dsc 2005 Awards 21 – North American Surprise of the Year

Grand Am surprised our voting panel with the inability of even a high quality driver squad like Bobbi and Gollin to mount a meaningful challenge to the dominant Rileys and Crawfords in 2005.

The speed of two very different cars, the factory Zytek and the Carsport America Viper, provoked favourable comment, the Viper in particular showing speed that bettered even the then dominant Oreca Vipers in their heyday.

A very pleasant surprise was the announcement of the Penske Porsche RS Spyder programme, and the quality of racing in the ALMS, despite the lower car counts in 2005, was also a feature noted with satisfaction.

The winner here though was an effort that didn’t make the top step of the podium all season, but that was always going to be a very big ‘ask’. With the season long competition coming from a two car, full factory team, with a driver squad of very high quality indeed, it would have been no real surprise had this effort lagged far, far behind.

The reality though is that it didn’t. Two pole positions and searing pace in several races, stunted only by minor, but time consuming, problems, made this effort a real fan favourite: with a beautifully presented American supercar having its neck wrung by a team of hard charging pilots, the challenge from the Saleen meant that the Corvettes could not rest on their laurels until the final chequered flag had fallen.

The dailysportscar.com Surprise of the Year 2005 for North America is the pace of the ACEMCO Saleen S7R.

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