Beginning in 2007 the Grand-Am Cup series was sponsored by KONI and renamed the KONI Challenge Series. The three-year agreement between Grand-Am and KONI called for the company to offer the richest purse in the series history - $100,000 per event. The winning Grand Sport team would earn $5,000 but the price fund doubled to $10,000 if the car was equipped with KONI shock absorbers. Street Tuner competitors were competing for a similar payout - $3,750 to the winner and $7,500 if the vehicle is fitted with KONIs.

The 2017 season consisted of race twelve weekends and started in January at Daytona International Speedway which was followed by a second event in Florida at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In April, the series would make their first visit to Iowa Speedway then move on to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Lime Rock Park. In June, the teams travelled north of the border to compete at Mosport after this event race weekends took place Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Watkins Glen International and Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. In August, teams made their second visit to Canada where the action would take place on the streets of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. The penultimate round was held at Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park with the finale being held at Virginia International Raceway. The Grand Sport and Street Tuner classes had separate races – the exceptions being Daytona, Watkins Glen and Miller Motorsports Park where they competed in a single event.

The cars are relatively unchanged from their road going versions – modifications are mandated mainly for safety – roll cages, window nets, etc. They also used spec DOT-approved tires produced by Hoosier. Based on performance potential the cars were divided into one of two groups:

  • Grand Sport (GS): The quicker of the two classes - this group features the larger displacement engines as well as smaller four-cylinder motors with forced induction systems. The power-plants produce between 350 and 405-horsepower. Minimum weights range between 2,900 – 3,300-pounds which is dependent on the motor configuration and displacement. This class includes cars such as the BMW M3, Pontiac GTO, Ford Mustang, Porsche 997 and Cadillac CTS-V.

  • Street Tuner (ST): The smaller displacement cars compete in this class in which engines typically produce between 170 and 240-horsepower. Popular vehicles found in this group are the Acura RSX, Acura TSX, Mazda RX-8, Mazda MX-5, Honda Accord, BMW 330i, Subaru Legacy, Chevrolet Cobalt and Mini Cooper S.

    The Trois-Rivieres event was round-ten for the Grand Sport category. Twenty-eight teams would compete on the very tight ten-turn 1.521-mile street course.

  • The pole-sitter, Joe Foster in the No. 55 Ford Mustang FR500C leads the field of twenty-eight starters in to corner one. Starting on the outside of the front row and losing some ground to Foster is the BMW M3 of Will Turner and Don Salama. Tucked in behind, Foster is the third fastest qualifier, Todd Snyder who shared the JBS Motorsports Ford Mustang FR500C with Mark Ackley.
    Winners of round four at Laguna Seca, Bill Auberlen and Chris Gleason shared the No. 96 Turner Motorsports prepared BMW M3. Gleason started the race in sixth place and handed the car over to Auberlen on lap-9. Auberlen took the lead for the final time when the class-leading Mustang pitted on lap-77. Despite pressure from Andy Lally driving a TRG Porsche, he was able to hold on first place and win by 0.267-seconds.
    Fourth in the Driver standings were Brett Seafuse and James Gue. Driving the JBS Motorsports Ford Mustang FR500C, the duo had back-to-back fourth-place finishes at Homestead-Miami and Iowa. Despite trailing Thornton and Segal by over thirty points they still had a mathematical chance of taking the championship. During the event, Seafuse and Gue lost a couple of positions during the contest and finished sixth.
    Jeb Thornton and Jeff Segal led the Grand Sport standings by thirty-points - heading in to the Trois-Rivieres weekend but were yet to win a race. In eight of the first nine events the pair has finished in the top-ten. Their best result to date was a second at Watkins Glen. Sharing the Automatic Racing BMW M3, they qualified eleventh and scored another top-ten finish with an eighth.
    Joe Foster was the early season point’s leader driving the Hyper Sports Ford Mustang FR500C. Foster shared a victory with Scott Maxwell at Mosport, however, three consecutive finishes outside the top-ten dropped him to third in the title chase. The pair was well positioned to score a second victory when Foster put the Mustang on the pole. During the race they slipped down the order and finished fifth.
    Among the local favourites were Trois-Rivières natives and brothers, Jean-Francois and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin. The Dumoulins shared the No. 82 BRG Motorsports Porsche 997. Jean-Francois is a two-time Grand-Am Cup champion and teamed up with Dave Riddle to win the Watkins Glen event. They started fifth and just before the halfway point of the contest, Louis-Philippe led for ten-laps – the brothers would finish fourth.
    The Racer’s Group entered four Porsche 997s. The quickest of the quartet was the entry shared by Bryan Sellers and team principal, Kevin Buckler – they started seventh. Unfortunately, they retired after forty-four laps and were classified twenty-fourth. The team’s fortune fell on the No. 41 entry driven by Andy Lally and Ted Ballou. The pair started twelfth but moved through the field and grabbed a runner-up finish.
    The driver of the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche 997, Craig Stanton was matched up with Hugh Plumb for round ten. Stanton, the 2004 class champion, had a season-high fifth place finish at Mosport and stood seventh in the standings. The pair started the race in eighth. Stanton replaced Plumb during the first caution and ran as high as second before being passed by Lally in corner one after the final restart – the duo finished third.
    The defending Street Tuner champions Don Salama and Will Turner drove a Turner Motorsport BMW M3. Salama and Turner earned their first Grand Sport podium at Barber Motorsports Park. The pair has had strong performances at Trois Rivieres – in the last two years they have finished in the top-five. Turner qualified the BMW on the outside of the front row. Issues during the event resulted in a tenth place at the checkered flag.
    Co-driving the No. 137 JBS Motorsports ACKCO Inc. Consulting Group Ford Mustang FR500C were Mark Ackley and Todd Snyder. Snyder saved the best for the last lap of qualifying and recorded the third quickest time. Unfortunately, for him and Ackley they retired after only thirty-four laps and were classified in twenty-sixth position.

    FINISHSTARTDRIVERCARLAPS
    16Bill Auberlen / Chris GleasonBMW M390
    212Andy Lally / Ted BallouPorsche 99790
    38Hugh Plumb / Craig StantonPorsche 99790
    45Jean-Francois Dumoulin / Louis-Philippe DumoulinPorsche 99790
    51Joe Foster / Scott MaxwellFord Mustang FR500C90
    64Bret Seafuse / James GueFord Mustang FR500C90
    721Tim George Jr / Conrad GrunewaldBMW M390
    811Jep Thornton / Jeff SegalBMW M390
    913Duncan Ende / Grant MaimanPorsche 99790
    102Don Salama / Will TurnerBMW M390
    1128Jon Miller / Serge Glazunov, Jr.BMW M389
    1215Tom Nastasi / David EmpringhamFord Mustang FR500C88
    1320Moses Smith / Jamie SloneFord Mustang FR500C88
    1422Rick Skelton / Patrick DempseyFord Mustang FR500C87
    1523Jack Roush / Dean MartinFord Mustang GT SVT86
    1627Jim Click / Mike McGovernFord Mustang FR500C86
    1710Tim Traver / Mikel MillerPorsche 99785
    1825Frank Rossi / Marcelo AbelloPorsche 99685
    1918Tom Long / David RussellBMW M381
    2014Travis Walker / Romeo KapudijaFord Mustang FR500C67
    2116Ray Mason / Adam PecorariFord Mustang GT SVT58
    2219John Bibbo / Scott SchroederPorsche 99758
    2326Kris Wilson / Dave RiddlePorsche 99746
    247Bryan Sellers / Kevin BucklerPorsche 99744
    2524Fraser Wellon / Barry EllisPorsche 99643
    263Mark Ackley / Todd SnyderFord Mustang FR500C34
    279Nic Jonsson / Charles EspenlaubBMW M329
    2817Spencer Pumpelly / John MayesPorsche 99715

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