2008 marked the ninth season for the Grand American Road Racing Championship. The fifteen-race season opened in Daytona with the Rolex 24. With the exception of New Jersey Motorsports Park teams competed at the same venue as the previous year. Most races were 250-miles in length with a 2-hour and 45-minute time limit. The exceptions were the 24-hour event at Daytona, Sahlen’s Six Hours at Watkins Glen and the season finale at Miller Motorsports Park which was 1,000-km.

Teams and drivers competed in the Daytona Prototype or Grand Touring category for class honours:

  • Daytona Prototype (DP) – These sports racing cars were designed to compete in the Grand Am series. The concept of an affordable prototype for privateer teams was introduced in 2003. Rules were created so that the cars could be produced for less than $400,000. Additionally, the prototypes had to be approved by the series and new cars could not be introduced for 5-years. The flat-bottomed, closed cockpit prototype was constructed with a complete frame and a mid-engine location. The cars were powered by motors from production cars. Manufacturers providing engines included: Lexus, Pontiac, Chevrolet, Ford, BMW and Porsche. The 2008 season saw the introduction of the Generation 2 Daytona Prototypes.

  • Grand Touring (GT) – After a number of seasons with multiple GT classes a single category was introduced in 2005. The GT division was for production-based vehicles. Cars racing in this group included the: Pontiac GXP.R, Porsche GT3 Cup, Chevrolet Corvette, BMW 6 and Mazda RX-8. To equalize performance among the different brands, rules were implemented that included adjusting the vehicle’s weight and limiting tire size and engine RPMs.

    The Grand Am Road Racing Championship was making its third visit to Miller Motorsports Park. The series finale, in mid-September, would be 1,000-km around the twenty-three turn 4.486-mile road course.

  • It was a split start with the Daytona Prototypes first to receive the starters green flag. Twenty-one Grand Touring cars line-up in Miller Motorsports Park’s final turn. On the front row are two Farnbacher Loles Racing prepared Porsche GT3 Cup cars. Behind them is one of the TRG Porsches and a Pontiac GXP.R from Banner Racing.
    The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Riley scored their first win at Miller Motorsports Park in 2006 and it in 2008 it was their teammate’s turn. The No. 6 Riley MK XX was driven by Ian James, John Pew and Raphael Matos scored the overall and class victory. Matos, the 2008 Indy Lights Champion, had the distinction of the sharing GT class winning Mazda RX-8 at the season-opening Rolex 24.
    Taking their fourth GT win of the 2008 season and the series title was Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards. Collins and Edwards had been leading the GT championship since April but mechanical issues in the latter part of the season allowed entries from Stevenson Motorsports and SpeedSource to get within striking distance of the championship. The pair took the Grand Touring Driver’s title by nine-points.
    Farnbacher Loles Racing entered three Porsche GT3 Cup cars in the finale. Qualifying on the GT class pole was the No. 86 Porsche driven by season regulars, Leh Keen and Eric Lux. They were joined by Dominik Farnbacher for the 1000-km event. Early in the race, the Farnbacher Loles entries ran in the first three spots. Lux was in the lead when he and J.C. France made contact causing the No. 86 car retired with suspension damage.
    Series regulars, John Fogarty and Alex Gurney shared the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley with 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vasser. The defending champions started from the seventh grid position and finished third. Five podium finishes and a win at Mid-Ohio earned Gurney and Fogarty a second in the Daytona Prototype Championship.
    Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell driving the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R finished second in the GT division which was their ninth podium of the season. The duo won three races and had nine podiums during the season which allowed them to clinch a second in the GT Driver’s Championship.
    Starting from the pole-position were Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta. They were entered by Krohn Racing in the Pontiac powered Lola B08/70. The pair finished fifth – the same result they achieved in three of the last four races. Jonsson and Zonta scored podium finishes at Mexico and the Daytona event in July. They were eighth in the final Daytona Prototype standings.
    The SpeedSource team started the season with a GT class win at the Rolex 24 and managed another two wins at the July event in Daytona and Barber Motorsports Park. The Mazda RX-8 qualified and finished fifth at Miller Motorsports Park. Drivers Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay finished third in the Grand Touring Driver’s Championship.
    The Racers Group entered three Porsche GT3 Cup cars. The quickest in qualifying was the No. 66 shared by Spencer Pumpelly, Bryan Sellers and Ted Ballou which started third in the GT class. But it was the No. 67 entry that earned the final spot on the podium. This car started from the ninth position and was driven by Andy Lally, Patrick Long and Tim George, Jr.
    The No. 10 SunTrust Racing Dallara DP01 was driven by Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante. The Pontiac powered car started from fourth on the grid and was second at the checkered flag. This was the team’s third consecutive podium finish and their fourth of the 2008 season. Angelelli’s season included a win a Sonoma and a sixth in the Driver’s Championship.
    The Chip Ganassi Racing Riley was driven by regulars Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. For the 1000-km race, they were joined by, 2007 Indy Lights champion, Alex Lloyd. The team qualified second but it was not one of their better events – they spun twice and finished ninth. Despite the results at Miller, the pair had a season which included six victories and earned Pruett and Rojas the Driver’s title.
    Brumos Racing entered two Riley MK XI using 3.9-liter Porsche engines. The No. 58 was shared J.C. France and Joao Barbosa. They started fourteenth which was last in the Daytona Prototype class. During the race, the pair stayed on the lead lap and finished fourth. Their consistency throughout the season earned the duo a third in the Driver’s Championship.

    1DPPew/James/MatosRiley Mk XX Michael Shank Racing137-
    2DPAngelelli/ValianteDallara DP01SunTrust Racing137-
    3DPGurney/Fogarty/VasserRiley Mk XXGainsco/Bob Stallings Racing137-
    4DPFrance/BarbosaRiley Mk XIBrumos Racing137-
    5DPJönsson/ZontaLola B08/70Krohn Racing137-
    6DPFrisselle/Wilkins/da MattaRiley Mk XXAIM Autosport137-
    7DPMatthews/Goossens/Hunter-ReayRiley Mk XXStallings/Riley-Matthews137-
    8DPAuberlen/HandRiley Mk XIAlex Job Racing137-
    9DPPruett/Rojas/LloydRiley Mk XIChip Ganassi Racing137-
    10DPLaw/Donohue/RiceRiley Mk XIBrumos Racing137-
    11DPPlumb/Sigal/GrégoireRiley Mk XXSigalsport133-
    12GTEdwards/Collins/WilsonPontiac GXP.RBanner Racing130-
    13GTLiddell/DavisPontiac GXP.RStevenson Motorsports129-
    14GTLally/Long/George, Jr.Porsche GT3 CupTRG129-
    15GTForest/Barrett/GuePontiac GXP.RPR1 Motorsports129-
    16GTHaskell/Tremblay/HamMazda RX-8SpeedSource129-
    17GTLewis, Jr./BorchellerPontiac GXP.RAutohaus Motorsports129-
    18GTPumpelly/Ballou/SellersPorsche GT3 CupTRG129-
    19GTWerner/Miller/HenzlerPorsche GT3 CupFarnbacher Loles128-
    20GTLacey/Farnbacher/HenzlerPorsche GT3 CupFarnbacher Loles128-
    21GTConstantine/Borkowski/LazzaroBMW M6Playboy Racing126-
    22GTHarrington/Armengol/PetersonMazda RX-8Racers Edge124Oil Line
    23GTEdwards/Reese/Bunting/CurranPontiac GXP.RBanner Racing123Accident
    24GTKrohn/van de Poele/SaidLola B08/70Krohn Racing117-
    25GTLux/Keen/FarnbacherPorsche GT3 CupFarnbacher Loles114-
    26GTFoster/Dempsey/EspenlaubMazda RX-8Hyper Sport114-
    27GTNonnamaker/NonnamakerChev. CorvetteTeam Sahlen111DNF
    28GTSahlen/NonnamakerChev. CorvetteTeam Sahlen110DNF
    29GTGutierrez/Potter/StantonPorsche GT3 CupTRG/Riegel Autosport108-
    30DPPatterson/Negri/DalzielRiley Mk XXMichael Shank Racing104DNF
    31GTO'Connell/RoushPorsche GT3 CupO'Connell Racing101DNF
    32GTReindler/Alessi/KapudijaPontiac GTO.RM. Connolly Motorsports78DNF
    33DPGarcia/Fittipaldi/BabiniCoyote CC/08Cheever Racing76DNF
    34GTTucker/Bouchut/ZabinskiFerrari F430LevelFive Motorsports52DNF
    35GTAssentato/Longhi/SegalMazda RX-8SpeedSource7DNF
    36DPDeQuesada/Dumoulin/BassengRiley Mk XIAlegra Motorsports3DNF

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