2006 was the sixth 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 GT, Nissan 350Z, Porsche 996 and 997 models.
  • Street Tuner (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, Acura TSX, Mazda RX-8, BMW Z4, 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 2006 season consists of ten race weekends and starts in January at Daytona International Speedway. Teams do not compete again until April for the first of two events at Virginia International Raceway. In early May, the series competes at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and stays on the West Coast for races at Phoenix International Raceway. Then the series returns to the eastern United States for weekends at Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Barber Motorsports Park. On the first weekend of August, the championship heads north of the border to compete at the Le Circuit Trois-Rivieres. The penultimate round takes place at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, with the finale being contested at Virginia International Raceway.

Separate races for the Grand Sport and Street Tuner categories will be held at Phoenix, Lime Rock Park, Trois-Rivieres and the second race weekend at Virginia International Raceway.

Eighty-seven Grand Am Cup competitors were entered in the Grand Am Cup 200 at Daytona and eighty-two started the contest. Drivers would compete on the twelve-turn 3.56-mile roval in round one of the 2006 championship.

The technical inspection after qualifying resulted in some changes to the starting line-up. The fastest qualifier, Mark Plummer, was moved to the back of the grid for a suspension modification to his Porsche 996. This elevated the No. 55 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT of Ryan Pilla to the pole-position. Sharing the front row with Pilla was Eric Lux driving the No. 44 Team Sahlen Porsche 966.
With the disqualification of the BGB Motorsports’ Porsches, the starting position for Grand Sport competitors improved at least one spot. As a result, the No. 44 Porsche 966, driven by Eric Lux and Charles Espenlaub, would be gridded second. Lux drove the opening stint and grabbed first place on lap-3. After the driver change, Espenlaub also led the race but had to hold off a challenge from Bill Auberlen for the victory.
The No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche 996 was driven by Mark Plummer during the qualifying session. Plummer recorded the fastest time but modifications to the suspension of the Porsche meant that he and his co-driver, Craig Stanton, would be gridded at the rear. Despite their starting position, they charged through the field and Stanton claimed the lead on lap-52. But a late pit-stop for fuel resulted in a twentieth-place finish.
The Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT of Ryan Pilla and Joe Foster inherited the top qualifying position with the disqualification of the BGB Motorsports’ Porsche. Pilla started the Grand Am Cup 200 and led the first three laps before being passed by the Porsche of Eric Lux. Pilla and Foster were unable to maintain the pace of the front runners and finished on the lead lap – thirteenth overall and in the Grand Sport category.
It was the same story at the front of the Street Tuner class. Except, in this case, the two fastest qualifiers had to start from the rear of the grid for technical violations. Leading the field of Street Tuner competitors into turn one is the new pole-sitter, Hugh Plumb driving the No. 27 Acura RSX-S. Beside Plumb is the Chevrolet Cobalt of the second-place starter, Eric Curran. Following these two are Will Turner and John Schmitt.
The Grand Sport podium for round one of the 2006 Grand Am Cup series. Standing in the center of the rostrum are the winners, Eric Lux and Charles Espenlaub, who drove one a five Team Sahlen Porsches entered in the event. To the left of Lux and Espenlaub are the runner-ups from Turner Motorsports, Bill Auberlen and Chris Gleason. Completing the podium are Michael McDowell and the team owner/driver, Rob Findlay.
The No. 92 HART Honda Accord, shared by John Schmitt and Dave Roush, moved to the fourth Street Tuner starting position after the disqualification of the two Acuras. Schmitt started the race and was able to dodge much of the on-track trouble. He handed the Honda over to Roush in good condition. Roush escaped serious contact during his stint and scored his first Gran-Am Cup victory and the seventh for Schmitt.
The No. 75 Kensai Racing Acura RSX-S was the fastest Street Turner qualifier but the technical inspection after the session uncovered an illegal fuel system. Slated to start second was the Schwartzott / Thornley Racing Acura TSX but it was too low. Both Acuras were moved to the rear of the field. The Kensai RSX-S would finish twenty-seventh in class while the TSX would be classified in nineteenth place.
Veteran BMW driver, Bill Auberlen, was signed by Turner Motorsports to share the No. 96 BMW M3 with Chris Gleason. The BMW had engine problems in practice and failed to post a time in qualifying. As a result, Gleason started fifty-first in a field of eighty-two cars. Late in the contest, Auberlen was third and closing on the leading Porsches. When the second-place car pitted for fuel, he inherited a runner-up finish.
The biggest beneficiary of the Street Tuner disqualifications was the No. 27 Acura RSX-S. Piloting the Acura were brothers, Hugh and Matt Plumb. Hugh led the opening laps until he was passed by the Chevrolet Cobalt of Eric Curran. At the mid-point of the event, the brothers performed their driver change. Matt had an incident during his stint, causing him to lose contact with the race leading Honda Accord. They would finish second.
Grand Am Rolex competitors, Rob Findlay and Michael McDowell, co-drove the No. 15 Findlay Motorsport Ford Mustang GT. Findlay performed the qualifying duties and was fifth fastest. He maintained his position during his time behind the wheel. McDowell stayed with the leaders but an off-course excursion in turn-one took him out of contention. The pair finished third and were the highest placed Ford Mustang GT.
The disqualification of the Kensai and Schwartzott / Thornley Acuras moved the No. 95 Turner Motorsports BMW 330i to the third position on the starting grid. Racing the BMW was Will Turner and Don Salama, who finished third in the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Street Tuner standings. The duo ran a consistent race and avoided most of the on-track issues to capture the final spot on the class podium.
The Grand Am Cup Sport Touring rostrum for round one at Daytona International Raceway. In the center are the winners, Dave Roush and John Schmitt. Schmitt was also the class winner at Daytona in 2004. Standing on the left side are the runner-ups, Hugh and Matt Plumb. Completing the podium are Don Salama and Will Turner, Turner Motorsports’ team principal.

1GSLux / EspenlaubPorsche 996Team Sahlen57
2GSGleason / AuberlenBMW M3Turner Motorsport57
3GSFinlay / McDowellMustang GTFinlay Motorsports57
4GSSeafuse / Seafuse / GueMustang GTJBS Motorsports57
5GSNastasi / JamesMustang GTBlackforest Motorsport57
6GSBarber / BorchellerMustang GTBlackforest Motorsport57
7GSBourdais / BourdaisMustang GTMultimatic Motorsports57
8GSHainer / SaidBMW M3Turner Motorsport57
9GSWellon / EllisPorsche 996Knobel Racing57
10GSBernheim / DementPorsche 996Bernheim Racing57
11GSHalsmer / MillerMustang GTStealth Racing57
12GSMartinelli / McMillenBMW M3Martinelli Motorsports57
13GSPilla / FosterMustang GTHyper Sport57
14GSPumpelly / LallyPorsche 997Marcus Motorsports57
15GSTraver / MillerPorsche 996BGB Motorsports57
16GSSahlen / NonnamakerPorsche 996Team Sahlen57
17GSBavaro / PricePorsche 997Bodymotion Racing57
18GSKohler / SmithMustang GTTF Racing57
19GSKeravich III / TrinklerBMW M3Power Racing Team57
20GSPlummer / StantonPorsche 996BGB Motorsports57
21GSMullins / ThorntonBMW M3Automatic Racing57
22GSPickett / Fox / FaulknerPorsche 996Race Prep Motorsports57
23GSFaulkner / PickettPorsche 996Race Prep Motorsports57
24GSRossi / CourtneyPorsche 996Knobel Racing57
25GSOrtiz / Gonzalez JrPorsche 996Team Sahlen57
26GSOlson / Lehmann / LacyMustang GTChampion Motorsports57
27GSSabol / Sahlen / NonnamakerPorsche 996Team Sahlen57
28GSMartini / LongPorsche 997Synergy Racing57
29GSGoodbody / Krueger / VongPorsche 997Group 88 Motorsports56
30STSchmitt / RoushHonda AccordHART56
31STPlumb / PlumbAcura RSX-SBill Fenton Motorsports56
32GSSkelton / DempseyMustang GTHyper Sport56
33STTurner / SalamaBMW 330iTurner Motorsport56
34STCurran / HoltomChevrolet CobaltGeorgian Bay Motorsports56
35STLiebl / BeedeAcura RSX-SBill Fenton Motorsports56
36STSchlesinger / DobsonMazda RX-8SpeedSource56
37STHaskell / TremblayMazda RX-8SpeedSource56
38STHoltom / ColembieChevrolet CobaltGeorgian Bay Motorsports56
39STPotter / TuatyBMW Z4Performance Motorsports56
40GSLaw / CunninghamPorsche 997Marcus Motorsports55
41GSLapcevich / CampMustang CobraFrederick Motorsports55
42STHimes / Piper / BriodyBMW 330iPiper Motorsport55
43STHuffmaster / HuffmasterMazda RX-8SpeedSource55
44STMalgren / MagnerChevrolet CobaltPowell Motorsport55
45STRoach / LepperChevrolet CobaltTeam Cobalt California55
46STAbello / ArmengolMazda RX-8SpeedSource55
47GSMasessa / RehmMustang Cobra SVTRehagen Racing55
48GSZavodsky / Mason / MartinMustang Cobra SVTRehagen Racing54
49STBuras / Linder / PiperBMW 330iPiper Motorsport54
50STStewart / SappAcura TSXStewart Motorsports54
51STNonnamaker / NonnamakerPorsche 996Team Sahlen54
52GSPappas / FitzgeraldPorsche 996Fastmetal Motorsports54
53GSMoorcones / LeggAcura Integra RRadial Motorsports54
54STGurucharri / Whitener III / NettMazda RX-8Roar Racing53
55STO'Shaughnessy / SchwartzottAcura TSXSchwartzott / Thornley Racing53
56STShaw / SchultzBMW 330ciFountain Motorsports53
57STNuzzo / PatteeMini Cooper SNuzzo Motorsports52
58STSliwa / France / HendricksDodge SRT-4Performance Racing52
59STBaglier / LuffyMazda 6Baglieracing50
60STMirzayan / LepperChevrolet CobaltTeam Cobalt California50
61STMitchell III / RobinsonMazda RX-8Play Therapy Racing49
62STBishop / ToussaintMini Cooper SNuzzo Motorsports47
63GSSegal / RussellBMW M3Automatic Racing46
64GSGrand / BrownPorsche 996Grand Motorsport Racing46
65STWalker / TheetgeAcura RSX-SKensai Racing44
66GSAssentato / LonghiBMW M3Automatic Racing43
67STFutrelle IV / AddisonMazda RX-8Roar Racing43
68STO'Dell / AlvisMazda RX-8Roar Racing42
69STMueller / DiedrickNissan SentraDEI Racers Group40
70GSScattolin / TurnerMustang GTBlackforest Motorsports33
71STSweeney III / DeweyMazda 6S&D Motorsports27
72GSGaughran / MacLeodBMW M3Power Racing Team23
73GSConway / GoadPontiac GTOSpirit of Daytona Racing23
74GSConstantine / BorkowskiNissan 350ZPlayboy Racing19
75GSRiddle / WilsonBMW M3Automatic Racing18
76GSMichaelian / MichaelianMustang GTRehagen Racing17
77GSRosser / MurryNissan 350ZPlayboy Racing16
78GSWeinberg / CollyerPontiac GTOSpirit of Daytona Racing16
79STSofronas / MunsonBMW 330Anchor Racing16
80STGiovanis / YorkBMW 330ciT Giovanis Motorsport8
81STDo Couto / ShafferAudi A4Auto Centro Racing5
82GSYeakle / BaughmanPontiac FirebirdMichael Baughman Racing3
83GSLimoges / EmpringhamMustang GTBlackforest Motorsports0
84STStoddart / FonteBMW 330ciFountain Motorsports0
85STMatz / OlivqBMW Z4Performance Motorsports0
86GSMunson / KapudijaBMW M3Anchor Racing0
87STAllen / BuissonMazda RX-8Roar Racing0

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