Last season, the Grand-Am Cup division was renamed the KONI Challenge Series after KONI shock absorbers signed a three-year contract to act as the championshipís title sponsor. The 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.

Series cars are not that much different than their road-going counterparts. 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 are 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 2,730 Ė 3,250-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 group in which engines typically produce between 170 and 240-horsepower. Vehicleís weights vary from 2,200 Ė 2,925-pounds. The top speed for a car built to the Street Tuner regulations is approximately 135-mph. Popular makes found in this category 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 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge season consisted of eleven race weekends. Except for Daytona International Speedway, Watkins Glen International, Iowa Speedway and Miller Motorsports Park, all venues would have separate races for the Grand Sport and Street Tuner classes. This yearís schedule started in January at Daytona International Speedway. The next event on the calendar wasnít until April at Virginia International Raceway. A month later, the series visited Lime Rock Park. In June, the teams traveled north of the border to compete at Mosport International Raceway. After Mosport, race weekends took place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Street Tuner only), Watkins Glen International and Barber Motorsports Park (Grand Sport only). In early August, the series made a stop at Iowa Speedway. A week later, 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.

Miller Motorsports Park in Utah hosted the penultimate round of the 2008 Gand-Am KONI Challenge Series. Sixty-one Grand Sport and Street Tuner teams raced on the twenty-five-turn 4.5-mile road course during the Sun Rich Gourmet 1000 weekend.

In a very competitive season, twelve Grand Sport drivers left Miller Motorsports Park with a mathematical chance of winning the championship.

Rounding the final corner at Miller Motorsports Park for the penultimate race of the Grand-Am 2008 KONI Challenge season are thirty Grand Sport competitors. Starting on the pole is the No. 25 C-Max / Unitech Racing Porsche 997, shared by Kris Wilson, David Russell and David Riddle. On the outside of the front row is the No. 41 The Racerís Group prepared Porsche 997, driven by Andy Lally and Scott Schroeder.
The Turner Motorsports team won the Grand Sport category for the second consecutive year at Miller Motorsports Park. Last season, Don Salama and Will Turner were the winners. In 2008, the victory went to Matthew Alhadeff and Bill Auberlen in the No. 96 BMW M3. Auberlen drove the final stint of the event. An aggressive pass on the leader, Kris Wilson, with four-laps remaining, gave him first place and the win.
The C-Max / Unitech Racing team entered two Porsche 997 at Utah. Quicker of the two entries was the No. 25 Porsche shared by Kris Wilson, David Russell and David Riddle, which started on the pole. The team put Wilson in the car last and, he was leading the race with four laps to go. On the final restart, Wilson lost first place to Bill Auberlen. Then heavy contact with Charles Espenlaub resulted in a twelfth-place finish.
Sharing the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS was Eric Curran and the Street Tuner points leader, Jamie Holtom. Holtom was thirty-fourth quickest in qualifying and would start fourth in class. Curran, who hadnít driven the car since Watkins Glen, moved into first place during the final stint and won by a margin of 0.872-seconds. The victory was the fourth of the year for Holtom and extended his points lead.
For the third time this season, RSR Motorsports put their two quickest drivers in the same car. At Miller Motorsports Park, the No. 196 Mini Cooper S was driven by B.J. Zacharias and Owen Trinkler. The Mini started on the Street Tuner pole Ė thirty-first overall. Unfortunately for the team, the Cooper S fell out of contention. Zacharias and Trinkler finished on the lead lap but were thirtieth overall and twelfth in class.
The 2008 KONI Challenge Series podium for the Grand Sport class at Miller Motorsports Park. Standing on the top step are Bill Auberlen and Matthew Alhadeff. This was the Turner Motorsport teamís second consecutive victory at Miller. On the right side of the rostrum scoring, the second runner-up finish of the year is Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly. Completing the podium are the third-place finishers, Ray Mason and Billy Johnson.
Thirty-two Street Tuner drivers enter Miller Motorsports Parkís final turn, called Release, for the penultimate round of 2008 KONI Challenge Series. On the class pole is the No. 196 RSR Motorsport Mini Cooper S that was shared by sports car veterans, Owen Trinkler and B.J. Zacharias. Beside the RSR Mini is the No. 171 APR Motorsport Volkswagen GTI, which was piloted by Ian Baas and Dion von Moltke.
To date, The Racerís Group driverís, Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly, best finish was a second place in round two at Lime Rock Park. At Miller Motorsports Park, Ende qualified the No. 39 Porsche 997 third fastest. On the pre-grid, the team discovered a shredded belt. Ende pitted on the pace and started last but was in ninth place at the driverís change. Pumpelly worked his way to the front and finished in the runner-up position.
Ian Baas and Dion von Moltke earned the first podium finish for the three-car APR Motorsport effort. Von Moltke qualified the No. 171 Volkswagen GTI thirty-second overall and second in the Street Tuner category. As the race came to an end, Baas found himself a distant second to the leader, Eric Curran. The final full-course caution bunched the field. Baas had to balance conserving fuel and challenging for the win, he finished second.
In the two previous rounds, Trois-Rivieres and New Jersey, Ray Mason and Billy Johnson captured podium finishes. In qualifying a Miller Motorsports Park, Mason set the nineteenth fastest time driving the No. 52 Ford Mustang GT and started the three-hour event. When Johnson got behind the wheel, he moved the Mustang up the order and benefitted from the contact between Kris Wilson and Charles Espenlaub to finish third.
The second Georgian Bay Motorsports entry was driven by Kirk Spencer and rookie, Ashley McCalmont. McCalmont qualified and started the No. 00 Chevrolet Cobalt SS seventh in the Street Tuner category. She was fifth in class when she handed the car over to Spencer. He fell out of the top-ten but battled through the field and was in third place at the checkered flag. This was their first podium finish of the season.
The penultimate podium for the 2008 KONI Challenge Street Tuner division. Occupying the top step are Georgian Bay Motorsportsí drivers, Eric Curran and Jamie Holtom. The points leader, Holtom would only have finish twenty-fifth or better to clinch the title. Standing on the right side of the rostrum are the runner-ups, Dion von Moltke and Ian Baas. Completing the podium are Ashley McCalmont and Kirk Spencer.

POS.CLASSDRIVERSCARENTRANTLAPS
1GSAuberlen / AlhadeffBMW M3Turner Motorsport44
2GSPumpelly / EndePorsche 997The Racer's Group44
3GSMason / JohnsonFord Mustang GTRehagen Racing44
4GSFoster / MaxwellFord Mustang GTHyper Sport44
5GSCanney / PlumbFord Mustang GTRehagen Racing44
6GSSeafuse / GueFord Mustang GTJBS Motorsports44
7GSRoush / MartinFord Mustang GTRehagen Racing44
8GSThornton / SegalBMW M3Automatic Racing44
9GSMiller / StantonPorsche 997BGB Motorsports44
10GSLamb / MolloyBMW M3Kinetic Motorsports44
11GSSalama / OrtizBMW M3Turner Motorsport25
12GSRiddle / Wilson / RussellPorsche 997BGB Motorsports55
13GSDavis / DiLeoPorsche 997Maxwell Paper Racing44
14GSTraver / Sofranas / HyattPorsche 997BGB Motorsports44
15GSClick / McGovernFord Mustang GTCMA Motorsports44
16GSJonsson / BocchinoBMW M3i-MOTO / Kinetic Motorsports44
17STHoltom / CurranChevrolet CobaltGeorgian Bay Motorsports44
18STBaas / von MoltkeVolkswagen GTIAPR Motorsport44
19GSWellon / EllisPorsche 997Ranger Sports Racing44
20GSJenkins / BodenBMW M3Playboy Racing44
21STMcCalmont / SpencerChevrolet CobaltGeorgian Bay Motorsports44
22STLong / O'DoskiMazda MX-5Freedom Autosports44
23STPritiko / BoyerChevrolet CobaltPredator Auto Sport44
24STBurrows / HopwoodAcura TSXCompass360 Racing44
25STRivera / OttMazda RX-8Brass Mitchell Racing44
26STWittmer / CunninghamAcura TSXi-MOTO Racing44
27STWilden / WillardAcura TSXCompass360 Racing44
28STWhitis / DanielsMazda MX-5Freedom Autosports44
29STBell / MirzayanBMW 330iTurner Motorsport44
30STTrinkler / ZachariasMini Cooper SRSR Motorsports44
31STArnold / Schultz / WorkmanBMW 330iV-Pack Motorsport44
32STTallman / KozarovAcura RSX-SCA Sport44
33STBeede / PumbHonda Civic SiBill Fenton Motorsports44
34STPobst / WhiteVolkswagen GTIAPR Motorsport44
35STSmalley / Trinkler / JohnsonMini Cooper SRSR Motorsports44
36STFenton / ThileniusHonda Civic SiBill Fenton Motorsports44
37STSmalley / CongletonMini Cooper SRSR Motorsports44
38STSaini / BarnesMazda RX-8Team MER44
39GSSkavnes / AquinlanteSubaru LegacyICY/Phoenix Racing44
40STMiller / HollandHonda Civic SiCompass360 Racing43
41GSConstantine / BorkowskiBMW M3Playboy Racing43
42GSHickman / HickmanFord MustangHickman Motorsports43
43GSMaher / BiscevicNissan 350ZNo Hot Wire Racing43
44GSRossi / AbelloPorsche 997Ranger Sports Racing43
45STYork / RowenAcura RSX-SCompass360 Racing43
46GSRiddle / WilsonPorsche 997BGB Motorsports42
47STWittmer / BocchinoAcura TSXi-MOTO Racing42
48GSEspenlaub / PutmanBMW M3Automatic Racing41
49GSJulien / AronsonPorsche 996DragonSpeed41
50STLamb / MaiaBMW Z4Classic BMW39
51GSSchroeder / LallyPorsche 997The Racer's Group36
52GSMcKeever / BurkeFord MustangLarry Miller Racing36
53STKent / DanyliwChevrolet CobaltGS Motorsports33
54GSFromberg / SellersPorsche 997Maxwell Paper Racing33
55STLong / Asselta / StaveleyMazda MX-5Freedom Autosports31
56STDeBoer / SmurzynskiChevrolet CobaltProject Motorsports23
57GSCameron / FinlayBMW M3Automatic Racing11
58STBovenberg / LepperChevrolet CobaltTeam Cobalt California6
59STRiley / RileyMazda RX-8Riley Racing5
60STDavis / SmithBMW 330iKinetic Motorsports2
61STGrahovec / KleinubingBMW Z4Classic BMW2


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