2009 was the final year of the Grand-Am Road Racing’s contract with KONI. The three-year agreement between Grand-Am and KONI saw the company offer the richest purse in the series history - $100,000 per event. The winning Grand Sport team earned $5,000 with the price fund doubling to $10,000 if the car was equipped with KONI shock absorbers. Street Tuner competitors competed 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 - 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, 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 traveled Watkins Glen International 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, teams 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.

Race nine of eleven for the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Street Tuner competitors was conducted during the 40th annual Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. Twenty-teams would participate in a one-and-a-half-hour event around the ten-turn 1.521-mile temporary street circuit.

The contest ran caution-free which is remarkable considering the competitiveness of the series and the tight confines of the track.

The start of round nine for the KONI Challenge Street Tuner competitors at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. Leading the field into corner one is the pole-sitter, Owen Trinkler in the RSR Motorsports Mini Cooper S. Challenging Trinkler is the No. 171 APR Tuning Volkswagen GTI driven by the second-fastest qualifier, Josh Hurley. Behind Hurley are the second APR Tuning entry and the point leading Compass360 Racing Honda.
The father and son team of Alfredo and Andrew Carbonell won the KONI Challenge Street Tuner race at Trois-Rivieres. The first father / son combination to complete this feat was Jim and Jamie Holtom in 2005 at Mosport. The senior Carbonell qualified the No. 146 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 and was the nineteenth fastest in a field of twenty cars. After an early driver change, Andrew charged through the field for the victory.
Starting on the outside of the front row was the No. 171 APR Tuning Volkswagen GTI qualified by Josh Hurley. Hurley and his teammate, Ian Baas, were fresh of a win at Barber Motorsport Park and hoping to add to APR Tuning’s streak of three consecutive victories. Hurley chased the pole-sitter, Owen Trinkler, before handing the car over to Baas. Baas was unable to catch the leader and finished second by 4.821-seconds.
Freedom Autosport entered three Mazda MX-5 at Trois-Rivieres. In addition to the winners, Alfredo and Andrew Carbonell, there was the No. 147 co-driven by Sarah Cattaneo and Mark White and sharing the No. 145 Mazda was Tom Long and Derek Whitis. The Long / Whitis MX-5 was gridded eighth for the start of the contest. At the checkered flag, they captured the final position on the podium.
Qualifying and starting on the Street Tuner pole at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres was Owen Trinkler. Trinkler was sharing the No. 196 RSR prepared Mini Cooper S with Jade Buford. Despite challenges from the APR Tuning Volkswagen GTIs, he was able to hold the top spot until lap-39, when he pitted for the driver change. A long stop dropped the team out of contention and at the checkered flag, they were in the eleventh place.
The 2009 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Street Tuner podium at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. On the top step are the winners, Alfredo and Andrew Carbonell. The victory was the first for the two drivers and their team, Freedom Autosport. On the left side of the rostrum are the runner-ups, Josh Hurley and Ian Baas. The final position on the podium is occupied by Freedom Autosport’s, Tom Long and Derek Whitis.

1STCarbonell / CarbonellFreedom Autosport / Mazda MX-571
2STBaas / HurleyAPR Motorsport / Volkswagen GTI71
3STLong / WhitisFreedom Autosport / Mazda MX-571
4STCamirand / ThomsonCompass360 Racing / Honda Civic Si71
5STBeede / FentonBill Fenton Motorsports / Honda Civic Si71
6STMiller / TheetgeCompass360 Racing / Honda Civic Si71
7STvon Moltke / SweeneyAPR Motorsport / Volkswagen GTI71
8STBurrows / HopwoodRSR Motorsports / Mini Cooper S70
9STDavis / PutmanKinetic Motorsports / BMW 330i70
10STSpaude / ThileniusBill Fenton Motorsports / Honda Civic Si70
11STBuford / TrinklerRSR Motorsports / Mini Cooper S69
12STSchmidt / DanyliwGS Motorsports / Chevrolet Cobalt SS69
13STAquilante / SkavnesSubaru Road Racing Team / Subaru Legacy69
14STMascel / StrausV-Pack Motorsport / BMW 330i69
15STMaynard / Bogart3D Racing / BMW 330i68
16STCattaneo / WhiteFreedom Autosport / Mazda MX-563
17STKwok / KwokCompass360 Racing / Honda Civic Si44
18STHamelin / Hebert89 Racing Team / Honda Civic Si26
19STSmalley / TrinklerRSR Motorsports / Mini Cooper S1
20STDalla Lana / TurnerTurner Motorsport / BMW 328i1

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