Beginning in 2007, the Grand-Am Cup series was sponsored by KONI shock absorbers 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 prize 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 2007 season consisted of twelve race 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 traveled north of the border to compete at Mosport International Raceway 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 Utahís Miller Motorsports Park, with the finale being conducted at Virginia International Raceway. The Grand Sport and Street Tuner classes had separate races Ė 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 counterparts Ė modifications are mandated mainly for safety Ė roll cages, window nets, etc. They also use 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 - the 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 Ė 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 and Porsche 997.
  • 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 SS and Mini Cooper S.

Less than a week after round six at Mosport International Raceway, the KONI Challenge teams traveled to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Mid-Ohio Road 200. Thirty-eight teams would race on the thirteen-turn 2.258-mile road course for two-and-a-half-hours.

Last weekend at Motorsport International Raceway, Dean Martin and Ken Wilden finished second after starting last on the grid. The No. 52 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT didnít fail the post-qualifying technical inspection at this event and Martin started fourth. After a clean stint, the Mustang was handed over to Wilden, who put the car in the lead. Despite pressure from Andy Lally, he held on for the victory.
The Racerís Group entered the No. 41 Carlsen Porsche / Mitchell Global sponsored Porsche 997. Driving the Porsche was Andy Lally and Ted Bellou. Bellou was thirteenth fastest in qualifying. During his time behind the wheel, he moved up to the tenth place. In the last half of the contest, Lally maneuvered his way through the field and chased down the leader, Ken Wilden. Despite several attempts to pass, he finished second.
Earning the final spot on the Grand Sport podium at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course were Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal. The pair finished third the previous weekend at Mosport International Raceway. Thornton ended the qualifying session in seventh. After the driver change, Segal moved the BMW M3 up to second but was passed by Andy Lally on lap-76. He would maintain the third position to the finish of the contest.
It was not a good points weekend for the championship leader, Joe Foster. Foster put the No. 55 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT twelfth on the starting grid. His teammate, Scott Maxwell, moved the Mustang up to third place before being knocked into the wall by another competitor. Maxwell rebounded from the incident and finished fourteen. Unfortunately, Foster points lead over Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal shrunk to five-markers.
Sharing the No. 79 Kinetic Motorsports prepared BMW M3 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was Nic Jonsson and Bryan Ortiz. Jonsson qualified the BMW third fastest and moved past the pole-sitter, Will Turner, on lap-23 for the lead. Ortiz ran as high a second place during his stint but would ultimately finish in the fourth position. This was the teamís first top-ten result of the season.
Tom Nastasi kicked off 2007 with three consecutive victories. Since round four at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Blackforest Motorsports team struggled to deliver decent results. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Nastasi qualified the Ford Mustang, that he would share with Ian James, eleventh fastest. The pair moved into the top-five but contact while James was driving led to a retirement and twenty-seventh place finish.
In the first six races of the season, Don Salama was responsible for qualifying the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3. He succeeded in capturing four pole-positions. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, it was Will Turnerís honour to perform the qualifying duties and he succeeded in grabbing the pole. But the teamís back luck continued. Salama spun to two-laps left in the contest and finished thirteenth.
The Grand Sport winners for round seven of the 2007 KONI Challenges series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Ken Wilden and Dean Martin. This was Wildenís first Grand Am victory and the second for Martin, who captured a first-place finish in 2003 at Daytona International Speedway. Martin also shared the No. 59 Rehagen entry with Jack Roush, Jr., but the car retired after with a mechanical failure on lap-76.

FINISHSTARTDRIVERCARLAPS
24Ken Wilden / Dean MartinFord Mustang GT83
613Andy Lally / Ted BallouPorsche 99783
37Jep Thornton / Jeff SegalBMW M383
43Nic Jonsson / Bryan OrtizBMW M383
52Tom Long / David RussellBMW M383
616Hugh Plumb / Craig StantonPorsche 99783
725Kris Wilson / Dave RiddlePorsche 99783
818Tim Traver / Mikel MillerPorsche 99783
915Phil Mahre / Steve MahreFord Mustang GT83
1032John Bibbo / Scott SchroederPorsche 99783
1129Fraser Wellon / Barry EllisPorsche 99783
1217Charles Espenlaub / Charles PutmanBMW M383
131Don Salama / Will TurnerBMW M383
1412Joe Foster / Scott MaxwellFord Mustang GT83
1519Owen Trinkler / BJ ZachariasFord Mustang GT83
1628Tanner Baker / Zach ArnoldPorsche 99783
1721Tommy Constantine / Mike Borkowski / David MurryNissan 350Z83
185Bret Seafuse / James GueFord Mustang GT83
1922Nick Longhi / Mark BodenBMW M383
2035RJ Valentine / John PetersonPorsche 99782
2124Ray Mason / Jamie SloneFord Mustang GT81
2220Aaron Bambach / Robb BrentPorsche 99681
2326Jack Roush / Dean MartinFord Mustang GT76
2437Spencer Pumpelly / Kassey KuhlmanPorsche 99773
2523Gary Grigsby Jr / Terry HeathPorsche 99769
2633Mark Ackley / Todd SnyderFord Mustang GT62
2711Ian James / David EmpringhamFord Mustang GT62
2814Shawn Price / Bryan SellersBMW M359
298Bill Auberlen / Chris GleasonBMW M358
3010Steve Jenkins / Nick HamBMW M357
3134Rick Skelton / Joe LeeFord Mustang GT52
3230Travis Walker / Valerie LimogesFord Mustang GT47
3333Tim George Jr / Conrad GrunewaldBMW M345
346Jon Miller / Owen Trinkler / Serge Glazunov JrBMW M339
3531Robert Brent / Robin BurnettPorsche 99622
3627Jeff Courtney / Freddy BakerPorsche 99718
3738Duncan Ende / Grant MaimanPorsche 99711
3836Mike Johnson / Bob HeniffPorsche 9976

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