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 penultimate round of the 2007 KONI Challenge series was held at Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park. Sixty-three drivers started the two-and-half-hour contest around the 4.5-mile twenty-five-turn road course.

A field of sixty-three KONI Challenge series competitors line up on Miller Motorsports Park front straight for the penultimate round of the 2007 championship. This was one of three events where Grand Sport and Street Tuner classes would race together. On the pole in the No. 99 Automatic Racing BMW M3 driven by David Russell. On the outside of the front row is Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 49 Marcus Motorsports Porsche 997.
Until the Miller Motorsports Park event, Will Turner and Don Salama had shared the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3. This weekend, they stepped aside in favour of Joey Hand and Matthew Alhadeff. Alhadeff qualified the BMW fifth fastest and handed the car over to Hand on lap-12 of the contest. Late in the event, he was second, but the team’s fuel strategy allowed him to inherit first place and the victory when the race leader pitted.
It wasn’t until round nine at Barber that the Georgian Bay Motorsports team rebounded and demonstrated the skills that won them four races in 2006. At Miller Motorsports Park, Jamie Holtom qualified the No. 01 Chevrolet Cobalt third fastest. Holtom’s co-driver, Eric Curran, replaced him on lap-27. Curran moved up the order as leaders pitted for gas. The team gambled on a fuel strategy that paid off with a victory.
Hugh Plumb joined series regular, Craig Stanton, in round six at Mosport International Raceway. The pair began regularly finishing in the top-ten with their best result being a third place in the previous event at Trois-Rivieres. At Miller Motorsports Park, the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche 997 started the race in twelfth position. Stanton was running third late in the race but a late pit-stop by the leader gave him a runner-up finish.
Qualifying fifth overall was the point’s leader, Jep Thornton, in the Automatic Racing BMW M3. Thornton and his driving partner, Jeff Segal, could secure the title this weekend with a good result. Their consistency during the year had paid off, but that would not be the case at Miller Motorsports Park. On lap-35, Segal pitted with a broken axle. Repairs were made and they finished eighteenth – not good enough to clinch the championship.
Recording the fastest lap during the qualifying session was David Russell in the No. 99 Automatic Racing prepared BMW M3. Sharing the BMW with Russell was Tom Long. This was the team’s second pole of 2007. They were also fastest at Iowa but were disqualified for a broken exhaust. In the race, Long and Russell were unable to match the pace of the leaders but moved up to a fifth-place finish when the TRG Porsche pitted for fuel.
The GOTO Racing team entered round four at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but their Subaru Legacy was severely damaged in the race. They did not return to the series until the Miller Motorsports Park weekend but did it in style. Brian Lock grabbed the Street Tuner pole. Sharing the car with Lock was his brother, Mike. Brian led early in the contest, but poor fuel mileage relegated the team to a runner-up finish.
One of the many teams delivering their best result of 2007 at Miller Motorsports Park was Justin Hall and Magnus Karlsson. To date, the top finish for the drivers of the No. 58 BSI Racing Mazda MX-5 was a fifth place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. For the start of the contest, they were gridded twenty-first in the Street Tuner category. Like many of the top finishers, the team used a risky fuel strategy to grab the final position on the podium.
An excellent qualifying effort by Adam Burrows put the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i on the outside of the front row for the Street Tuner category. Burrows and his co-driver, Trevor Hopwood, led the class standings with just two events remaining. At the end of the race, they were in fifth place and held a five-point advantage over their main rivals, Karl Thomson and Billy Johnson, heading into the finale at Virginia International Raceway.
Kris Wilson and Dave Riddle co-drove the No. 25 Fioran / C-Max Racing Porsche 997. Riddle qualified the Porsche eighteenth overall and in the Grand Sport category. After Wilson took over the driving, the car began to move up the race order. On the final lap, he was in fourth place. But Wilson was one of the many beneficiaries of The Racer’s Group fuel error and he grabbed third place in the last corner.
The overall and Grand Sport podium for round eleven of the KONI Challenge series at Miller Motorsports Park. In the center are the winners from Turner Motorsport, Joey Hand and Matthew Alhadeff - plus the team owner, Will Turner. Standing on the right side of the rostrum and scoring their best result of the season are the runner-ups, Hugh Plumb and Craig Staton. Completing the podium are Kris Wilson and Dave Riddle.

1GSJoey Hand / Will Turner / Matthew AlhadeffBMW M344
2GSHugh Plumb / Craig StantonPorsche 99744
3GSKris Wilson / Dave RiddlePorsche 99744
4GSAndy Lally / Ted BallouPorsche 99744
5GSTom Long / David RussellBMW M344
6GSMark Ackley / Todd SnyderFord Mustang GT44
7GSBret Seafuse / James GueFord Mustang GT44
8GSJim Click / Mike McGovernFord Mustang GT44
9GSNick Longhi / Nick HamBMW M344
10GSGunnar Jeannette / Auston HarrisFord Mustang GT44
11GSMike Johnson / Bob HeniffPorsche 99744
12GSFraser Wellon / Barry EllisPorsche 99744
13GSRick Skelton / Patrick DempseyFord Mustang GT44
14STEric Curran / Jamie HoltomChevrolet Cobalt43
15STBrian Lock / Mike Lock / Chris LockSubaru Legacy43
16GSAugie Pabst III / James BurkeFord Mustang GT43
17STJustin Hall / Magnus KarlssonMazda MX-543
18STAl Mitchell / Tony RiveraBMW Z443
19STJose Armengol / David HaskellMazda RX-843
20STTrevor Hopwood / Adam BurrowsBMW 330i43
21STKarl Thomson / Billy JohnsonAcura TSX43
22STAaron Povoledo / Beau BuissonAcura TSX43
23STToby Grahovec / Pierre KleinubingBMW Z443
24STChuck Hemmingson / Kristian SkavnesSubaru Legacy43
25STAl Lamb / Leo MaiaBMW Z443
26STJamie Slone / Andrew CarbonellMazda RX-843
27GSMarcelo Abello / Frank RossiPorsche 99743
28STDavid Rosenblum / Tarzan YamadaSubaru Legacy42
29STChip Van Vurst / Ricky DiazMazda RX-842
30GSJoe Foster / Scott MaxwellFord Mustang GT42
31STTodd Buras / Christian MillerMazda MX-542
32STDaniel Colembie / Ward SluysBMW 330i42
33STRandy Smalley / BJ ZachariasMini Cooper S42
34STRick Johnson II / Mark CongletonMini Cooper S42
35GSSpencer Pumpelly / Darren Law / Jim LowePorsche 99741
36STSteve Kent / Gunter Schmidt / Andrew DanyliwChevrolet Cobalt41
37STWill Nonnamaker / Joe SahlenMazda RX-840
38GSJep Thornton / Jeff SegalBMW M340
39GSKeith Rossberg / Dan McKeeverFord Mustang GT40
40GSDuncan Ende / Grant MaimanPorsche 99740
41GSTim George Jr / Conrad GrunewaldBMW M339
42STGuy Cosmo / VJ MirzayanBMW 330i38
43GSJon Miller / Serge Glazunov JrBMW M338
44STJohn Schmitt / Shane LewisHonda Accord37
45STDerek DeBoer / Tom Smurzynski / Mallory SmurzynskiChevrolet Cobalt33
46GSPhil Mahre / Steve MahreFord Mustang GT33
47STNick Wittmer / Glenn BocchinoAcura TSX32
48GSCharles Espenlaub / Charles PutmanBMW M330
49GSDerek Sabol / Ian JamesBMW M329
50GSMike Halpin / Byron SmithBMW M324
51STMatt Pritiko / David TuatyAcura RSX-s24
52GSJohn Bibbo / Scott SchroederPorsche 99721
53STSam Schultz / Seth ThomasBMW 330i20
54GSDaniel DiLeo / Bryan SellersPorsche 99714
55STJim Briody / Gary St AmourBMW 330i12
56GSAdam Pecorari / Jason KlugeFord Mustang GT9
57STTyler Givogue / Kurt KossmannChevrolet Cobalt7
58STKuno Wittmer / Nick EsyianAcura TSX7
59GSNic Jonsson / Bryan OrtizBMW M34
60GSKen Wilden / Dean Martin / Jack Roush, JrFord Mustang GT4
61GSJohn Mayes / Michael AuriemmaPorsche 9974
62GSBill Auberlen / Chris GleasonBMW M34
63GSSteve Jenkins / Mark BodenBMW M30

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