Firebird. The team would open the season with the Pontiac but the plans were to campaign a new Cadillac CTS-V. Sharing the Firebird with Powell was, John Heinricy. Heinricy and Powell grabbed first place when the Doncaster Porsche encountered problems but a late stop for gas took them out of contention.
Recording the second-fastest time in the Sport Touring category was Ian James in the Team Lexus No. 2 Lexus IS300. James’ co-driver the weekend would be team principal, Chuck Goldsborough. The drivers could not maintain the place of the class leaders and were seventh in class and twenty-second overall at the checkered flag. Their teammates, Andy Lally and Cort Wagner, didn’t fare any better and finished seventeen in Sport Touring.
Mike Cronin, Jr. and sports car racing veteran, Stu Hayner teamed up to drive the No. 33 Unitech Racing prepared Nissan 350Z. Their practice times in the two sessions were quick enough to place them in the top-ten. Cronin, Jr. drove the Nissan in qualifying and was sixth fastest. During the Daytona 250, they benefitted from the issues the Doncaster and Powell teams were having to grab a third-place finish.
TC Kline had some success last year with the BMW Z4. At the Watkins Glen and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Don Salama and Steve Pfeffer scored victories. At Daytona International Speedway, the BMW was shared by Neal Sapp and Anita Sangi. Sangi qualified the car forty-third overall and twenty-first in class. The more experienced, Sapp drove the final stint and moved up the race order to give the pair a third-place finish.
Bill Fenton Motorsports team entered two Acura RSX-S. The No. 27 Acura was near the top of the timesheets in practice. In qualifying, Bob Beede, the 2003 Grand Am Cup Sport Touring II class champion, ‘kicked it up a notch’ and put the RSX on the Sport Touring pole. Sharing the car with Beede was Eric Curran. The duo encountered issues during the race and failed to finish – completing only twelve laps.
The Grand Am Cup Sport Touring rostrum for round one at Daytona International Raceway. In the center are the winners, John Schmitt and Mark Liebl, who captured first place by a one-lap margin. On the right side of the podium, and standing in for the second-place finishers, Steve Pfeffer and Tim Pappas is Turner Motorsport’s team principal, Will Turner. Completing the rostrum are TC Kline Racing’s Anita Sangi and Neal Sapp.

1GSStanton / BorchellerPorsche 996The Race Site.com70
2GSPlummer / CosmoPorsche 996BGB Motorsports70
3GSCronin / HaynerNissan 350ZUnitech Racing70
4GSNonnamaker / NonnamakerPorsche 996The Race Site.com70
5GSPowell / HeinricyPontiac FirebirdPowell Motorsport70
6GSThornton / RussellBMW M3Automatic Racing70
7GSSchuitemaker / ZachariasNissan 350ZSchuitemaker Motorsports70
8GSJaeger / ArgetsingerPontiac FirebirdMichael Baughman Racing69
9GSMasessa / Nonnamaker / NonnamakerPorsche 996The Race Site.com69
10GSEscalette / PlumbPorsche 996Glenn Yee Motorsports69
11GSShreiner / LapcevichFord Mustang CobraShreiner Racing68
12GSMacAlpine / Smith / RehagenFord Mustang CobraRehagen Racing68
13STSchmitt / LieblAcura RSX-SBill Fenton Motorsports68
14GSGilbert / SturmPorsche 996North Shore Racing68
15STPappas / PfefferBMW 330iTurner Motorsport67
16GSWortzman / McCalmont / SpeckBMW M3Zoom Motorsports67
17STSangi / SappBMW Z4TC Kline Racing67
18STTurner / SalamaBMW 330iTurner Motorsport67
19GSDuarta / BaileyAcura NSXDAL Motorsports67
20STMatz / Sofronas / PotterBMW 328iDF Motorsports67
21STSchlesinger / TuatyMazda RX-8SpeedSource67
22STJames / GoldsboroughLexus IS300Team Lexus67
23STAbello / Theetge / BellMazda RX-8SpeedSource67
24STPawley / PeeleToyota SupraJ Pauley Motorsports67
25STHimes / EllingerBMW Z3ICY / SL Motorsports67
26STArnold / ConnollyBMW 330ciMatt Connolly Motorsports67
27GSKrohn / FoxPorsche 996G&W Motorsports66
28STHenderson / Van CleefToyota SupraRoad Runner Racing66
29STFanelli / Walker / WollersheimMazda RX-8SpeedSource65
30GSPicket / PumpellyPorsche 996Race Prep Motorsports65
31STSullivan / Sullivan / HughesBMW Z3TSR / Luzee Racing65
32STEaton / ColettiAcura Integra RColletti Motorsports65
33STGates / SoongMazda ProtegeParagon Motorsport64
34GSStubbs / Camp / BrownFord Mustang CobraFrederick Motorsports63
35STWagner / LallyLexus IS300Team Lexus63
36STLegg / AllenAudi A4LM Racing63
37STPonder / GreenDodge Neon SRT4The Fat And The Furious62
38STMoorcones / PiperAcura Integra RCraftsman Motorsports62
39GSWilden / JulienPorsche 996Doncaster Racing62
40STHeffron / ThomsonBMW Z3Matt Connolly Motorsports62
41GSHainer / Istook / RosserAudi S4Istook / Aines Motorsport Group60
42GSWeinberg / KnowlesPontiac FirebirdPowell Motorsport56
43STKozarov / SmithMini Cooper SCompetition Associates55
44GSRayhall / ZarcadoolasLotus EspritRapier Racing45
45STNuzzo / Lewis / EllisMini Cooper SNuzzo Motorsports44
46STHaskell / TremblayMazda RX-8SpeedSource43
47STBeede / CurranAcura RSX-SBill Fenton Motorsports37
48GSAssentato / Kohler / SmithMustang SaleenTF Racing37
49GSYeakle / WardPontiac FirebirdMichael Baughman Racing34
50GSSofronas / Munson / GalabaBMW M3Anchor Racing31
51GSDrissi / MillerNissan 350ZUnitech Racing29
52STMcGillycuddy / Nuzzo / LewisMini Cooper SNuzzo Motorsports16
53GSConger / Martin / KohlerMustang Cobra SVTRehagen Racing14
54STRoach / ParkDodge Neon SRT4Roach Racing13
55STOberto / Greensall / BurrowsNissan Sentra SE-RArchangel / LAMZ12
56STMason / HansonBMW Z4TC Kline Racing9
57STBaglier / LuffyMazda 6Baglieracing5

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