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.

Trois-Rivieres was one of four race weekends where the Grand Sport and Street Tuner categories competed in separate contests. The Grand Sport event was held late Sunday afternoon on the ten-turn 1.521-mile street course.

Sharing the No. 81 Synergy Racing Porsche 997 were Brent Martini and Patrick Long. Martini started seventeenth, but the team’s strategy was to change drivers during the first caution. On lap-6, it came and Long moved through the field. On the lap-55 full-course yellow, he took first place. Despite challenges from Spencer Pumpelly and Michael McDowell, Long held on for the victory and which put the duo in the point’s lead.
Fresh of their first series victory of the year at Barber Motorsports Park and finishing second in the Grand Sport category at Trois-Rivieres were, Michael McDowell and Rob Findlay. In qualifying, Findlay was the fifth-fastest driving the No. 15 Ford Mustang GT. He started the race and kept in contact with the frontrunners. On the lap-55 caution, they changed drivers. McDowell chased the leader but had to settle for a runner-up finish.
Entering round eight, Chris Gleason and Bill Auberlen had three podium finishes, which included two victories. Their performances gave them a one-point lead in the championship chase. Gleason qualified the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 tenth fastest. Unfortunately, the pair battled brake issues during the two-hour event. At the checkered flag, they were classified in twenty-second place.
A formidable duo, Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly, drove the No. 49 Marcus Motorsports prepared Porsche 997. They were in the thick of the title chase, having scored a victory at Phoenix. In the qualifying session, Lally posted the eleventh fastest time. He maneuvered his way to the front before handing the Porsche over to Pumpelly. Pumpelly chased the leader but lost second place to Michael McDowell on the final lap.
Sports car veteran, David Murry was having a great year. Murry scored his first victory of the season, along with Blake Rosser, at Virginia International Raceway driving the Playboy Racing Nissan 350Z. At Trois-Rivieres, he was pulling double duty. Murry shared the No. 33 Nissan with Tomy Drissi and co-drove the No. 35 with Mike Borkowski. He put the No. 33 on the pole and finished fifteenth – the second entry placed twelfth.
Anders Hainer entered Trois-Rivieres trailing his teammates, Bill Auberlen and Chris Gleason, by a single point. During the season, Hainer was sharing the No. 97 Turner Motorsports BMW M3 with Boris Said. But not the weekend, Said was racing in the NASCAR event at Indianapolis. Filling in for Said was the BMW factory driver, Joey Hand. Hainer qualified second but started last. The pair finished in fifth place.
In 2006, Quebec resident Valerie Limoges joined the Blackforest Motorsports team driving a Ford Mustang GT. The three-car team rotated their drivers at each event. Her best result was a fourth-place at Laguna Seca with fellow Canadian, David Empringham. At Trois-Rivieres, she shared the Mustang with Champ Car World Series competitor, Alex Tagliani. Tagliani qualified third, but the duo finished eleventh.

1GSMartini / LongPorsche 997Synergy Racing91
2GSFinlay / McDowellMustang GTPlayboy Racing91
3GSPumpelly / LallyPorsche 997Marcus Motorsports91
4GSMason / PecorariMustang GTRehagen Racing91
5GSHainer / HandBMW M3Turner Motorsport91
6STNonnamaker / NonnamakerPorsche 996Team Sahlen91
7GSMaxwell / FosterMustang GTHyper Sport91
8GSRussell / Thornton / RussellBMW M3Automatic Racing91
9GSSegal / PlumbBMW M3Automatic Racing91
10GSNastasi / ScattolinMustang GTBlackforest Motorsport91
11GSLimoges / TaglianiMustang GTBlackforest Motorsport90
12GSMurry / BorkowskiNissan 350ZPlayboy Racing90
13GSSpenard / Dumoulin / VongPorsche 997Group 88 Motorsports90
14GSPlummer / StantonPorsche 996BGB Motorsports90
15GSDrissi / MurryNissan 350ZPlayboy Racing90
16GSBernheim / DementPorsche 996Bernheim Racing89
17GSTraver / MillerPorsche 996BGB Motorsports89
18GSCamirand / GoadPontiac GTOSpirit of Daytona Racing89
19GSBavaro / PricePorsche 997Bodymotion Racing89
20GSWeinberg / Roy / WeinbergPontiac GTOSpirit of Daytona Racing88
21GSKohler / Smith / SnyderMustang GTTF Racing83
22GSGleason / AuberlenBMW M3Turner Motorsport71
23GSHenzler / LuxPorsche 996Tafel Racing67
24GSWellon / Ellis / GrandePorsche 996Knobel Racing65
25GSEmpringham / JamesMustang GTBlackforest Motorsports65
26GSRossi / SabolPorsche 996Knobel Racing55
27GSSahlen / NonnamakerPorsche 996Team Sahlen51
28GSRiddle / WilsonBMW M3Automatic Racing44
29GSHayner / Miller / HalsmerMustang GTStealth Racing38
30GSAssentato / DumoulinBMW M3Automatic Racing8
31GSSkelton / EspenlaubMustang GTHyper Sport0

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