The 2005 Grand American Road Racing Championship (Grand Am) was the sixth season of 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.

In the first season of Grand Am competition there were five classes but by 2005 the series had reduced the number to two 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, there were two production-based classes: Grand Touring and Super Grand Sport which initially competed in the Grand Am Cup division. These two categories were combined into a single class in 2005. Participating in this group were manufacturers such as 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.

One of the top stories in 2005 was that Hoosier Racing Tire became the exclusive tire supplier for the series. Also making news was the addition of two new race tracks on the schedule. For the first time, the Grand Am series would compete at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

As in the past, the season opened in February with the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway and ended in Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. In between these two venues, there were events at Homestead-Miami, California Speedway, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Mont-Tremblant, Watkins Glen, Barber Motorsports Park, Mid-Ohio, Phoenix International Raceway and Virginia International Raceway. There was a total of fourteen events with the series competing at Daytona twice and Watkins Glen three times.

The 43nd Rolex 24 at Daytona took place on the weekend of February 5 and 6. There was a total of 62-starters (29-Daytona Prototypes and 33-Grand Touring) which was up from previous year. Drivers would compete for 24-hours on the 12-turn, 3.56-mile track which utilized an infield road course and almost the entire tri-oval.

The GT category podium. In the center are the class winners from Farnbacher Racing - Pierre Ehret, Shawn Price, Dominik Farnbacher and Wolf Henzler. At the left are Nick Longi, Emil Assentato, Mike Fitzgerald and Manuel Matos who finished second. Rounding out the podium are Mark Wilkins, Greg Wilkins, Robert Nearn, David Shep and David Lacey.
The start of the 43rd running of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Twenty-nine Daytona Prototype entries (almost five times more than 2003 – the class’ first year) receive the Starters green flag. On the pole for the second year in a row is the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley with Scott Pruett behind the wheel. On the outside of the front row are the eventual winners from SunTrust Racing.
Farnbacher Racing dominated the GT category. It started when Wolf Henzler recorded the fastest time during qualifying. The teams Porsche GT3 Cup performed flawlessly and led the GT class most of the race. At the end of twenty-four hours, the drivers - Wolf Henzler, Dominik Farnbacher, Pierre Ehret and Shawn Price had completed 664-laps – taking the class victory by a three lap margin.
The SunTrust Racing Riley was quick at the 2004 event but encountered some problems – the final issue being a driveshaft failure which led to their retirement. Their luck changed in 2005, and it began when Max Angelelli qualified the car on the front row. Throughout the race, Angelelli and his co-drivers Wayne Taylor and Emmanuel Collard swapped the lead with other competitors but at the end of twenty-four hours, they were the winners.
The six fastest Daytona Prototypes were Riley’s but at the end of the race, a Crawford finished second and third. Sharing the No. 4 Crawford DP03 were Butch Leitzinger, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson. The team’s progress was hampered in the fifteenth hour by a broken exhaust header. They were able to overcome this issue and finished second – eleven laps behind the winning SunTrust Riley.
Grand Am implemented a split start. As a result, the Grand Touring cars were the second wave to receive the Starter’s green flag. Fastest GT qualifier, Wolf Henzler starts from the pole in the Farnbacher Racing Porsche GT3 Cup. Running a relatively trouble free race the team would take the class victory. Beside Henzler is the TPC team which finished second in last year’s Super Grand Sports class.
The second entry in the TPC Racing stable was driven by Mike Fitzgerald, Manuel Matos, Emil Assentato and late addition, Nick Longi. The Porsche GT3 Cup started fifty-six out of sixty-two entries. But at the end of twenty-four hours, this group was eleventh overall and second in the Grand Touring category.
Starting from the pole position for the second year in a row was the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley MK XI. Scott Pruett qualified the Riley and was out front early but the car developed a persistent oil leak which required many of pit-stops. By hour six, the team had fallen to thirty-third place but they started a steady climb back to the top. In the end, Pruett and his co-drivers Ryan Briscoe and Luis Diaz were seventh overall.
Kevin Buckler’s The Racer’s Group had eight cars entered in the 2005 Rolex 24. Six of these entries were Porsche GT3 Cups. The best of the group was the No. 61 shared by Robert Nearn along with Canadians David Lacey, David Shep and Mark and Greg Wilkins. The car started thirty-seventh overall and eighth in the GT category. At the checkered flag, the team was twelfth overall and third in class.
The 2005 Rolex 24 produced better results than the previous year for Andy Wallace and Tony Stewart. In 2004, with less than twenty minutes remaining in the race, a suspension failure took them out of the lead. This season, Wallace and Stewart along with, endurance veteran, Jan Lammers finished third overall and in the Daytona Prototype class – eleven laps behind the winning SunTrust Riley.
At the end of twenty-four hours, the Ganassi team lined up for a ‘photo op.’ The No. 03 car was shared by Scott Dixon, Darren Manning and Casey Mears - this trio finished sixth. In the center is Ganassi’s lead car driven by Luis Diaz, Ryan Briscoe and pole-sitter Scott Pruett. The No. 02 Riley on the outside finished fourth and was raced by Stefan Johansson, Jamie McMurray and Cort Wagner.
The No. 66 Riley MK XI from Krohn Racing/TRG started third. The car was driven by a very quick trio – Oliver Gavin, Jorg Bergmeister and Max Papis. The Riley was in contention for the win until the mid-point of the race. A series of problems developed which included a water leak and then a halfshaft issue which necessitated the replacement of the transmission. At the checkered flag, they were sixteenth overall.
In qualifying, the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup was less than 0.5-second behind the pole-winning Farnbacher Porsche – this put the car on the outside of the front row. The TPC Porsche was driven by Randy Pobst, Spencer Pumpelly, Jean-Francois Dumoulin, Michael Levitas and John Littlechild. Unfortunately, their chances for a good finish ended on lap-495 with an accident.
The quickest of the six Racer’s Group GT entries was the No. 65 Porsche GT3 Cup shared by Andy Lally, Marc Bunting, Hugh Plumb, Carlos DeQuesada and team owner, Kevin Buckler. Lally recorded the third fastest time in qualifying but the team encountered problems early and finished fourteenth overall and fifth in the Grand Touring class.
The SunTrust team completed 710-laps and finished a comfortable eleven laps ahead of the second-place Crawford entered by Howard – Boss Motorsports. From left to right is lead driver, Max Angelelli, Emmanuel Collard and team owner, Wayne Taylor.

1DPAngelelli / Taylor / CollardRiley Mk XI Pontiac710-
2DPLeitzinger / Forbes-Robinson / JohnsonCrawford DP03 Pontiac699-
3DPWallace / Lammers / StewartCrawford DP03 Pontiac699-
4DPJohansson / Wagner / McMurrayRiley Mk XI Lexus698-
5DPGollin / Bobbi / TheysDoran JE4 Lexus697-
6DPDixon / Mears / ManningRiley Mk XI Lexus694-
7DPPruett / Diaz / BriscoeRiley Mk XI Lexus688-
8DPDonohue / Law / Luhr / MaassenFabcar FDSC/03 Porsche680-
9DPMagnussen / Labonte / Labonte / HertaDoran JE4 Pontiac675Engine
10GTHenzler / Farnbacher / Ehret / PricePorsche GT3 Cup664-
11GTFitzgerald / Matos / AssentatoPorsche GT3 Cup661-
12GTNearn / Wilkins / Lacey / Shep / WilkinsPorsche GT3 Cup659-
13GTLiddell / Baldwin / Stanton / Tafel / DavisPorsche GT3 Cup659-
14GTLally / Bunting / Plumb / DeQuesada / BucklerPorsche GT3 Cup656-
15GTKeen / Friedman / Bacon / JohnsonPorsche GT3 Cup654-
16DPPapis / Bergmeister / GavinRiley Mk XI Pontiac653-
17GTBentley / Braun / Carrio / Coleman / BucklerPorsche GT3 Cup650-
18DPJönsson / Krohn / Rice / Said / MoralesRiley Mk XI Pontiac642Fire
19DPDallenbach, Jr. / Dallenbach / Robinson / UnserRiley Mk XI Lexus641-
20GTMaster / Flanagan / Sluszny / ClarkPorsche GT3 Cup639-
21GTZitza / Blum / Lux / Allen / Gonzalez, Jr.Porsche GT3 Cup637-
22DPDyson / Brix / Dyson / GueCrawford DP03 Ford630-
23DPGrala / Patterson / Wahl / Kroczek / LewisFabcar FDSC/03 Lexus630-
24GTDrudi / Rosa / Monzón / de VillotaFerrari 360 Challenge627-
25GTPlumb / Gooding / Boss / MichaelianFerrari 360 Challenge623-
26GTSigal / Konôpka / Hanson / Konstant / WiltonPorsche GT3 Cup599-
27DPMaxwell / Busch / Kenseth / BiffleMultimatic MDP1 Ford Focus588Driveline
28GTPechnik / Neiman / Van OverbeekPorsche GT3 Cup582-
29GTKitch / Gagne / Pickering / PallisPorsche GT3 Cup582-
30GTBonham / Phillips / Orwicz / Williams / FairchildPorsche GT3 Cup581-
31GTRagazzi / Diez de Villarroel / Chiminelli / BertuzziFerrari 360 Challenge553-
32GTNonnamaker / Nonnamaker / Nonnamaker / JakesPorsche GT3 Cup544-
33DPFranchitti / Duno / Franchitti / WheldonCrawford DP03 Pontiac528Accident
34DPFrisselle / Erdos / Frisselle / NewtonDoran JE4 BMW523Transmission
35GTArnold / Thiel / Stevenson / MacAlpine / TurnerChevrolet Corvette507-
36GTPobst / Pumpelly / Dumoulin / Levitas / LittlechildPorsche GT3 Cup495Accident
37GTZacharias / Donner / Foster / Skelton / RosserDoran JE4 Infiniti493-
38GTDerment / Lewis / Hainer / Roush / BernheimPorsche GT3 Cup488Engine
39GTGaylord / Van Wijk / Murry / EmoryPorsche GT3 Cup477-
40GTEspenlaub/Szekeres/Hanson/Villamil/DelVecchioPontiac GTO476-
41GTInoue / Fujita / Wada / Hirakawa / TakahashiPorsche GT3 Cup468-
42DPGidley / McDowell / Valiante / BomaritoRiley Mk XI BMW465-
43DPVargo / Vargo / Vargo / RefenningFabcar FDSC/03 Porsche463Engine
44DPFrance / Haywood / Bernhard / Rockenfeller / DumasFabcar FDSC/03 Porsche432Accident
45GTWendlinger / Quester / Mowlem / VossePorsche GT3 Cup409Accident
46DPBorkowski / Mears, Jr. / Connor / DaytonRiley Mk XI Pontiac399Engine
47GTPhipps / Hardage / Nahir / Mayer / TrentiniPorsche GT3 Cup355-
48GTGoldin / Finlay / Goldin / ShusterMazda RX-8336-
49DPFittipaldi / Tracy / Borcheller / KellenersDoran JE4 Pontiac328Oil Leak
50DPMiller / Bingham / Ivankovich / BurgessChase CCE-001 Pontiac297Differential
51DPda Matta / Bourdais / Newman / BrockmanCrawford DP03 Ford290Accident
52GTCouceiro/Policastro/Sauvage/Amaral/PolicastroPorsche GT3 Cup276Engine
53GTBaird / Morris / Ambrose / TeulanPorsche GT3 Cup271Transmission
54DPGoossens / Smith / Sharp / MatthewsRiley Mk XI Pontiac239Engine
55DPBucknum / Nastasi / Zogaib / Peterson / DuderMultimatic MDP1 Ford Focus223Accident
56GTSeiler / Hauser / Puleo / DublerChevrolet Corvette218Electrical
57GTAuberlen / Hand / James / GleasonBMW M3199Wheel
58DPGoad / Grégoire / Moreno / WardCrawford DP03 Pontiac194Cooling
59GTMarks / Milner / Collins / ValentineBMW M3168Wheel
60DPSellers / Urciuoli / Workman / MarshallPicchio DP2 BMW134Transmission
61GTCosmo / Stewart / Stewart / Stewart / GilbertPorsche GT3 Cup85Accident
62GTBaughman / YeakleChevrolet Corvette20Wheel

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