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MotoIQ's Guide to the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series
By Efrain Olivares
 
  

While no doubt some of you have heard of the 24 Hours of Daytona, I'm guessing far fewer have heard of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. Which is too bad, because the cars are pretty damn cool and the racing is ultra competitive. Even in our world of attention spans that are stretched by five-lap RallyCross events, plenty of excitement can be found in sports car racing – which, at their shortest, are two hours and forty-five minutes.

There are two major sportscar racing series in North America – the American Le Mans Series, which we will cover in another story, and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sportscar Series. GRAND-AM is owned by NASCAR, and sanctions the Rolex Sports Car Series. You may be asking, why on earth would NASCAR – definitely the most-hated form of racing on this website – have any interest in owning an endurance sports car racing series? 

 

Mazda RX-8 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and Chevrolet Camaro at Daytona
In addition to close racing in the Daytona Prototype class (above), the GT class features close racing as well with a variety of different types of machinery.
 
 
The answer lies in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Held every year at the end of January at Daytona International Speedway, sportcars utilize most of the NASCAR oval as well as an infield road course. The first major sports car race held at DIS was in 1963, was three hours long, and was won by Dan Gurney. Without getting into the long story and political nonsense which tends to ruin all good forms of road racing, GRAND-AM was launched in 1999 and, with obvious connections to NASCAR – which owns DIS – established a road racing championship with the 24 Hours of Daytona as its centerpiece. It is worth mentioning that in 2008, NASCAR bought out GRAND-AM.
 
All that aside, the Rolex Sports Car Series produces excellent, exciting road racing that is divided into two classes - Daytona Prototype, and Grand Touring. Mixed classes of racing are a hallmark of endurance racing, and add another challenge for both the drivers in the faster cars that have to navigate traffic, as well as the drivers in the slower cars that have to simultaneously worry about their own race and keep from being run over.
 
 
Two classes of racing at the same time lead to challenges for drivers of the Daytona Prototypes, as well as the GT-class drivers.
 
 
 
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Comments
Matt
Mattlink
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 9:47 AM
I love, love, love this series. But this year they abandoned Virginia International Raceway after 10 (maybe 11?) years of hosting the Bosch 250 there. While I'm sure politics are behind it, I hate to see a great facility like VIR go to waste. I know there are other tracks that got pulled from the schedule, but when you have a lot of memories somewhere you hate to see it suffer and it's future be up in the air.

VIR is one of the best road courses I've ever been to, and is commonly referred to as "The American, mini, Nurburgring" which says a lot.

I'm bias, obviously. I know there are other tracks out there, but this one holds a special place in my heart. I would love to know the whole reason behind the change.
MrTimeAttack
MrTimeAttacklink
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:27 AM
I'd love to catch a Grand-Am race weekend, but the closest the Series comes to SoCal is Laguna Seca. All but one of the events is hosted in the MidWest or further East. Shocked to see the premiere circuit racing series in the United States shun the West Coast, especially Los Angeles, the car-mecha of the World. But, I am sure it is politics (GrandAm being based out of Daytona) and the fact that most of the teams are based out East as well.

I especially follow Grand-Am because more and more people I know, and racers/drifters we ALL know, are participating in the series: Billy Johnson, Jeff Westphal, Tyler McQuarrie, etc.. Cheer these guys on and show them your support!
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:28 AM
The "Production" bodied cars almost always put me in the viewer's seat! The GT-class, Grand-Am, Australian V8s, all series I enjoy and reinforce my love for Time Attack!
spdracerut
spdracerutlink
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 8:09 PM
I've always loved the GT class, but have not been a big fan of the DPs. Thank goodness they're redesigning the bodywork on those things!
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