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2003 North American GT Season

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2003 North American GT Season
Photo Credit: Tom Happanen.
Champion Constructor: Pratt & Miller Corvette (US,US,3,3)
Putative Constructor: Pratt & Miller Corvette (US)
Champion Driver: Ron Fellows (CA,(2,2), Johnny O'Connell (US,1,3)
Putative Driver: Ron Fellows (CA), Johnny O'Connell (US)
Putative Constructor Entry Specification: Model C5-R, 6.98-liter, eight-cylinder vee LS1, aluminum/cast iron engine, OHV, fuel injection, six-speed, ventilated disc brakes, carbon fibre/unitary steel chassis, double wishbone independent suspension, 625 horsepower (Pratt & Miller, John Cafaro).

Pratt & Miller with the Corvette C5-R entry builds an enormous early season lead in the 2003 ALMS GT campaign before requiring a precious third-place class finish in the season finale at the Petit Le Mans in October to fend off hard charging British Prodrive with its speedy Ferrari 550-GTS Maranello entry in thrilling fashion for its third consecutive constructors' title. Pratt & Miller Corvette Racing ascends as the all-time American GT championship leader, supplanting ORECA and Shelby American. Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell of P&M also survive a late rush from David Brabham of Prodrive to both claim the drivers' crown, Fellows for the second consecutive season. Scuderia Ferrari of Washington with the Ferrari 360GT entry nets its second consecutive Grand-Am overall constructors' title. Tommy Riggins and Dave Machavern of Heritage wins the GTS drivers' title, while Cort Wagner and Brent Martini prevails for the overall GT putative honors. The GT class again prevails at the Daytona 24 in February as The Racers Group Porsche 996 GT3 takes the cross behind drivers Kevin Buckler, Michael Schrom, Timo Bernhard, and Jörg Bergmeister

HeM applies the Putative Model to all racing seasons for two primary purposes: First, to effectively normalize all racing seasons for empirical comparison across the decades, and second, to step clear of series organizers which score season championships primarily out of commercial interest or to attract manufacturer participation. The Putative Model simply scores all seasons in the same fashion as a standard track and field meeting, with the only purpose of tracking what takes place at the finishing stripe If the Putative Champion differs from the nominal Series Champion, please note the (SC) notation below.

ALMS     
Pratt & Miller Corvette109     Fellows65
Veloqx Prodrive Ferrari106     O’Connell J65
AJR Porsche31     Brabham D55
Rafanelli Ferrari14     Collins K44
White Lightning Porsche6     Gavin44
Risi Ferrari6     Magnussen43
Grand-Am     
SFW Ferrari86     Wagner C86
Heritage Mustang57     Martini B86
Rennwerks Porsche31     Riggins T (SC)57
Mosler28     Machavern (SC)57
Marcus BMW19     Barbosa34
TRG Porsche18     Van Overbeek31

Noteworthy 2003 Races

2003 ALMS Road America 500Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin2003 2003 ALMS Road America 500At Road America for the 500 (three hours) in August, the GT class comes to a Prodrive Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello under David Brabham (AU) and Jan Magnussen (DK) that covers 75 laps (average 109.37 mph), under a second (.531) ahead of a Corvette driven by Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell. The Prodrive Ferrari beneath Magnussen, gradually reeling in the race leading P&M Corvette over the final half hour, finally moves out front on the final circuit after deftly avoiding a block by the Corvette driven by O'Connell at Turn 1 before slipping past and racing away to a slender and dramatic upset victory. Photo Credit: motorsport.com.
2003 XXXVII Daytona 24 Hour Daytona Beach, Florida2003 2003 XXXVII Daytona 24 Hour At Daytona for the 24 Hour in February, the race comes unexpectedly to a GT-class The Racers Group Porsche 996 GT3 RS under Kevin Buckler (US), Michael Schrom (US), Timo Bernhard (DE), and Jörg Bergmeister (DE) that covers 2474.2 miles (average 103.01 mph), nine laps ahead of a Ferrari entry. The TRG Porsche entry moves out front during the fifth hour and dices with the contending #59 Brumos Daytona prototype by way of leapfrogging service stops until the Brumos DP under Scott Goodyear drops a tire at the halfway mark, opening the door for TRG and a wide margin upset victory. Photo Credit: Udo Klinkel.
2003 Grand-Am Grand Prix of MiamiHomestead, Florida2003 2003 Grand-Am Grand Prix of MiamiAt Homestead for the Grand Prix of Miami in March, a GT-classified Scuderia Ferrari of Washington Ferrari 360 Modena GT under Cort Wagner (US) and Brent Martini (US) takes GT class honors and covers 104 laps (average 99.19 mph), under fifty-nine seconds ahead of a GTS Camaro driven by Jon Levy and Kenny Bupp. The SFW Ferrari simply makes mincemeat of the GTS class on the Homestead road circuit by finishing second overall in the field and continues the surprise uprising of the GT class over its speedier competitors. Photo Credit: C. Douglas Phillips.
2003 Grand-Am AJ's Fine Foods 250 Avondale, Arizona2003 2003 Grand-Am AJ's Fine Foods 250At Phoenix for the 250 Miler in May, a Scuderia Ferrari of Washington Ferrari 360 Modena GT under Cort Wagner (US) and Brent Martini (US) takes the class flag and covers 151 laps (average 82.46 mph), under a second (.105) ahead of a BMW driven by Craig Stanton and Mike Fitzgerald. After Martini in the race leading SFW Ferrari tangles with a backmarker, slews off circuit, and allows the Bell BMW driven by Fitzgerald to slide into the lead with sixteen laps to go, Martini recovers and rallies his entry back into a fierce door-to-door battle over the closing miles. Martini finally moves out front on the final circuit after shoving his way past Fitzgerald on the inside line two corners from the finish for a dramatic victory and a second placing in the overall classification. Photo Credit: C. Douglas Phillips.