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 Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park, with the finale being conducted 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 counterparts – modifications are mandated mainly for safety – 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 – 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.

The 2007 KONI Challenge series kicked off at Daytona International Speedway in late January. The event titled, the ‘Fresh from Florida 200’, was part of the 45th Rolex at Daytona weekend. There were 106-cars entered, of which ninety-two completed lap-1 of the race.

Paired in the No. 5 Blackforest Motorsports Ford Mustang GT were Tom Nastasi and Canadian David Empringham. The Blackforest team entered five Mustangs, two Mazda RX-8 and a BMW M3. But the fastest combination was Nastasi and Empringham. Nastasi qualified the car and started third on the grid. Empringham drove the final stint and passed Scott Maxwell at the ‘bus stop’ with three-laps remaining for the win.
The 2006 Street Tuner champions, Don Salama and Will Turner returned for another season of Grand Am Cup competition. However, they moved to the Grand Sport division, driving a Turner Motorsport BMW M3. Salama started on the outside of the front row after recording the second-fastest time in qualifying. A spin by Salama in turn one on lap-2, saw the pair drop down the order and fight back for a tenth-place finish.
Winning the Street Tuner division were Karl Thomson and Billy Johnson. Thomson and Johnson co-drove the No. 76 Kensai Racing Acura TSX and started in the 103-position. Thomson qualified second in class, but the car failed the tech inspection after qualifying. The pair moved through the field and by the last half of the race, Johnson was in a four-way battle for the lead. He fought his way to the front and scored the class victory.
Davis Motorsports entered three Acura RSX-S, piloting the No. 144 RSX-S were Californians, Bob Endicott and Ken Dobson. Dobson performed the qualifying duties and was sixty-second fastest overall and third in class. During the race, the pair-maintained contact with the category leaders. Endicott drove the final stint and found himself in a three-car ‘shoot out’ for the win on the last lap. He would finish second by a margin of 0.448-seconds.
Beau Buisson, driving the No. 75 Kensai Racing Acura TSX, captured the Street Tuner pole and would start sixtieth overall. Unlike the Thomson/Johnson entry, Buisson and his teammate, Travis Walker, passed the post-qualifying technical inspection. Walker was racing with the class leaders when the drive-shaft failed with three laps remaining in the event. The pair finished sixty-second overall and twenty-forth in Street Tuner.
In the center are the overall and Grand Sports winners from Blackforest Motorsports, Tom Nastasi and the 2005 class champion, David Empringham. On the right side of the podium are the runner-ups, Scott Maxwell and the Fresh from Florida pole winner, Joe Foster. Completing the rostrum are drivers of the Turner Motorsport BMW M3, Bill Auberlen and Chris Gleason.
Sharing their No. 55 Hyper Sport entry was Joe Foster and Canadian, Scott Maxwell. In qualifying, Foster drove the Ford Mustang GT and was the fastest competitor with an overall with a time of 2:01.846. During the race, he maintained contact with the leaders. Maxwell drove the final stint and took the lead on lap-51 only to be passed by David Empringham late in the contest. Maxwell finished in second place by a 0.475-second margin.
The No. 32 i-Moto Racing prepared Acura TSX was driven by brothers, Kuno and Nick Wittmer. Nick handled the qualifying and was third fastest in the Street Tuner category. However, the Acura failed the post-qualifying technical inspection and Nick started in gridded in 104-position. That seemed to be of little consequence - by the end of the race, the brothers were in contention for the victory. At the finish, they were third in class.
The second Turner Motorsport Grand Sport class entry was driven by sports car veterans, Chris Gleason and Bill Auberlen. Gleason would drive the opening stint in the No. 96 BMW M3 and qualified the car twenty-first overall. At the end of the contest, Auberlen chased the leaders, David Empringham and Scott Maxwell but was no match for them on the banking. The pair finished 0.892-seconds behind the winner in third place.
Gridded third for the Fresh from Florida 200 was the No. 80 Kinetic Motorsports prepared BMW M3 raced by Bryan Ortiz and Boris Said. Said won an event last year that helped his previous co-driver, Anders Hainer, capture the 2006 Grand Sport title. Ortiz drove the first half of the contest. The pair fell out of contention and retired. At the checkered flag, they were twenty-nine-laps behind the leaders – seventy-eighth overall.
The 2007 Street Tuner podium at Daytona International Speedway. In the center are the class winning drivers, Karl Thomson and Billy Johnson from Kensai Racing. Taking the runner-up spot on the left side of the rostrum is Davis Motorsports’, Bob Endicott and Ken Dobson. The final position of the podium is occupied by the third-place finishers and brothers, Kuno and Nick Wittmer.

1GSNastasi / EmpringhamFord Mustang GTBlackforest Motorsport64
2GSFoster / MaxwellFord Mustang GTHyper Sport64
3GSGleason / AuberlenBMW M3Turner Motorsport64
4GSMurry / PrewittNissan 350ZPlayboy Racing64
5GSThornton / SegalBMW M3Automatic Racing64
6GSGoad / ConwayPontiac GTOSpirit of Daytona64
7GSSeafuse / Ackley / SnyderFord Mustang GTJBS Motorsports64
8GSMartin / MasonFord Mustang GTRehagen Racing64
9GSPumpelly / AschenbachPorsche 997Marcus Motorsports64
10GSTurner / SalamaBMW M3Turner Motorsport64
11GSSeafuse / GueFord Mustang GTJBS Motorsports64
12GSGlazunov Jr / HarrisPorsche 997TRG64
13GSHamblin / StantonPorsche 996BGB Motorsports64
14GSJonsson / PriceBMW M3Kinetic Motorsports64
15GSPobst / Eversley / SterenbergPorsche 996Race Prep Motorsports64
16GSWellon / EllisPorsche 996LNS Motorsports64
17GSLong / RussellBMW M3Automatic Racing64
18GSHeniff / JohnsonPorsche 997LNS Motorsports64
19GSWeinberg / ObertoPontiac GTOSpirit of Daytona Racing64
20GSSafina / FeinbergFord Mustang GTBlackforest Motorsports64
21GSBibbo / SchroederPorsche 997TRG64
22GSBecker / MasessaPorsche 996Team Sahlen64
23GSRossi / GrandePorsche 996LNS Motorsports64
24GSArnold / RobichaudPorsche 996ASC Motorsports64
25GSAvenatti / McCrackinPorsche 997Synergy Racing64
26GSKrohn / HandBMW M3Kinetic Motorsports64
27GSThompson/ SharpPorsche 996Horsepower Ranch64
28GSBallou / LallyPorsche 997TRG63
29GSYeakle / CollyerPontiac FirebirdMichael Baughman Racing63
30GSSterenberg / Pickett / DoughertyPorsche 996Race Prep Motorsports63
31GSConnolly / Halpin / HoytBMW M3Southwest Racers Group63
32STThomson / JohnsonAcura TSXKensai Racing63
33GSCorso / RiefnerNissan 350ZEastern Competition Promotorsports63
34STEndicott / DobsonAcura RSX-SDavis Motorsports 63
35STWittmer / WittmerAcura TSXi-MOTO Racing63
36STLamb / ThileniusAcura RSX-SBill Fenton Motorsports63
37STBocchino / Foo / NiffeneggerAcura TSXi-MOTO Racing63
38STArmengol / AllenMazda RX-8SpeedSource63
39STHopwood / BurrowsBMW 330iTurner Motorsport63
40STGrahovec / KleinubingBMW Z4Classic BMW63
41STRoach / LepperChevrolet CobaltTeam Cobalt California63
42STHoltom / CurranChevrolet CobaltGeorgian Bay Motorsports63
43STGelpi Jr / Wehrheim / Gonzalez JrChevrolet CobaltTeam Cobalt California63
44STO'Toole / SpeckBMW 330iV-Pack Motorsport63
45GSWilson/ BrannonFord Mustang GTBlackforest Motorsports63
46GSTucker / ZabinskiFord Mustang GTBlackforest Motorsports62
47GSHennessy / GimbertBMW M3Blackforest Motorsports62
48GSEnde / MaimanPorsche 997TRG62
49STTrenery / BriodyAcura RSX-SDavis Motorsports62
50STLeroux / LerouxAcura TSXLRT Racing62
51GSBiskup / LonghiBMW M3Fall-Line Motorsports62
52STBilodeau / BorgeatHyundai TiburonGT Racing62
53STPapineau/ Dion-ViensHyundai TiburonGT Racing62
54STKent / Schmidt / DanyliwChevrolet CobaltGS Motorsport62
55STHall / KarlsonMazda MX-5BSI Racing62
56STPritiko / PowellAcura RSX-SKensai Racing62
57STScarbrough / BrumbaughMazda RX-8Roar Racing62
58STLewis / AlvisVolkswagen GTIGSM Motorsports61
59STGivogue / BoyerChevrolet CobaltPredator Auto Sport61
60STSmellie / Zuccarelli IIIMazda RX-8Rotary Power Motorsports61
61GSBaker / CobbPorsche 996ASC Motorsports59
62STWalker / BuissonAcura TSXKensai Racing57
63STSchultz / ThomasBMW 330iFountain Motorsports59
64STCosmo / StoddartBMW 330iFountain Motorsports59
65STWebb / Van Vurst / Whitener IIIMazda RX-8Roar Racing59
66STBuras / GarciaMazda MX-5BSI Racing58
67STSmalley / CongletonMini Cooper SRSR Motorsports58
68STSchmitt / LewisHonda AccordHART56
69GSJenkins / BodenBMW M3Fall-Line Motorsports55
70GSGrigsby Jr / HeathPorsche 997Cardiosport Racing53
71STSerra / AbelloAcura TSXDavis Motorsports50
72GSGeorge Jr / Argetsinger / RusselBMW M3Automatic Racing46
73STSahlen / NonnamakerDodge SRT-4Team Sahlen45
74GSCanney / NonnamakerPorsche 996Team Sahlen44
75GSMahre / MahreFord Mustang GTTeam Centurion38
76GSEspenlaub / Dempsey / KapudijaFord Mustang GTHyper Sport38
77GSPlumb / SabolPorsche 996Horsepower Ranch36
78GSSaid / Ortiz-SotoBMW M3Kinetic Motorsports35
79GSRehagen / KofskeyMustang Cobra SVTRehagen Racing35
80STDiMeo / Matz / OlivaBMW 330ciCompetition Marketing Motorsports33
81GSRiddle / Wilson / PechnikPorsche 997C-MAX Racing31
82STSchlesinger / TremblayMazda RX-8SpeedSource31
83GSLimoges/ TaglianiFord Mustang GTBlackforest Motorsports30
84STGiovanis / MoorconesBMW 330ciT Giovanis Motorsport30
85GSLacy / ZachariasFord Mustang GTChampion Motorsports24
86GSClick / McGovern / SloneFord Mustang GTJim Click Racing21
87STSliwa / Yano / BetheaDodge SRT-4SDS Performance Racing20
88STFlint / Dennard / HayesChevrolet CobaltTeam Cobalt California20
89STLira / KennedyMazda RX-8Blackforest Motorsports19
90GSBavaro / Burke / FoxPorsche 997Bodymotion Racing13
91GSMiller / TrinklerBMW M3Automatic Racing3
92GSTraver / MillerPorsche 997BGB Motorsports3

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