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 Tires 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.

Watkins Glen International hosted three Grand Am events in 2005. The third and final race at The Glen took place on Saturday, September, 24. Grand Am competitors shared the weekend with the Indy Racing League. The Crown Royal 250 was a two-hour, forty-five-minute race around the eleven-turn 3.337-mile road course.

For the first time this season it was an all Chip Ganassi Racing front. Winning the pole position for the No. 01 CompUSA sponsored Riley Mk XI was Luis Diaz. On the outside of the front row, gridded in their best starting position of the year were Cort Wagner and former Ferrari F1 driver, Stefan Johansson. The No. 02 inherited the spot when the Jorg Bermeister Riley failed post-qualifying tech for being too wide.
The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley Mk XI started from the pole for the fourth time this season compliments of Luis Diaz. Diaz who was sharing the car with Scott Pruett led much of the first half of the race. The team lost the lead to the SunTrust team during one of the rounds of pit-stops. Pruett drove the final stint and pressured the race leader, Max Angelelli but could not find a way by and settled for the runner-up position.
The point’s leader’s and the winners of the second Watkins Glen event, Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli started fifth. Angelelli drove the first stint and stayed with the leaders but a quick pit-stop put him in the lead. He was in the SunTrust Riley for much of the contest and given the task of remaining in first place to the checker. Late in the race, he came under pressure from Scott Pruett but Angelelli prevailed and captured the win.
Fastest in the GT category was Bill Auberlen driving the No. 21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3. Co-driving with Auberlen, this weekend was the team owner’s son, Tommy Milner. Along with Justin Marks, this pairing was victorious at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Auberlen led most of the first half of the contest but an electrical issue took the team out of contention. Repairs were made and they finished tenth in class.
The Racers Group teammates, Andy Lally and Marc Bunting, started the season in a Porsche but made the switch to a Pontiac GTO.R in round seven at Daytona. At Watkins Glen, Bunting drove the first stint and hit a tire barrier early in the event. With only cosmetic damage, he was able to continue. With less than thirty minutes left in the race, Lally was in the lead and successfully fended off a challenge from his teammate, Paul Edwards for the victory.
The Daytona Prototype class winners of the Crown Royal 250 at Watkins Glen International - Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor. Angelelli and Taylor were ‘on a roll.’ Their main rivals for the title were Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz who had retired in the previous round at Phoenix. With just two events remaining in the 2005 season, the victory at Watkins Glen further strengthened their place at the top of the standings.
Cort Wagner and Stefan Johansson started on the outside of the front row after the No. 66 Krohn Racing entry was disqualified for being too wide. At the start of the race, Wagner chased his teammate and the pole-sitter, Luis Diaz. Unfortunately, Johansson and Wagner would drop down the race order and at the checkered flag; they were, on the lead lap, in sixth place.
Daytona Prototype competitors, Oswaldo Negri, Jr. and Mark Patterson made their 2005 debut in round four at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where they started on the pole. Their appearances were spotty and the pair did not return to the series until race ten at Mid-Ohio. At Watkins Glen, the Michael Shank Racing Riley was gridded thirteenth. With some excellent pit-work and driving the duo grabbed the final spot on the podium.
After the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, TRG changed brands, dropping the Porsche in favour of a Pontiac GTO.R. Just three races later the Pontiac won its first race in the hands of Paul Edwards and Jan Magnussen. In qualifying for round fifteen, they were the second quickest GT entry and started twenty-third overall. The pair ran with the lead pack during the entire contest and despite their best efforts finished in the runner-up spot.
Quickest of the Porsche GT3 Cup entries was the No. 36 shared by Randy Pobst and Spencer Pumpelly. The car started fourth in GT and twenty-fifth overall. Pobst and Pumpelly stayed with the leaders and fought with a group of five Grand Touring cars all contending for the class victory. As the race came to a conclusion, only three teams were on the same lap. The pair captured the final position of the class podium.
Jorg Bergmeister qualified second fastest but his efforts were for nothing as the No. 66 Riley Mk XI was too wide and failed the post-qualifying tech inspection. Bergmeister and his teammate, Max Papis were required to start at the rear of the DP grid. By the mid-point of the race, Bergmeister was in third place. Papis drove the second stint and attempted an aggressive pass in turn one which eliminated him and several competitors.
Ian James and Chris Gleason raced the No. 22 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 this weekend. The BMW started fifth in GT and twenty-sixth overall. In the late stages of the event, James and Gleason were unable to maintain the pace of the TRG Pontiacs and the TPC Porsche. They lost a lap to the top three Grand Touring competitors and were in fourth place at the checkered flag.
The Grand Touring category podium at the Crown Royal 250. In the center are the class winners from The Racers Group – Andy Lally and Marc Bunting. The runner-ups and their teammates, Mark Edwards and Jan Magnussen, are standing to the right of Bunting and Lally. To the winner’s left and completing the rostrum are Randy Pobst and Spencer Pumpelly who drove the TPC Porsche.

1DPTaylor / AngelelliRiley Mk XI66-
2DPDiaz / PruettRiley Mk XI66-
3DPNegri, Jr. / PattersonRiley Mk XI66-
4DPBorcheller / GuenetteRiley Mk XI66-
5DPGidley / ValianteRiley Mk XI66-
6DPWagner / JohanssonRiley Mk XI66-
7DPBorkowski / Mears, Jr.Riley Mk XI66-
8DPTuttle / LeindersRiley Mk XI66-
9DPFlanagan / LongCrawford DP0366-
10DPKrohn / JonssonRiley Mk XI66-
11DPGurney / StallingsRiley Mk XI66-
12DPFrance / Haywood / DonohueFabcar FDSC/0366-
13DPGrala / LewisRiley Mk XI66-
14DPFrisselle / FrisselleDoran JE466-
15GTBunting / LallyPontiac GTO.R66-
16GTEdwards / MagnussenPontiac GTO.R66-
17GTPobst / PumpellyPorsche GT3 Cup66-
18GTJames / GleasonBMW M365-
19GTCollins / ValentineBMW M365-
20DPForbes-Robinson / LeitzingerCrawford DP0364-
21GTAlhadeff / SigalPorsche GT3 Cup63-
22GTNonnamaker / NonnamakerPorsche GT3 Cup63-
23GTRoehrig / SzekeresPontiac GTO62-
24DPGoad / CamirandCrawford DP0358-
25GTDavis / TafelPorsche GT3 Cup56-
26GTMilner / AuberlenBMW M354-
27GTKeen / FriedmanPorsche GT3 Cup53Wheel
28GTMurry / StantonPorsche GT3 Cup51-
29GTMarks / HandBMW M349-
30DPBergmeister / PapisRiley Mk XI44Accident
31DPLaw / DonohueFabcar FDSC/0342Accident
32DPBobbi / GollinDoran JE442Accident
33DPDyson / Brix / DysonCrawford DP0342Accident
34GTLonghi / AssentatoPorsche GT3 Cup40Accident
35DPDuno / WallaceCrawford DP0334Steering
36GTLevitas / LittlechildPorsche GT3 Cup33Did Not Finish
37GTGreenberg / DalzielPorsche GT3 Cup21Transmission
38GTYeakle / BaughmanChevrolet Corvette21Accident
39GTStanton / Van WijkPorsche GT3 Cup9Transmission

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