The 2004 Grand American Road Racing Championship (Grand Am) was the fifth season for the series. A business model which controlled costs, had stable rules and avoided being on dependent of automotive manufacturers attracted many private teams. Based on the failure, of its predecessor, the United States Road Racing Championship in 1999 critics suggested that the Grand Am would suffer a similar fate. This was proving not to be the case as entries were continuing to grow with each year.

In the first season of Grand Am competition there were five classes but by 2004 the series had reduced the number to three categories:

  • Daytona Prototype (DP): This class was introduced in 2003 and was established to replace the two existing Sports Racing Prototype groups. To control costs, the cars used a tube frame chassis rather than the expensive composites used to construct most prototype race cars. Also, expenses were contained by limiting modifications and implementing rules that would be in place for five years. Approved to produce the first generation of Daytona Prototypes - for a cost of approximately $400,000 were: Riley Technologies, Doran Designs, Crawford Race Cars, Fabcar Engineering, Chase Competition Engineering, Picchio and Multimatic. Costs were also controlled by restricting the engines to production based motors supplied by Pontiac, Lexus, BMW, Porsche, Ford and Infiniti. Engine displacement was used to determine the weight of a car and whether a five or six-speed transmission could be utilized.
  • Grand Touring (GT): In 2004, rules were established that allowed GT and GTS cars to compete in the same category. As a result, 28 different models from 19 manufacturers were eligible for this class. Examples include Porsche, BMW, Chevrolet, Mazda, Ferrari and Pontiac. As with the Daytona Prototypes, engine displacement was used to establish the weight of different makes and models.
  • Super Grand Sports (SGS): Cars competing in 2003s Grand Am Cup Series Grand Sport I category were moved to the Grand Am division. Included in this class are production-based cars such as the Porsche 911 GT3, Chevrolet Corvette and Ferrari 360.

As in the past, the season opened in February with the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway and ended at California Speedway. In between these two venues, there were events at Homestead-Miami, Mont-Tremblant, Watkins Glen, Barber Motorsports Park, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Phoenix International Raceway and Virginia International Raceway. There was a total of twelve events with the series competing at Daytona, Watkins Glen and Homestead-Miami twice.

After competing on three ‘Rovals’, the teams would be racing on a natural terrain road course at Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant was race four of the twelve rounds contested during the 2004 Grand-Am championship. The track has a rich motorsport history – in addition to featuring the F5000, Can Am and Trans Am series it also hosted the Canadian Grand Prix in 1968 and 1970. This was the Grand Am series third visit to the circuit.

This event would be six hours in length around the 15-turn 2.65-mile road course.

A strong field of thirty-eight cars head in to Mont-Tremblant’s first corner. Leading the way is Scott Pruett in the No. 01 Riley MK XI entered by Chip Ganassi Racing. Falling in behind Pruett and just 0.152-seconds slower in qualifying is the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Riley MK XI driven by Max Angelelli. Trailing Angelelli are David Donohue in the Brumos Fabcar and the No. 27 Doran of Jan Magnussen.
During practice, Forest Barber lost the left-rear wheel while traveling through corner-three. The Doran suffered some damage when it hit the tire barrier. The car was repaired and Barber’s co-driver, Terry Borcheller qualified the Doran ninth. Barber decided he would not race and left the driving to Borcheller and Andy Pilgrim. The pair made good progress during the race and at the checkered flag, they finished third.
Scott Pruett handled the qualifying duties for the No. 01 Ganassi Racing Riley MK XI and recorded a lap time of 1:28.575. In the first four races of the season, the No. 01 had started on the pole but were yet to score a victory. At Mont-Tremblant, Pruett and his teammate Max Papis finally turned things around. The pair led 128 of the 200-lap race and won by a margin of 3.505-seconds – under yellow flag conditions.
Max Angelelli was the fastest in the final practice but was second quickest after the 15-minute qualifying session. Angelelli shared the car with Emmanuel Collard and team owner, Wayne Taylor. By lap-4, Angelelli was around race leader Pruett but his charge came to an end on the eighth circuit when he pitted for an oil leak. The car made a couple of unscheduled stops before the problem was corrected to the team’s satisfaction. They finished thirteenth in class.
In the center of the Super Grand Sport podium and scoring a decisive two lap class victory are Randy Pobst and team owner, Michael Levitas from TPC Racing. To their right, are their teammates and second place finishers – Andy Lally and Marc Bunting. The final spot on the podium went to local drivers Marc-Antione Camirand and Norman Guindon.
After qualifying, the three quickest Grand Touring cars were separated by less the 0.5-second. Joey Hand would start the second Prototype Technology Group BMW entry in third place. Hand and co-driver, Justin Marks made an unscheduled pit-stop early in the race to repair an air-jack. After this incident, they were never in contention for the win and finished fourth in class.
Andy Lally was the quickest of the Super Grand Sport competitors. Lally shared the No. 38 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup with Marc Bunting. He was passed by his TPC Racing teammate, Randy Pobst on the first lap. He and Bunting maintained the position and were second in class at the checkered flag.
The No. 21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 was the fastest GT car in practice and qualifying. Boris Said was responsible for qualifying the BMW that he shared with Bill Auberlen. The two drivers led most of the race but not without some trouble. Said had an incident with a slower Porsche which damaged the car but the team was able to make quick repairs. This was the duo’s third win in a row.
In the center are the Daytona Prototype class winners of the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant – Max Papis and Scott Pruett. To their left, are the second-place finishers from Doran Lista Racing – Jan Magnussen and Didier Theys. Taking the final position on the podium are Terry Borcheller and Andy Pilgrim.
In qualifying, Ian James was second quickest and split the two Prototype Technology Group BMWs. Early in the race, James was running second in class when he had contact with a slower car – James dropped to seventh. The remainder of the event was catch-up for James and his co-drivers – R.J. Valentine and Chris Gleason. In the final hour, James passed the second place, Maserati, to take the runner-up spot on the podium.
Joao Barbosa driving Scuderia Ferrari of Washington Maserati Trofeo was only the seventh fastest after qualifying. But Barbosa and his teammates, Emil Assentato and Stephen Earle, benefited from the misfortune of their fellow competitors and were second in Grand Touring by the mid-point of the contest. They held the position until the final hour when they were passed by the Porsche of Ian James.
Driving the No. 27 Lexus-powered Doran JE4 were Jan Magnussen and Didier Theys. Magnussen qualified the Doran Lista Racing fourth. The team led thirty-one laps during the middle of the race but were in fourth place entering the final hour. Donohue’s spin and some superb driving by Magnussen allowed the team to capture a second place finish.
The second TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup was shared by Randy Pobst and team owner, Michael Levitas. Pobst qualified second – behind his teammate Andy Lally in the No. 38 Porsche. Pobst jumped into the lead on the first lap and he and Levitas never looked back to win the Super Grand Sport class by a margin of two laps.
Last year’s winners, David Donohue and Sacha Maassen shared the No. 58 Brumos Racing Fabcar FDSC/03 with Darren Law. Donohue qualified the car in the third grid position. The No. 01 Ganassi Riley’s biggest challenge came from Donohue. However, he spun into a gravel trap, while leading, early in the final hour. This incident caused the team to lose two laps and they finished eighth in the Daytona Prototype class.
The Grand Touring category podium. In the center are the class winners from the Prototype Technology Group – Boris Said and Bill Auberlen. To their left are The Racer’s Group driver’s Ian James, Chris Gleason and R.J. Valentine who finished second. Rounding out the podium are Emil Assentato, Stephen Earle and Joao Barbosa.
Local Quebec racers Marc-Antoine Camirand and car owner, Normand Guindon shared the No. 07 Powell Motorsport Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Camirand qualified the car and was the third fastest Super Grand Sport car. The race for first and second in the Super Grand Sport category never appeared to be in doubt but three different teams shared third place at some point during event. At the checkered flag, Guindon and Camirand were third in class.

1DPPruett / PapisRiley Mk XI200-
2DPMagnussen / TheysDoran JE4200-
3DPPilgrim / Barber / BorchellerDoran JE4200-
4DPLeitzinger / Forbes-RobinsonCrawford DP03200-
5DPDuno / Wallace / LammersCrawford DP03200-
6DPNegri / FrisselleDoran JE4200-
7DPWagner / Martini / CollinsDoran JE4199-
8DPDonohue / Law / MaassenFabcar FDSC/03198-
9DPHall / Huang / DavisCrawford DP03197-
10DPMorales / DiazRiley Mk XI196-
11DPGoad / GrégoireCrawford DP03192-
12GTSaid / AuberlenBMW M3191-
13GTJames / Valentine / GleasonPorsche GT3RS191-
14DPGrala / Lloyd / BorkowskiFabcar FDSC/03189-
15SGSPobst / LevitasPorsche GT3 Cup188-
16GTBarbosa / Assentato / EarleMaserati Trofeo Light188-
17GTHand / MarksBMW M3187-
18DPAngelelli / Taylor / CollardRiley Mk XI186-
19SGSLally / BuntingPorsche GT3 Cup186-
20GTPumpelly / Liddell / GreenbergPorsche GT3RS186-
21GTStroll / Longhi / RehmFerrari 360 Modena GT185-
22SGSCamirand / GuindonChevrolet Corvette184-
23SGSNonnamaker / Nonnamaker / NonnamakerPorsche GT3 Cup183-
24GTVance / McQueen / SchuitemakerPorsche GT3R182-
25SGSMurry / Van Wijk / KrohnPorsche GT3 Cup179-
26SGSWard / BaughmanPorsche GT3 Cup179-
27SGSAdam / LittlechildPorsche GT3 Cup177-
28GTBuckler / Halliday / KroczekPorsche GT3 Cup177-
29SGSMartin / Yeakle / St. AmourChevrolet Corvette174-
30GTFitzgerald / Policastro, Jr. / PolicastroPorsche GT3RS170-
31DPFrance / Luhr / HaywoodFabcar FDSC/03166Engine
32DPLewis / RiceFabcar FDSC/03126Suspension
33DPPruskowski / Pruskowski / BentleyMultimatic MDP1109Accident
34GTHalsmer / SchmittAcura NSX106Engine
35GTAlexander / Gay / MedianiFerrari 360 Modena98Engine
36DPGuenette / GuenettePicchio DP284Accident
37SGSWilkins / LaceyPorsche GT3 Cup59Steering
38SGSDumoulin / Julien / LongPorsche GT3 Cup31Accident

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