2008 marked the ninth year for the Grand American Road Racing Championship (Grand Am). The fifteen-race season opened in Daytona with the Rolex 24. With the exception of New Jersey Motorsports Park teams competed at the same venues 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 fourth round of the 2008 Grand Am Road Racing Association season was held at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Drivers would compete on the eighteen-turn 3.270-mile road course for seventy-seven laps in the Bosch Engineering 250.

Starting on the pole for the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway was the Suntrust Racing Dallara DP01 driven by Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante. Sharing the front row was the AIM Autosport Riley MK XX co-driven by Mark Wilkins and Brian Frisselle. A total of nineteen Daytona Prototypes started the fourth round of the 2008 Grand Am season.
Memo Rojas was the faster qualifier but in tech, the Gurney Flap was found to be slightly larger than the rules allow. This sent Rojas and his co-driver, Scott Pruett to the back of the Daytona Prototype starting grid. The two drivers had an eventful event, including surviving contact with the No. 10 Suntrust Dallara. By lap-58, Pruett was in the lead and remained out front for the final nineteen-circuits. This was the duo’s third win of the season.
Scoring their second Grand Touring victory of the season were Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell. They were also the category winners at the previous round in Mexico City. At Virginia International Raceway, the Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R qualified second in class. The team used a different pit strategy which put them out of ‘sync’ with their competitors. The plan worked and Liddell led the final twenty laps en route to the category victory.
Farnbacher Loles Racing entered three Porsche GT3 Cups. The quickest of the three Porsches was the No. 87 shared by Dirk Werner and Dominik Farnbacher. Despite some excellent results in the first three events, this would not be the case this weekend. They fell out of contention but were running at the finish, albeit twenty-three laps behind the class winning Grand Touring car.
The No. 10 Dallara DP01 was promoted to the pole position after it was discovered that the Gurney Flap on the Chip Ganassi Racing entry did not comply with the rules. Michael Valiante drove the first stint and was the race leader early in the event. Sharing the Dallara with Valiante was sports car veteran, Max Angelelli. On the thirty-first lap, Valiante spun off the course after making contact with the No. 01 Riley. Never in contention again, the car retired on lap-73.
Sharing the front row with the pole-sitting SunTrust Dallara was the Ford-powered Riley MK XI prepared by AIM Autosport. The Riley was driven by Brian Frisselle and Canadian, Mark Wilkins. Often near the top of the time sheets while qualifying their best finish to date was an eighth at Homestead. At Virginia International Raceway, they remained on the same lap as the race winner and were sixth at the checkered flag.
J.C. France and Joao Barbosa co-drove the Porsche powered Brumos entry. The Riley MK XI was the sixteenth fastest qualifier and started at the back of the Daytona Prototype field. France was behind the wheel on lap-31 when he and Jon Fogarty made substantial contact. France was able to continue despite the damage. After he had pitted, Barbosa carried on and finished one lap down to the leaders in thirteenth place.
The No. 99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing entry was the fourteenth fastest during the qualifying session but started nineteenth after the Gurney Flap exceeded series’ specifications. Jon Fogarty was charging through the field when he collided with the No. 59 Riley driven by J.C. France. Both cars were able to continue but would never be in contention. Fogarty and his co-driver Alex Gurney finished fourteenth.
There was a total of twenty-six Grand Touring starters. On the Grand Touring front row is the No. 86 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 Cup raced by Dominik Farnbacher and Dirk Werner. Sharing the front with the Farnbacher Loles entry is the Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R co-driven by Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell. Werner and Farnbacher would not be a factor in the event but Davis and Liddell would take the class victory.
Spencer Pumpelly’s and Tim George’s season was off to a strong start – after three events they had second and third place finishes. At Virginia International Raceway, the pair started thirty-second overall and thirteenth in Grand Touring driving the No. 67 The Racer’s Group prepared Porsche GT3 Cup. A solid performance earned the team the runner-up position in their category and moved the drivers within six-points of the GT championship leaders.
Finishing second, just 0.548-seconds behind the overall and category winning Daytona Prototype, was the SAMAX entry shared by Ryan Dalziel and Henry Zogaib. The No. 2 BMW-powered Riley MK XI started at the back of the class grid in seventeenth place but the team led a lap mid-race during a round of pit-stops. Dalziel pushed hard at the end of the race but could not make the pass on the No. 01 Riley.
Finishing first overall and in the Daytona Prototype category in the previous round at Mexico City were Jim Matthews and Marc Goossens. At Virginia International, the No. 91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports Riley MK XX started twelfth overall and in class. Matthews took the lead during the first caution period and led for four circuits. The pair remained in contention and captured the final spot on the podium.
The No. 58 Brumos Racing Riley was moved to third on the starting grid after the Chip Ganassi entry was penalized. The Porsche- powered Riley MK XI was driven by Darren Law and David Donohue. Donohue drove the first stint but pitted early when the car developed gearbox problems. After repairs, the team soldiered on and finished thirty-four laps behind the race leaders.
In addition to the class winning Pontiac GXP.R, Stevenson Motorsports entered a Chevrolet Corvette. The Grand Touring Corvette was raced by Randy Pobst and James Gue. The car showed great promise when it qualified twenty-second overall and third in class. At the checkered flag, they were a lap behind their teammates – twelfth in Grand Touring and twenty-ninth overall.
The No. 86 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 Cup was co-driven by Eric Lux and Leh Keen. They were not as quick as their teammates and started twenty-fifth overall and seventh among the Grand Touring competitors. As steady performance and a good pit strategy rewarded them with the final spot on the class podium.

1DPPruett / RojasRiley Mk XX Lexus77-
2DPZogaib / DalzielRiley Mk XI BMW77-
3DPMatthews / GoossensRiley Mk XX Pontiac77-
4DPPew / JamesRiley Mk XX Ford77-
5DPPlumb / SigalRiley Mk XI BMW77-
6DPFrisselle / WilkinsRiley Mk XX Ford77-
7DPAuberlen / HandCrawford DP03 Porsche77-
8DPGardel / FrisselleDallara DP01 Ford77-
9DPPatterson / NegriRiley Mk XX Ford77-
10DPLewis / LesterRiley Mk XX Lexus77-
11DPBeyer / Taylor / WallaceCrawford DP03 Ford76-
12DPKrohn / van de PoeleLola B08/70 Pontiac76-
13DPFrance / BarbosaRiley Mk XI Porsche76-
14DPGurney / FogartyRiley Mk XX Pontiac76-
15DPBobbi / Kimber-SmithCoyote CC/08 Pontiac76-
16GTLiddell / DavisPontiac GXP.R74-
17DPJonsson / ZontaLola B08/70 Pontiac74-
18GTPumpelly / George, Jr.Porsche GT3 Cup74-
19GTLux / KeenPorsche GT3 Cup74-
20GTEdwards / CollinsPontiac GXP.R74-
21GTFoster / EspenlaubMazda RX-874-
22GTReese / BuntingPontiac GXP.R74-
23DPAngelelli / ValianteDallara DP01 Pontiac73Did Not Finish
24GTSahlen / NonnamakerChevrolet Corvette73-
25GTAssentato / SegalMazda RX-873-
26GTAschenbach / Lewis, Jr.Pontiac GXP.R73-
27GTForest / BarrettPontiac GXP.R73-
28GTTremblay / HamMazda RX-873-
29GTPobst / GueChevrolet Corvette73-
30GTLowe / PacePorsche GT3 Cup72-
31GTLowe / PacePorsche GT3 Cup72-
32GTNonnamaker / NonnamakerChevrolet Corvette72-
33GTGarcia / GabelPorsche GT3 Cup72-
34GTRiley / StoneMazda RX-871-
35GTFriedman / McGeheePorsche GT3 Cup71-
36GTMiller / BallouPorsche GT3 Cup71-
37GTLong / AlessiPontiac GTO.R71-
38GTValentine / SellersPorsche GT3 Cup70-
39GTGrant / Grant / GrantPorsche GT3 Cup66Did Not Finish
40GTNastasi / DumoulinFord Mustang64Did Not Finish
41DPGidley / JaegerDallara DP01 Ford56-
42GTWerner / FarnbacherPorsche GT3 Cup51-
43GTde Quesada / StantonPorsche GT3 Cup47Did Not Finish
44DPLaw / DonohueRiley Mk XI Porsche43-
45GTJohnson / LaceyPorsche GT3 Cup6Did Not Finish

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