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 as stand-alone contests. The Street Tuner event was held Saturday afternoon on the ten-turn 1.521-mile street course.

Pacing the field of twenty-eight starters as they enter Trois-Rivieres’ final corner is the pole-sitter, Charles Espenlaub in the Davis Motorsports Acura RSX-S. Sharing the front row with Espenlaub is the No. 95 Turner Motorsport prepared BMW 330i, driven by Don Salama. Behind the leaders is Quebec resident, Benoit Theetge driving an Acura TSX and the SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 of the David Haskell and Sylvain Tremblay.
Sharing the No. 86 Powell Motorsport Chevrolet Cobalt was David Thilenius and hometown favourite, Marc-Antoine Camirand. Thilenius qualified ninth fastest and ran in the top-ten during his stint. The team executed the driver change during the second caution period. Camirand moved up the race order and on lap-48, he took the lead from Matt Plumb. Camirand controlled the race from there and captured the victory.
Finishing 3.127-seconds behind Marc-Antoine Camirand in the runner-up position was Matt Plumb. Plumb was sharing the Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura RSX-S with his brother, Hugh. The brothers won their first race of the season in the previous round at Barber. At Trois-Rivieres, Hugh was sixth fastest in the qualifying session. In the race, they were ‘on-track’ for a second victory until Matt was passed by Marc-Antione Camirand.
Davis Motorsports entered three Acura RSX-S. The No. 144 Acura was driven by touring car veterans, Bob Endicott and Michael Galati. Endicott and Galati did not join the series until round two at Virginia, where they finished third. The paired scored their first victory of the year at Phoenix. Galati qualified the RSX and was eighth fastest. Endicott drove the last stint and captured the final spot on the podium.
One of the three Davis Motorsports Acura RSX-S at Trois-Rivieres was piloted by Charles Espenlaub and Jeff Altenberg. Anthony Serra was entered as an alternate driver. Espenlaub was fastest in qualifying and put the No. 142 RSX-S on the pole for the 150-mile event. He and his teammate, Altenberg, fell out of the top spot but maintained pace with the leaders and were in fourth place at the checkered flag.
Until the latest two rounds, Barber Motorsports Park and Trois-Rivieres, the point’s leaders, Jamie Holtom and Eric Curran were having a sensational season. To date, Holtom and Curran had ‘racked-up’ five podium finishes, four of which were victories. But a twenty-eighth place finish at Barber and an incident during the race at Trois-Rivieres, which resulted in an eighteenth place, saw them drop to third in the standings.
The Street Tuner podium for round eight at Trois-Rivieres. In the center, recording their first victory of the year, are David Thilenius and hometown hero, Marc-Antoine Camirand. On the right side of the rostrum and earning their fifth consecutive podium finish for 2006 are the brothers, Matt and Hugh Plumb. Completing the podium from Davis Motorsports are Michael Galati and Bob Endicott.

1STThilenius / CamirandChevrolet CobaltPowell Motorsport72
2STPlumb / PlumbAcura RSX-SBill Fenton Motorsports72
3STEndicott / GalatiAcura RSX-SDavis Motorsports72
4STSerra / Espenlaub / AltenburgAcura RSX-SDavis Motorsports72
5STTurner / SalamaBMW 330iTurner Motorsport72
6STHaskell / TremblayMazda RX-8SpeedSource72
7STSahlen / NonnamakerDodge SRT-4Team Sahlen72
8STPotter / TuatyBMW Z4Performance Motorsports72
9STBuisson / JohnsonBMW Z4Performance Motorsports72
10STSchmitt / Roush / LewisHonda AccordHART71
11STWalker / PovoledoAcura RSX-SKensai Racing71
12STHoltom / ColembieChevrolet CobaltGeorgian Bay Motorsports71
13STBilodeau / BorgeatHyundai TiburonGT Racing71
14STMardikian / MirzayanChevrolet CobaltTeam Cobalt California71
15STSutherland / SchwartzottAcura TSXSchwartzott / Thornley Racing70
16STAbello / ThorntonMazda RX-8SpeedSource70
17STMoorcones / LeggAcura Integra RRadial Motorsports70
18STCurran / HoltomChevrolet CobaltGeorgian Bay Motorsports67
19STHebert / Hamelin / GagnonHonda Civic Si89 Racing Team60
20STLepper / MagnerChevrolet CobaltWTF Engineering58
21STTheetge / CunninghamAcura TSXTheetge Motorsport33
22STArmengol / DumoulinMazda RX-8SpeedSource29
23STLeverone / Long / SerraAcura RSX-SDavis Motorsports14
24STMalgren / RoyChevrolet CobaltPowell Motorsport14
25STThomson / AudetteAcura RSX-SKensai Racing3
26STStoddart / Fonte / CosmoBMW 330ciFountain Motorsports3
27STSchlesinger / DobsonMazda RX-8SpeedSource3
28STScattolin / DumoulinMini Cooper SNuzzo Motorsports1
29STOrtiz / Gonzalez JrChevrolet CobaltTeam Cobalt California0

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