The 2007 Grand American Road Racing Championship (Grand Am) was in its eighth season. 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 with each year.

In the first season of Grand Am competition there were five classes but in 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 are 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.

As in the past, the season opened in January with the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway and ended in Utah at Miller Motorsports Park. In between these two venues, there were events held at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park, Watkins Glen, Barber Motorsports Park, Mid-Ohio, Virginia International Raceway, Montreal, Iowa and Infineon Raceway. New for this season were Montreal and Iowa and gone from the schedule was Long Beach and Phoenix International Raceway. There was a total of fifteen events with the series competing at Daytona and Watkins Glen twice.

Round four of the 2007 Grand American Road Racing Championship was conducted at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Competitors in the Daytona Prototype and Grand Touring categories would compete in separate races. This was the first of five weekends in 2007 where the two classes would be not be combined. Each race was scheduled for seventy-seven laps (400-kilometers) around the eighteen-turn 3.270-mile road course.

The starting line-up for the 2007 Virginia International Raceway 400. This would be round four in the fourteen race series for the Daytona Prototypes. Occupying the front of the grid are the Krohn and Gainsco/Bob Stallings entries. On the pole is the Krohn Racing Riley MK XI. During qualifying, Colin Braun set a new lap record. Sharing the front row, for the fourth time this season, is the No. 99 Riley MK XI shared by Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty.
In corner three, on the first lap of the Virginia International Raceway 400 and pole-sitter, Colin Braun is challenged by the second fastest qualifier, Jon Fogarty. Braun led lap-1 but Fogarty would make a successful pass and be in first place for the next six laps. Unfortunately, contact early in the event with the Team Sigalsport entry and later in the contest, an off-course excursion dropped Fogarty and Gurney to a fifth place finish.
Krohn Racing entered two Pontiac-powered Riley MK XIs. One for Nic Jonsson and team owner, Tracy Krohn and a second car driven by Colin Braun and Max Papis. In qualifying, Braun set a new lap record in the No. 75 Riley. Always in contention, Papis was leading the race when he was passed with twenty-five laps to go by Max Angelelli. He could not maintain Angelelli’s pace and finished in the runner-up position – 3.567-seconds behind the winner.
Alex Gurney, driving the No. 99 Riley MK XI set the quickest time in the first test session. Throughout the weekend, Gurney and his co-driver, Jon Fogarty were at the top of the time sheets. Already in 2007, they had earned their first Grand Am victory and had three starts from the front row. At VIR the duo would add to these statistics when Fogarty turned the second quickest time in qualifying. Unfortunately, problems during the race resulted in a fifth.
The SunTrust team had podium finishes in the first three races of the 2007 season. At VIR, Jan Magnussen performed the qualifying duties and was fifth quickest. Sharing the car with Magnussen was Max Angelelli. During the race, the pair were never out of contention and on lap-52, Angelelli passed race leader, Max Papis for the win. It had been almost a full year since the team’s last victory. The win also gave the pair the points lead.
The Brumos Racing crew were competing with heavy hearts as the team owner, Bob Snodgrass had passed away the previous Tuesday. The No. 58 Riley MK XI was driven by David Donohue and Darren Law. Despite crashing the car on the last lap of qualifying, Law recorded the third fastest time. The car was in fourth position as the race came to an end but on the final lap the third place car ran out of gas – the Brumos entry inherited the final spot on the podium.
Defending race winners, Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister drove the No. 23 Alex Job Racing prepared Crawford DP03. A suspension failure during qualifying prevented Bergmeister from setting a time – the Porsche-powered Riley would start in the final grid spot. The pair made progress during the race and finished mid-pack in ninth position. For their performance, they were earned the ‘SunTrust Improve Your Position Award’.
Driving the No. 11 SAMAX Riley MK XI were Ryan Dalziel and Jean-Francois Dumoulin. Dumoulin replaced regular driver, Patrick Carpentier who had to attend to a family emergency. The Pontiac-powered Riley started in the ninth grid position but was in third place as the race came to its conclusion. Dalziel was behind the wheel when the car began to run out of fuel and lost a position to the Brumos entry before the checkered flag.
Memo Rojas had the honour of qualifying the Chip Ganassi Racing Riley MK XI and set the fourth quickest time. Rojas shared the driving with sports car veteran and points leader, Scott Pruett. Rojas drove the first stint and led for two laps before spinning off course. Pruett suffered the same fate on lap-24 in corner four. The pair fell out of contention but managed to finish eighth – Pruett lost his points lead to Angelelli and Magnussen.

1DPTaylor / Angelelli / MagnussenRiley Mk XI Pontiac77-
2DPBraun / PapisRiley Mk XI Pontiac77-
3DPDonohue / LawRiley Mk XI Porsche77-
4DPDalziel / DumoulinRiley Mk XI Pontiac77-
5DPGurney / FogartyRiley Mk XI Pontiac77-
6DPJames / FrisselleRiley Mk XI Lexus77-
7DPMatthews / GoossensRiley Mk XI Pontiac77-
8DPPruett / RojasRiley Mk XI Lexus77-
9DPBergmeister / LongCrawford DP03 Porsche77-
10DPKrohn / JonssonRiley Mk XI Pontiac77-
11DPPatterson / NegriRiley Mk XI Lexus76-
12DPLewis / RuhlmanRiley Mk XI Lexus77-
13DPFrance / HaywoodRiley Mk XI Porsche77-
14DPFrisselle / Wilkins / FrisselleRiley Mk XI Lexus77-
15DPFittipaldi / BrixFabcar FDSC/03 Porsche77-
16DPFinlay / ValianteRiley Mk XI Lexus77-
17DPDyson / DysonCrawford DP03 Porsche76-
18DPSchramm / BellRiley Mk XI Pontiac75-
19DPGidley / GoetersDoran JE4 Ford65Did Not Finish
20DPAuberlen / AlhadeffRiley Mk XI BMW42Did Not Finish

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