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 championship’s 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 – 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:
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 year’s schedule started in January at Daytona International Speedway. The next event on the calendar wasn’t 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 Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park, with the finale being conducted at Virginia International Raceway.
Round seven of the 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series was conducted at the Grand Prix du Trois-Rivieres. Thirty-four Street Tuner teams would compete on the very tight ten-turn 1.521-mile street course.
|Thirty-four Street Tuner drivers head for Trois-Rivieres’ corner one for the beginning of the KONI Challenge Series’ race. Leading the charge is the pole-sitter, Jamie Holtom, in the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS. Beside Holtom is the Compass360 Racing Acura TSX of the second-fastest qualifier, Trevor Hopwood. Trailing in the second row are Quebec resident, Nick Wittmer and Bob Beede.|
|To change things up, the Compass360 Racing switched starting drivers in the No. 76 Acura TSX. This meant that Trevor Hopwood qualified the car and Adam Burrows would drive the final stint. Hopwood qualified on the outside of the front row. After the team’s last pit-stop, Burrow’s grabbed first place and led the final thirty-four-laps. This was the duo’s second victory of the season, their first was at Watkins Glen International.|
|Pierre Kleinubing and Toby Grahovec scored their best result of the season at Trois-Rivieres. Grahovec performed the qualifying duties and was seventh fastest during the session in the No. 86 Classic BMW – Plano BMW Z4. He was in fourth place when he handed the car over to Kleinubing. Kleinubing moved into the second position and pressured the leader, Adam Burrows. At the finish, he was 2.755-seconds behind the winner.|
|This weekend, Jamie Holtom, wasn’t driving with his usual partner, Eric Curran. At the Grand Prix du Trois-Rivieres, Holtom was paired with Andy Lally. In qualifying, the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS was driven by Lally, who captured the pole. In the race, he pitted while in the lead. Holtom chased down the leaders and would finish in third place. The result allowed him to take first in the title chase.|
|In 2008, Quebec brothers, Kuno and Nick Wittmer drove for the i-MOTO Racing team. The i-MOTO effort consisted of two Acura TSX, also piloted by Peter Cunningham and team owner, Glenn Bocchino. For the second time this season, the brothers would share the No. 32 TSX, they also raced together at Mosport. For the start of the seventy-four-lap contest, Nick was gridded third and at the checkered flag, Kuno was in fifth place.|
|The Street Tuner podium at the Grand Prix du Trois-Rivieres for round seven of the KONI Challenge Series. Standing of the top step for the second time this year are Trevor Hopwood and Adam Burrows from Compass360 Racing. On the right side of the rostrum, delivering their best performance of the season, are the runner-ups, Pierre Kleinubing and Toby Grahovec. The final spot belongs to Andy Lally and Jamie Holtom.|
|1||ST||Burrows / Hopwood||Acura TSX||Compass360 Racing||75|
|2||ST||Grahovec / Kleinubing||BMW Z4||Classic BMW||75|
|3||ST||Holtom / Lally||Chevrolet Cobalt||Georgian Bay Motorsports||75|
|4||ST||Rivera / Ott||Mazda RX-8||Brass Mitchell Racing||75|
|5||ST||Wittmer / Wittmer||Acura TSX||i-MOTO Racing||75|
|6||ST||Miller / Theetge||Honda Civic Si||Compass360 Racing||75|
|7||ST||Pobst / White||Volkswagen GTI||APR Motorsport||75|
|8||ST||Hemmingson / Skavnes||Subaru Legacy||ICY/Phoenix Racing||75|
|9||ST||Beede / Endicott||Honda Civic Si||Bill Fenton Motorsports||75|
|10||ST||Rivera / Robinson||Mazda RX-8||Brass Mitchell Racing||75|
|11||ST||Pritiko / Boyer||Chevrolet Cobalt||Predator Auto Sport||74|
|12||ST||Schmitt / Lewis||Honda Civic Si||HART||74|
|13||ST||Arnold / Schultz||BMW 330i||V-Pack Motorsport||74|
|14||ST||Bocchino / Cunningham||Acura TSX||i-MOTO Racing||74|
|15||ST||Cosmo / Roy||BMW 330i||Fountain Motorsports||74|
|16||ST||Rosenblum / Knowles||Subaru Legacy||ICY/Phoenix Racing||74|
|17||ST||Long / O'Doski||Mazda MX-5||Freedom Autosports||74|
|18||ST||Hebert / Hamelin||Honda Civic Si||89 Racing Team||74|
|19||ST||McCalmont / Spencer||Chevrolet Cobalt||Georgian Bay Motorsports||74|
|20||ST||Putman / Espenlaub||Mazda MX-5||Freedom Autosports||73|
|21||ST||Bell / Mirzayan||BMW 330i||Turner Motorsport||73|
|22||ST||Saini / Barnes||Mazda RX-8||Team MER||73|
|23||ST||Whitis / Daniels||Mazda MX-5||Freedom Autosports||73|
|24||ST||Davis / Smith||BMW 330i||Kinetic Motorsports||72|
|25||ST||Schmidt / Danyliw||Chevrolet Cobalt||GS Motorsports||72|
|26||ST||Lamb / Maia||BMW Z4||Classic BMW||72|
|27||ST||Camirand / Cosmo||BMW 330i||Fountain Motorsports||68|
|28||ST||Thomson / York||Acura RSX-S||Compass360 Racing||58|
|29||ST||Smalley / Trinkler / Zacharias||Mini Cooper S||RSR Motorsports||53|
|30||ST||Wilden / Willard||Acura TSX||Compass360 Racing||48|
|31||ST||Smalley / Hansen / Johnson||Mini Cooper S||RSR Motorsports||45|
|32||ST||Baas / von Moltke||Volkswagen GTI||APR Motorsport||14|
|33||ST||Congleton / Trinkler / Zacharias||Mini Cooper S||RSR Motorsports||7|
|34||ST||Fenton / Thilenius||Honda Civic Si||Bill Fenton Motorsports||0|
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