Rolex Sports Car Series was the premier series run by the Grand
American Road Racing Association. It was a North American-based sports
car series founded in 2000 under the name Grand American Road Racing
Championship to replace the failed
United States Road Racing
Rolex took over as series sponsor in 2002.
It ran a mixture of classes of sports prototypes and Grand
Touring-style cars. In 2003, the series debuted their custom prototype
chassis, known as Daytona Prototypes, named after their premiere
Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The series staged the North American Endurance Championship, featuring
three of its premier races at Daytona, Watkins Glen, and
On September 5, 2012, Grand-Am announced that it would be merging the
Rolex Sports Car Series with the
American Le Mans Series
American Le Mans Series to form a
unified road racing championship to be known as United SportsCar
Racing, later retitled as the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship.
Rolex Sports Car Series race was held on September 28, 2013
at Lime Rock Park.
2 Series champions
4 See also
6 External links
Following the failure of the
United States Road Racing Championship in
1999, the new Grand American Road Racing Association announced their
intentions to adopt a format similar to the one used in the USRRC,
centering on the 24 Hours of Daytona. This series was seen as an
alternative to the former IMSA GT Championship, which had since been
replaced by the
American Le Mans Series
American Le Mans Series in 1999. The new series would
run two classes of Sports Racing Prototypes identical to the rules
used in the new
FIA Sportscar Championship in Europe, while Grand
Touring-style cars would consist of three classes: GTO for larger
production-based race cars, GTU for smaller production-based race
cars, and AGT for American tube frame cars. The league would also
acquire the Six Hours of Watkins Glen, giving the league a second
endurance race alongside the
Rolex 24 at Daytona to compete with the
12 Hours of Sebring
12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans. GTO and GTU would be
renamed GTS and GT for 2001 to better match the classes used by the
similar American Le Mans Series.
A GT-class Porsche spinning out after navigating a curve at the 2005
Grand-Am Road & Track 250 at Laguna Seca
2003 would see the series go through a radical change, as Daytona
Prototypes debuted for the first time to replace both of the Sports
Racing Prototype classes. Although SRPs would be allowed to continue
until the end of 2003, few were seen while the Daytona Prototypes took
over the series. The American GT class was also dissolved with the
cars being placed into the similar GTS class.
In 2004, the faster GTS class was abandoned in order to provide a
larger gap between the Daytona Prototypes and GT cars. The GTS cars
were as fast (if not faster) than the Daytona Prototypes. This meant
that the GT class was now the top tier, being joined by the Super
Grand Sport (SGS) class moved up from the
Grand Am Cup
Grand Am Cup series. This
was further streamlined in 2005 with all Grand Touring-style cars
being in a single GT class.
A 2007 Riley MkXI
Daytona Prototype seen as the 2007
Rolex 24 At
This formula led to the
Rolex Sports Car Series having a large number
of competitors at most events, mostly due to the ease of use and low
cost of the cars in either class while the Grand American Road Racing
Association was able to keep the competition equalized.
With such high car counts, Grand-Am has had to split GT and DP races
at shorter tracks where it is not feasible to put 50 cars on the track
at one instance. In each case, the GT cars race on Saturday, and the
DP cars race on Sunday. This split format allows drivers to run both
races. Each race is the same distance, as it would be if the two
classes were running together. This did however make GT races slightly
longer than combined events, since GT cars would likely finish several
laps behind the winning prototype and thus not cover the full
When the GT and DP races were combined, the two classes would use a
motorcycle racing-style "wave start," a concept from Roger Edmonson,
who had been in motorcycle racing before organising the Grand American
series with the France family. In this case, the DP cars would take
the green flag first, followed, usually 20–30 seconds later
(depending on track length) by the GT cars. By starting the cars
separately, the organisers hoped for safer starts by having the two
classes of cars race separately.
Due to the series' affiliation with NASCAR, many Sprint Cup Series
drivers occasionally participated in
Rolex Series races, particularly
the 24 Hours of Daytona.
Pruett/Rojas at Road America, champions in 2012
Speed Channel was the near-exclusive broadcaster of the
Car Series and included coverage of the
6 Hours of Watkins Glen
6 Hours of Watkins Glen and
the 24 Hours of Daytona. On August 17, 2013,
Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 1 became the
new near-exclusive broadcaster for the
Rolex Sports Car Series until
2014 when both
Rolex Sports Car Series and American Le Mans Series
form United Sports Car Racing.
Daytona Prototype- the sports prototypes used in the league
Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge- the league's support series
^ "Grand-Am confirms North American Endurance Championship for 2012".
Autoweek. Crain Communications. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
^ "Welcome to the Future of Sports Car Racing!". American Le Mans
Series. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
^ "Grand-Am, ALMS to become 'United SportsCar Racing' series in 2014".
Autoweek. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
World Sports Racing Prototype –
Rolex Series history and
United States Road Racing Championship /
Rolex Sports Car Series