On This Day in Trans Am History: Aug. 27, 2005
August 27, 2021
Aug 27, 2005 Montreal
Rookie Klaus Graf won his fourth Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli event of 2005 in the Montreal season finale, leading Rocketsports to its sixth championship and Jaguar to its fifth manufacturer’s title.
Driving the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR, the German native won the championship by 21 points over Randy Ruhlman.
For the season, Rocketsports’ drivers Paul Gentilozzi, Tomy Drissi and Graf rolled to five victories, seven poles, six fastest race laps and 11 podium finishes.
At Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the Rocketsports trio led every lap. Drissi paced the opening 10 laps in the No. 5 Transporter 2 – The Movie – Jaguar, but dropped out after 14 laps due to mechanical issues. Gentilozzi took over and led 15 laps in the No. 1 Jaguar, but pulled off on lap 26 with mechanical problems. Graf then led the final 10 circuits, beating Greg Pickett in the No. 6 Team Cytosport Jaguar XKR by 0.262-seconds. Randy Ruhlman placed third, another 12 seconds in arrears in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products/Derhaag Motorsports Corvette.
A 15-year veteran of international competition, Graf signed with Rocketsports on the eve of the season opener, and then won from the pole in his second race, at Portland.
"It's like a dream come true," said the rookie champion. "This my first championship win in North America in it feels really good. Trans Am has a great tradition and it feels good to be part of long list of great race car drivers who were able to win this championship. Thanks a lot to Jaguar and Rocketsports Racing for this opportunity. Especially thanks to Paul Gentilozzi and my crew chief Troy Cowgill, as well as the whole crew."
Graf joined Dorsey Schroeder (1989) as the only drivers to win both the rookie title and championship in the same year.
Team owner Gentilozzi admitted that he had been watching Graf for a long time.
"I talked with him four or five years ago about coming and racing for us," said Gentilozzi. "I have always had a real high regards for his skills as a driver and he's brought a lot to the series; a lot of International notoriety. He is a deserving champion, he proved that many time over this season as his performance was top notch on and off the track.”
Mark Windecker photo of Klaus Graf