2005 was the fifth consecutive year of the Grand American Road Racing’s Grand Am Cup Series for American and Foreign sports cars and sedans.

There was a significant restructuring of the classes in 2004. The season debuted with a single Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (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 2,730 – 3,250-pounds, which is dependent on the motor configuration and displacement. The top speed for a Grand Sport car is approximately 160-mph. This class includes cars such as the Acura NSX, Cadillac CTS-V, 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. The top speed of a Sport Touring car is approximately 135-mph. Popular vehicles found in this group are the Acura RSX-S, Mazda RX-8, BMW Z3, BMW 330i, Chevrolet Cobalt SS and Mini Cooper S.

The cars competing 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 are placed in the Grand Sport or Sport Touring group.

The 2005 season consists of eleven race weekends and starts in February at Daytona International Speedway. New for this year is a Grand Sport only race in Santo Domingo. Returning to the United States, teams travel to California Speedway in early April. At the end of the month, the series competes at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Then there is a trip to the East Coast for race weekends at Watkins Glen International, Mosport International Raceway, Barber Motorsports Park, Trois-Rivieres (which would hold events for the Grand Sport and Sport Touring classes) and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The penultimate rounds take place at Phoenix International Raceway with the Twin 200s. The Grand Sport and Street Tuner teams will compete in separate races. While the finale is held in early October at Virginia International Raceway.

The EMCO Gears 200 was held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the thirteen turn 2.258-mile road course. This would be round eight for the Grand Am Cup Sport Touring competitors and race nine for the Grand Sport teams as they had an additional event in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republican.

Thirty-three Grand Am Cup Sport Touring teams are gridded on Mid-Ohio’s front straight for round eight. The series uses a split start with the Sport Touring group starting behind the Grand Sport competitors. On the pole is the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i shared by Don Salama and Will Turner. Beside the Turner entry and, delivering their best qualifying performance of the year, is the Compass 360 / Racing BMW Z3.
Justin Marks and Bill Auberlen entered round nine fresh off their victory at Trois-Rivieres. They were quickest in the practice sessions at the Mid-Ohio and Marks grabbed the pole. In fact, he was also the fastest in GT qualifying for the EMCO Gears Classic. During the race, Marks battled for the lead with Spencer Pumpelly but handed the BMW over to Auberlen in first place. Aubelen drove the BMW to the team’s fourth win of 2005.
In the previous round at Trois Rivieres, Jamie Holtom and Andy Lally started tenth and finished fourteenth. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the pair were seeking some redemption. This weekend, Holtom qualified the No. 00 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt sixth in Sport Touring. During his stint, Lally was in second but he took first place and the win when the leader, Don Salama, had contact with a lapped car.
Multimatic Motorsports drivers, David Empringham and Scott Maxwell, found themselves chasing the Turner Motorsport BMW all weekend. Empringham, the Grand Sport points leader’ was third fastest in qualifying. During his time behind the wheel, Empringham chased Justin Marks and Spencer Pumpelly. After the driver change, Maxwell found himself in seventeenth place but moved through the field to finish in the runner-up position.
The pole position for the Sport Touring category changed several times in the final minutes. After the checkered flag fell to end the session, Will Turner was quickest. Sharing the No. 95 BMW 330i with Turner was Don Salama. The pair were dominating the race and looked like they might score their first win of the season until a lapped Mini turned into Salama. He was knocked off course and returned to finish second in class.
The first lap through the ‘Carousel’ for the overall and Grand Sport leaders. It was mission accomplished for Turner Motorsport driver, Justin Marks, who wanted to beat the field into the first corner. Behind Marks is the second-fastest qualifier, Spencer Pumpelly driving Race Prep Motorsports Porsche 996. Following Pumpelly is the Multimatic Ford Mustang GT, piloted by the current points leader and third-place starter, David Empringham.
Spencer Pumpelly repeated his Trois-Rivieres qualifying performance and put the Race Prep Motorsports Porsche 996 on the outside of the front row. Mike Pickett was Pumpelly’s co-driver at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course round. During the first half of the race, Pumpelly traded the lead with the pole-sitter, Justin Marks. Pickett drove the final stint but issues with the No. 18 Porsche resulted in an eighteenth-place finish.
Fifth fastest during the Sport Touring qualifying session was Eric Curran driving the Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura RSX-S. Sharing the Acura with Curran was Bob Endicott. These two very quick drivers had two podium finishes together but hadn’t yet made it to the top step in 2005. Before the driver change, Curran moved into second place. During his stint, Endicott was passed by Don Salama and Andy Lally and finished third.
A surprise in the Sport Touring category was the speed of the No. 06 BMW Z3. Team owner Karl Thomson put young ‘hot shoe’ Billy Johnson in the driver’s seat for qualifying and he recorded the second quickest time. In addition to Johnson and Thomson, the BMW would also be raced by David Ciekiewicz. Johnson led until the first round of pit-stops. After the driver change, the team fell out of contention and finished eighth.
It was a great weekend for a local team, Team Sahlen. Ohio residents, Joe and Wayne Nonnamaker shared, the No. 40 Porsche 996. The former Grand Am Cup championship team started the EMCO 200 in seventh place. The final spot on the overall and Grand Sport podium was hotly contested during the final minutes of the event. The father and son team prevailed and captured third place - giving them their best result of the season.
The Sport Touring points leader, David Haskell, was responsible for the qualifying the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8. He and Sylvain Tremblay would start third in Sport Touring. The pair were unable to maintain the pace of the class leaders and finish fifth. After the race, Haskell was still on top of the standings by two points over his teammate, Tremblay and seven markers over Don Salama and Will Turner, third in the title chase.

1GSMarks / AuberlenBMW M3Turner Motorsport82
2GSEmpringham / MaxwellFord Mustang GTMultimatic Motorsports82
3GSNonnamaker / NonnamakerPorsche 996Team Sahlen82
4GSRosser / MurryPorsche 996Fiorano Racing82
5GSWilkins / LaceyPorsche 996Doncaster Racing82
6GSStanton / PumpellyPorsche 996Race Prep Motorsports82
7GSSkelton / FosterBMW M3Anchor Racing82
8GSPlummer / CosmoPorsche 996BGB Motorsports82
9GSWellon / Ellis / RossiPorsche 996Knobel Racing81
10GSKeravich III / TrinklerBMW M3Power Racing Team81
11GSSegal / LonghiBMW M3Automatic Racing81
12GSSchuitemaker / ZachariasNissan 350ZSchuitemaker Motorsports81
13GSKohler / Smith / MartinMustang SaleenTF Racing81
14STHoltom / LallyChevrolet CobaltGeorgian Bay Motorsports81
15STSalama / TurnerBMW 330ciCSL Racing81
16STCurran / EndicottAcura RSX-SBill Fenton Motorsports81
17STFitzgerald / PfefferBMW 330iTurner Motorsport81
18GSLehmann / LacyFord Mustang GTChampion Motorsports81
19STHaskell / TremblayMazda RX-8SpeedSource80
20GSRossi / FoxPorsche 996Knobel Racing80
21GSTraver / MillerPorsche 996BGB Motorsports80
22GSBrown / FosterPorsche 996Performance Imports80
23STStewart / PlumbAcura TSXStewart Motorsport80
24GSStanton / Pumpelly / PickettPorsche 996Race Prep Motorsports80
25STPovoledo / WalkerAcura RSX-SKensai Racing80
26GSThornton / RussellBMW M3Automatic Racing79
27STJohnson / Ciekiewicz / ThomsonBMW Z3Compass360/Racing79
28STColembie / TuatyBMW Z4TC Kline Racing79
29STMilner / ConnollyBMW 330ciMatt Connolly Motorsports79
30STLepper / RoachChevrolet CobaltFranklin American Mortgage79
31STHalpin / BriodyBMW 330ciMatt Connolly Motorsports79
32STLiebl / FentonAcura RSX-SBill Fenton Motorsports79
33STHoltom / MagnerChevrolet CobaltGeorgian Bay Motorsports79
34STSellers / BraunMazda RX-8Southpaw Racing79
35GSZavodsky / MacAlpine / RehagenMustang Cobra SVTRehagen Racing79
36GSGue / JeannetteFord Mustang GTMultimatic Motorsports79
37STGuenette / AltenburgMazda RX-8SpeedSource79
38STO'Shaughnessy / SchwartzottAcura TSXKensai Racing79
39STSchiff / MasonBMW Z4TC Kline Racing79
40GSJames / NastasiFord Mustang GTBlackforest Motorsports70
41GSScott / ProbertBMW M3Anchor Racing79
42GSSahlen / NonnamakerPorsche 996Team Sahlen78
43STAbello / EspenlaubMazda RX-8SpeedSource78
44GSBupp / CorsoNissan 350ZEastern Competition Promotorsports78
45STToussaint / PignataroMini Cooper SNuzzo Motorsports78
46STRobinson / Mitchell IIIMazda RX-8Play Therapy Racing78
47STBisignano / WalkerMazda RX-8SpeedSource78
48STCrowe / BeckerMazda RX-8Southpaw Racing76
49STLauni / ChampagneChevrolet CobaltGeorgian Bay Motorsports76
50STMoorcones / PoscenteAcura Integra RRadial Motorsports75
51GSMcCalmont / LawPorsche 996Zoom Motorsports68
52GSKapudija / PecorariMustang Cobra SVTRehagen Racing / Speedquest61
53STFonte / StoddartMazda ProtegeFountain Motorsports51
54STPattee / NuzzoMini Cooper SNuzzo Motorsports51
55GSGuindon / CamirandCadillac CTS-VPowell Motorsport40
56GSPutman / CourtneyPorsche 996Knobel Racing38
57GSHainer / HandBMW M3Anchor Racing35
58GSKrohn / JonssonPorsche 996Krohn Racing / TRG34
59STSchmitt / RoushHonda AccordHART25
60STDobson / SchlesingerMazda RX-8SpeedSource24
61STWong / DiedrickNissan Sentra SE-RDEI Racers Group22
62GSAlhadeff / SigalPorsche 996Fiorano Racing17
63GSFinlay / McDowellBMW M3Finlay Motorsports10
64GSPowell / KnowlesCadillac CTS-VPowell Motorsport9
65GSWortzman / WildenBMW M3Zoom Motorsports4

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