November 11, 2003
beginning...the Champion GT-1 993-005 was prepared in the
Gunnar Racing facility, circa 1997-1999. While the car was
at Gunnar Racing, we built a fixture so that we could repair
the chassis, rather than send it back to Porsche. Because
I had the fixture, I thought it would be a great idea to build
the GT-1 as a spyder. The rules for ALMS at this time said
that if the car was built in 1999, it would be grandfathered
into the 2000 season without having to be crash tested. So,
we built an open cockpit
GT-1 and called it the G-99 (G=Gunnar, 99 was the year of
the project). I had hoped that Champion would want to race
the G-99, but instead, they bought the Lola B2K-10. The G-99
sat idle until 2002, when Grand Am said we could finish the
car as a spyder and as long as it ran in 2002, it would be
grandfathered for the 2003 season. The problem is...they changed
their minds. We didn't find this out until we showed up to
the 2002 Daytona Finale, after working our behinds off to
get the car ready for the last race of the 2002 season. The
good news, they said, was that we could run it as a coupe
in 2003. So, $75,000. later, our G-99 was converted into a
coupe and ready to run the 2003 season.
on the left is our completed spyder which tested at Moroso
Motorsports Park on November 12, 2002, after Grand Am wouldn't
let us run at the Finale. After all of our hard work to get
the car ready, we just had to get it on the track to see how
it ran. The photo on the right was taken at the 2003 Daytona
Test after we converted it to a coupe.
The photo on the
left is the Daytona 24 Swap Shop sponsored car. I pulled the
car from the race after the 9th lap because it only ever seem
to run on 5 cylinders. The spare engine had the same problem
(nightmare!). The photo on the right is the car at Homestead.
We wanted to honor the Florida Mako fighter squadron. I pulled
the car after one stint because we didn't have a sponsor and
it was just going to wear the car out.
The photo on the
left is the G-99 in "My Favorites" livery at the
Barber 250 in Birmingham. Again, having Gunnar as the only
driver and no sponsor, I pulled the car after one stint (we
were running in the top 3 at the time). The photo on the right
was taken at the Paul Revere 250 with "Caution, don't
go to beer.com" livery. Peter Baron, Kyle Petty, and
Shane Lewis finished 2nd in GTS.
on the left was taken at the Watkins Glen Bully Hill race.
Paul Newman, Kyle Petty, and Gunnar finished 2nd in GTS. We
wanted to make everyone aware of the Hole in the Wall Camps
started by Paul Newman and continued by good people like Kyle
and Pattie Petty. We donated all of our winnings to the Victory
Junction Gang Camp. The photo on the right is the car as it
just raced at the Daytona Finale with Autosports Marketing
Milt Minter, Chad Mc Queen, and Gunnar finished 5th in class.
G-99 is built from:
Gunnar Racing built an identical GT-1 chassis, with the exception
of the front end. We used chomemoly tubing for the suspension
pickups in the front (the original GT-1 used a C-2 speedster
tub from the A-pillars forward). The cockpit, including the
floor and the whole rear structure, is identical to the GT-1.
The suspension is completely GT-1. The transmission and rear
suspension are also GT-1. The engine is from the 3.6 liter
GT3-RS. The wiring harness is also GT3-RS. The body panels
are GT-1 with the exception of the roof, in which I made a
smaller inlet opening because the big opening was not needed
to cool the innercoolers. The tail is from the Champion car
that caught fire at the Minnesota street race. The doors are
also from the Champion car. The front hood is factory new.
We make our own original noses and side pods.
Hope this answers
some of the questions you readers might have had about our
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