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.

After a one-year absence, the KONI Challenge series returned to Mosport International Raceway. Teams competed in the Mosport 200 (200-miles / 95-laps subject to a time limit) around the 2.459-mile ten-turn road course.

In an exciting race, there were thirteen lead changes among six drivers with the winning pass occurring on the final lap.

Leading the field of twenty starters into corner one at Mosport International Raceway for round six of the 2007 KONI Challenge series is the pole-sitter, Eric Curran. Chasing the Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS is the BMW 330i of the second-fastest qualifier, Adam Burrows. Behind Burrows is Jose Armengol driving the SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 and Fountain Motorsports’ driver, Guy Cosmo.
The home team, Kensai Racing, scored their third Street Tuner victory of the season. Karl Thomson qualified the No. 76 Acura TSX eighth quickest. His partner, Billy Johnson, drove the final stint and was in third with five laps remaining in the race. The second-place BMW of Pierre Kleinubing ran out of fuel and Johnson chased down the leader, Trevor Hopwood. He passed Hopwood on the last lap for the victory.
The Street Tuner points leaders entering round six were Trevor Hopwood and Adams Burrows. Burrows qualified the No. 95 BMW 330i on the outside of the front. The pair took turns leading the field. Hopwood grabbed first place for the final time when Pierre Kleinubing ran out of gas. However, he lost the top spot to the Acura of Billy Johnson on the final lap. The BMW drivers now lead Karl Thomson and Johnson by one-point.
Honda of America Racing Team driver’s Shane Lewis and John Schmitt were scheduled to drive the No. 22 Honda Accord, which Lewis qualified third. Unfortunately, transmission problems meant they had to withdraw the Accord and enter their backup car – the No. 92 Honda Accord. As a result, the team was required to start at the back of the grid. An excellent race strategy allowed them to capture the final spot on the podium.
Georgian Bay Motorsport’s Jamie Holtom and Eric Curran racked up four Street Tuner victories last year. This season their record was dismal. But the team had reason to be optimistic when Curran put the No. 01 Chevrolet Cobalt SS on the pole. He would lead twenty-five-laps - the most of any driver. Holtom drove the final stint and dropped back to seventh before moving up the race order for a fourth-place finish.
An accident in corner three during practice damaged the front of the No. 75 Acura TSX. The Kensai crew was able to make repairs. Touring car veteran, Taz Harvey was twelfth fastest during the qualifying session. Harvey and his co-driver, Beau Buisson, maneuvered their way through the field and were in fifth place at the checkered flag. The car’s best previous finish was a seventeenth place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The Street Tuner rostrum for round six of the 2007 KONI Challenge series at Mosport International Raceway. Standing in the center is Canadian Karl Thomson and Bill Johnson, whose aggressive last-lap pass gave the two drivers the victory. The runner-ups, Adam Burrow and Trevor Hopwood, are standing on the left side of the podium. The final spot on the rostrum is occupied by John Schmitt and Shane Lewis.

18Karl Thomson / Billy JohnsonAcura TSX89
22Trevor Hopwood / Adam BurrowsBMW 330i89
33Shane Lewis / John SchmittHonda Accord89
41Jamie Holtom / Eric CurranChevrolet Cobalt89
512Taz Harvey / Beau BuissonAcura TSX89
65Guy Cosmo / David TuatyBMW 330i89
710Roger Foo / Glenn BocchinoAcura TSX89
84Jose Armengol / Dan AllenMazda RX-889
911Nick Wittmer / Christian MillerAcura TSX89
1020Justin Hall / Magnus KarlssonMazda MX-589
1118Matt Pritiko / Dave CiekiewiczAcura RSX-S88
129Tyler Givogue / Kurt KossmannChevrolet Cobalt88
1319Randy Smalley / Alain LauziereMini Cooper S88
1414Todd Buras / Carlos GarciaMazda MX-588
1515David Thilenius / Thomas LepperChevrolet Cobalt87
1617Toby Grahovec / Pierre KleinubingBMW Z485
176Steve Kent / Gunter Schmidt / Andrew DanyliwChevrolet Cobalt85
1812Sam Schultz / Seth ThomasBMW 330i82
1913Jocelyn Hebert / Regean VincentHonda Civic Si41
2016David Shep / Ken MacAlpineChevrolet Cobalt7

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