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 Street Tuner category. Twenty-four teams would compete on the very tight ten-turn 1.521-mile street course.

  • The start of the KONI Challenge Series for the Street Tuner category at Trois-Rivieres. Starting on the pole were the local favourites, Kuno and Nick Wittmer driving the i-MOTO Racing prepared Acura TSX. Second quickest during qualifying but the first retirement of the race, after on forty-nine laps, was the Fountain Motorsports BMW 330i driven by Guy Cosmo and Matt Plumb. There were a total of twenty-four starters at Trois-Rivieres.
    Quebec natives and brothers, Kuno and Nick Wittmer drove the No. 31 i-MOTO Racing Acura TSX. Nick was responsible for qualifying and was the only driver to record a time under the 1:15 mark – this gave them the pole position. They dominated the race, leading all but four-laps - they lost first place during a pit-stop for fuel and a driver change. Their margin of victory after ninety-three laps was 28.446-seconds.
    Despite four class victories during the season, more than any other team, Billy Johnson and team principal, Karl Thomson were second in the standings. They trailed the point’s leaders, Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood by six-points. The pair were gridded mid-pack for the start but by the end on ninety-three laps had moved from thirteenth to the runner-up position driving the No. 76 Kensai Racing Compass360 Acura TSX.
    Leading the Street Tuner points chase were Trevor Hopwood and Adam Burrows. Driving the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i the pair was yet to score a victory. Their position in the standings could be attributed to their consistency which included three second-place finishes. At Trois-Rivieres,the pair started towards the back of the field in sixteenth. During the course of the race they made good progress and captured the final spot on the podium.
    David Tuaty a showroom stock endurance veteran and Canadian, Matt Pritko shared one of the three Acuras entered by Kensai Racing. The No. 74 RSX did not have a very good qualifying effort – with the pair starting fifteenth. They passed a number of cars during the event and were able to capitalize on the misfortune of their competitors to finish fourth.
    Guy Cosmo was the round three winner at Iowa Speedway. Entering Trois Rivieres, Cosmo was sixth in points as the result of his eight straight top-10 finishes. His co-driver in No. 127 Fountain Motorsports BMW 330i was Matt Plumb who finished second in last year’s event. The pair would not be so fortunate a Trois-Rivieres this year – after starting on the outside of the front row they were the first team to retire from the event.
    Todd Lamb and defending race winner, Dave Thilenius shared one of the two Acura RSXs entered by Bill Fenton Motorsports. The pair was gridded eighth for the start of the contest. With the retirement of the Theetge/Buisson Compass 360 Acura TSX and a well-executed race strategy, Thilenius and Lamb were in sixth place at the checkered flag.
    Christian Miller's best finish to date was a third place at Laguna Seca. At Trois Rivieres, Miller was paired with MX-5 Cup veteran Todd Burras in the BSI Racing MOMO/Joe Gibbs Mazda MX-5. Buras was also entered in the weekend’s Mazda MX-5 Cup race where he finished second. The car qualified in the eighteenth position on the grid but retired after sixty-three laps. Miller and Buras were classified in seventeenth place.
    The third Compass360 Acura was raced by Beau Buisson and Quebec resident, Benoit Theetge. Using his knowledge of the track, Theetge was the quickest in the first practice session. The team’s performance slipped only slightly in qualifying and they started fourth. During the race they were in contention. Buisson was second on the seventy-six lap when the car lost a wheel in corner-eight – they retired and were classified thirteenth.
    Sharing the Classic BMW – Plano BMW Z4 were Toby Grahovec and multi-time World Challenge champion, Pierre Kleinubing. Grahovec performed the qualifying duties and set the third quickest time – just 0.878-seconds behind the pole-sitter, Nick Wittmer. Unfortunately for the Grahovec and Kleinubing the weekend ‘went downhill’ and they were the second retirement in the race - classified twenty-third.
    One of the signature corners at Grand-Prix de Trois-Rivieres is turn-four - the location of the Porte Pacifique Duplessis. The monument was built in 1938 to commemorate the Franciscan Friar Du Plessis who was the first schoolmaster in Canada. It marks the main entrance to the city center and the Trois-Rivieres fairgrounds. For the drivers, it provides some exciting moments as it can only be navigated one car at a time during a race.
    Two Mini Cooper S’s were entered by RSR Motorsports. One of the Minis was driven by Quebecers, Alain Lauziere and Simon Dion-Viens but the quicker car was the second - No. 198 raced by Owen Trinkler and Randy Smalley. Trinkler and Smalley started in the nineteenth position and finished seventh – three laps behind the race winning Acura TSX driven by the Wittmer brothers.
    The podium for the Street Tuner category at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. On the left are second place finishers, Karl Thomson and Billy Johnson. To the right are completing the podium are the current class points leaders, Trevor Hopwood and Adam Burrows. Between these two pairs are the winners and local favourites, Kuno and Nick Wittmer. The gaps between Burrow/Hopwood and Thomson/Johnson was reduced to four points.

    FINISHSTARTDRIVERCARLAPS
    11 Nick Wittmer / Kuno WittmerAcura TSX93
    213Karl Thomson / Billy JohnsonAcura TSX93
    316Trevor Hopwood / Adam BurrowsBMW 330i93
    415Matt Pritiko / David TuatyAcura TSX92
    514Shane Lewis / Dave RoushHonda Accord92
    68David Thilenius / Todd LambAcura RSX91
    719Randy Smalley / Owen TrinklerMini Cooper S90
    85Jamie Holtom / Eric CurranChevrolet Cobalt90
    924Justin Hall / Magnus KarlssonMazda MX-589
    109Tom Long / Glenn BocchinoAcura TSX89
    1110Tyler Givogue / Stephan RoyChevrolet Cobalt88
    127Bob Endicott / Ken DobsonAcura TSX87
    134Benoit Theetge / Beau BuissonAcura TSX76
    1412Sam Schultz / Seth ThomasBMW 330i74
    1511Bill Fenton / Bob BeedeAcura RSX73
    1622Steve Kent / Gunter Schmidt / Andrew DanyliwChevrolet Cobalt64
    1718Todd Buras / Christian MillerMazda MX-563
    1823Dennis Baglier / Marty LuffyMazda 662
    196Jocelyn Hebert / Cyril HamelinHonda Civic Si61
    2017Jose Armengol / David HaskellMazda RX-857
    2121Alain Lauziere / Simon Dion-ViensMini Cooper S55
    2220Anthony Serra / Marcelo Abello / Hugh PlumbAcura TSX52
    233Toby Grahovec / Pierre KleinubingBMW Z452
    242Guy Cosmo / Matt PlumbBMW 330i49

    Copyright Notice:
    All content (photographs and text) appearing on this website are the exclusive property of © www.zoompics.com and are protected under International copyright laws. The subject matter on this website may not be reproduced, copied, stored or manipulated.

    © Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017


    Return to home page.