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 cars in the series are relatively unchanged from their road-going counterparts – 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, Ford Mustang, Porsche 997 and Porsche Carrera.

  • 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 Volkswagen GTI, Acura TSX, Mazda RX-8, Mazda MX-5, Honda Civic Si, BMW 330i, Subaru Legacy, Chevrolet Cobalt SS, Subaru Legacy and Mini Cooper S.

    The 2009 season consisted of eleven race weekends and started in January at Daytona International Speedway which was followed by a second event in Florida at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In May, the series would visit Thunderbolt Raceway in New Jersey then move on to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Lime Rock Park. The teams travelled Watkins Glen International, New York in June and after this event, race weekends took place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. In August, made the trip 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 competed separately – the exceptions being Daytona, New Jersey, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen International and Miller Motorsports Park where they race together.

    Round one of the 2009 Koni Sports Car Challenge was held at Daytona International Speedway during the Rolex 24 weekend. Competitors would race around the twelve-turn 3.56-mile roval for three-hours in the Fresh From Florida 200.

  • The start of round one of the 2009 Koni Sports Car Challenge series for the Grand Sport class at Daytona International Speedway. On the pole is Dean Martin driving the No. 59 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT. Sharing the front row with Martin is the Horsepower Ranch Ford Mustang shared by Jack Roush, Jr. and Hugh Plumb. There were a total of thirty-one Grand Sport entries for the season opener.
    Matt Bell handled the qualifying duties for the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3. Sharing the BMW with Bell would be sports car veteran, Bill Auberlen. During the opening stint of the race, Bell kept the BMW in contention. Auberlen drove the second half of the contest and moved the car into the top spot on lap-50. From there, he fought with Hugh Plumb and Ken Wilden for the lead but was in first place when the final caution ended the race.
    Jack Roush, Jr. and Hugh Plumb were gridded fourth for the start of the three-hour contest. The duo drove the Horsepower Ranch Ford Mustang. They both took turns leading the event with Roush, Jr. in the top spot for eight circuits and Plumb out front for two laps. Some late-race bumping dropped Plumb from first to third place. He charged back to second but the final caution prevented him from challenging Auberlen for the win.
    Joe Masessa driving the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Carrera qualified thirty-third in a field of thirty-four Grand Sport entries. Sharing the BGB Porsche with Masessa was Nick Longhi. In the caution-filled event, the team took their first opportunity to put Longhi in the driver’s seat. Longhi carved his way through the field and was in the lead on lap-45. By the end of the event, he had gained twenty-one positions to finish twelfth.
    In the opening round at Daytona International Speedway, the first wave of Grand Sport cars was followed by the slower Street Tuner category. Leading the field of thirty-two Street Tuner competitors to the Starter is the pole-sitter, Andrew Aquilante driving the Subaru Road Racing Team Subaru. Next to Aquilante, on the front row is the Bill Fenton Motorsports Honda Civic Si with David Thilenius behind the wheel.
    In the center are the overall and Grand Sport winners from Turner Motorsport, Matt Bill and Bill Auberlen. This was Bell’s first professional victory and the twelfth Koni win for Auberlen. On the right side of the podium are the runner-ups and drivers of the Horsepower Ranch prepared Ford Mustang, Hugh Plumb and Jack Roush, Jr. Completing the rostrum are the pole-winning team of Dean Martin and Kenny Wilden.
    Georgian Bay Motorsports entered two very quick Chevrolet Cobalt SS. Racing the No. 00 entry was Lawson Aschenbach and Pat Iannucci. In qualifying, Iannucci was the twenty-second fastest Street Tuner driver and started fifty-sixth. In the first round of pit-stops, Aschenbach jumped behind the steering wheel and by lap-49, he was in the class lead. From there, Aschenbach battled with Travis Walker and Kristian Skavnes before taking the victory.
    Claiming the Street Tuner class pole was Andrew Aquilante in the Subaru Road Racing Team Subaru Legacy. This was the only Subaru in the field but the car proved fast last year by scoring a second place at Mosport and taking a victory at Mid-Ohio. Also driving the Subaru at Daytona was Kristian Skavnes. Aquilante and Skavnes led a total of thirty-one-laps. Skavnes was leading but could not hold off Lawson Aschenbach and finished second.
    In qualifying for the Fresh From Florida 200, Dean Martin driving the No. 59 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT won the pole position by 0.614-seconds and was the only driver to eclipse the two-minute mark. Sharing the Mustang with Martin for the three-hour event was Kenny Wilden. Wilden drove the final stint and was in a three-way battle with Bill Auberlen and Hugh Plumb. He was in third place when the race ended under caution.
    Compass 360 Racing entered three very quick Honda Civic Si. Sharing the No. 76 Honda was Matt Pritiko and Travis Walker. In qualifying, Pritiko was fortieth fastest and sixth in Street Tuner. During the event, the pair moved into contention with Walker taking the top spot on lap-50. He would trade the position back and forth with Lawson Aschenbach until the end of the contest. The Compass 360 drivers would finish third in class.
    The 2009 Street Tuner podium at Daytona International Speedway. In the center are the class winning drivers, Lawson Aschenbach and Pat Iannucci. The pair improved the most places in the Street Tuner category during the race, they gained thirty-nine positions. Taking the runner-up spot, on the right side of the podium, are Kristian Skavnes and Andrew Aquilante. The final place on the rostrum belonged to Tyler Walker and Matt Pritiko.

    FINISHCLASSDRIVERTEAM / CARLAPS
    1GSAuberlen / BellTurner Motorsport / BMW M374
    2GSPlumb / RoushHorsepower Ranch / Ford Mustang GT74
    3GSMartin / WildenRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT74
    4GSBuffomante / JohnsonMotorsport Technology Group / Porsche 99774
    5GSGue / SeafuseJBS Motorsports / Ford Mustang GT74
    6GSGeorge Jr / Stanton / TecceBGB Motorsports / Porsche Carrera74
    7GSGleason / HandTurner Motorsport / BMW M374
    8GSEnde / PumpellyTRG / Porsche 99774
    9GSCollyer / MasonRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT74
    10GSCaddell / ClickHyper Sport/Jim Click Racing / Ford Mustang GT74
    11GSHerr / WillseyKinetic Motorsports / BMW M374
    12GSLonghi / MasessaBGB Motorsports / Porsche Carrera74
    13GSSegal / ThorntonAutomatic Racing / BMW M374
    14GSHickham Jr / Hickham SrHickham Motorsports / Ford Mustang GT74
    15GSDavis / SmithKinetic Motorsports / BMW M374
    16GSIgdalsky / MattioliJBS Motorsports / Ford Mustang GT74
    17STAschenbach / IannucciGeorgian Bay Motorsports / Chevrolet Cobalt SS74
    18STAquilante / SkavnesSubaru Road Racing Team / Subaru Legacy74
    19STPritiko / WalkerCompass360 Racing / Honda Civic Si74
    20STMcCalmont / SpencerGeorgian Bay Motorsports / Chevrolet Cobalt SS 74
    21STSpaude / ThileniusBill Fenton Motorsports / Honda Civic Si74
    22STBaas / HurleyAPR Motorsport / Volkswagen GTI74
    23STBeede / CullenBill Fenton Motorsports / Honda Civic Si74
    24STSalama / TurnerTurner Motorsport / BMW 328i74
    25STBarrett / SweeneyAPR Motorsport / Volkswagen GTI74
    26STRoach / SchwartzottCompass360 Racing / Honda Civic Si74
    27STNonnamaker / SahlenTeam Sahlen / Mazda RX-874
    28GSKozarov / RossbergCA Sport / Ford Mustang GT74
    29STMiller / PobstCompass360 Racing / Honda Civic Si74
    30STDanyliw / SchmidtGS Motorsports / Chevrolet Cobalt SS73
    31STKennedy / LondonNext Generation Motorsports / BMW 33073
    32STMeyer / WilsonMeyer Motorsports / Mazda RX-872
    33STCarbonell / WhiteFreedom Autosport / Mazda MX-572
    34GSGrigsby Jr / HeathCardiosport Racing / Porsche 99772
    35STArnold / SchultzV-Pack Motorsport / BMW Z471
    36GSPanzer / SnyderCMA Motorsports / Ford Mustang GT71
    37GSBoden / JenkinsFall-Line Motorsports / BMW M370
    38GSTaylor / WebbNext Generation Motorsports / BMW 33070
    39STHarding / MilarcikPirate Motorsports / Mazda RX-869
    40GSEspenlaub / PutmanAutomatic Racing / BMW M368
    41GSEllis / WellonRanger Sports Racing / Porsche 99763
    42STSmalley / ToussaintRSR Motorsports / Mini Cooper S61
    43STLong / WhitisFreedom Autosport / Mazda MX-561
    44STDavis / SmithMaxwell Paper Racing / Mazda RX-859
    45GSDiLeo / SellersMaxwell Paper Racing / Porsche 99758
    46STBovenberg / Lepper / PerezTeam Cobalt California / Chevrolet Cobalt SS56
    47GSHillestad / WaddellAutomatic Racing / BMW M355
    48STFlint / MarquardtMeyer Motorsports / Mazda RX-854
    49STBurrows / HopwoodRSR Motorsports / Mini Cooper S52
    50GSBengoa / OrtizRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT52
    51GSJames / NastasiBlackforest Motorsports / Dodge Challenger48
    52STBurdette / FriedmanV-Pack Motorsport / BMW 33043
    53STLeroux / LerouxLRT Racing / Acura TSX42
    54STFoster / SkeltonHyper Sport / Mazda RX-838
    55GSLally / PotterTRG / Porsche 99737
    56GSBocchino / LambKinetic Motorsports / BMW M336
    57GSCanney / PlumbHorsepower Ranch / Ford Mustang GT33
    58STGilsinger / SchmittHART / Honda Civic Si20
    59GSAckley / TurnerCMA Motorsports / Ford Mustang GT13
    60STLeverone / McHaffieFlatout Motorsports / Mazda MX-510
    61GSGullatta / ReenRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT5
    62STBuford / TrinklerRSR Motorsports / Mini Cooper S5
    63STCharbonneau / Van SteenburgRunwhatyabrung Racing / Dodge SRT42
    64STO'Doski / SaidFreedom Autosport / Mazda MX-5Did Not Start
    65STCohen / IstookIstook's Motorsports / Audi TTDid Not Start
    66GSEllis / WellonRanger Sports Racing / Porsche 997Did Not Start
    67GSBarretto / KahangiFall-Line Motorsports / BMW M3Did Not Start
    68GSJeannette / JonssonKinetic Motorsports / BMW M3Did Not Start
    69GSSlone / WoodmanHyper Sport / Ford Mustang GTDid Not Start

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