The Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series professional sports car road racing series is back for a seventh exciting season. The newly named Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series (called Grand-Am Cup in prior years) showcases the latest in international and American-made high performance sports cars straight from the dealer showroom floor. It is made up of 2 classes of race cars - fuller description shown later on this page:
  • ST Street Tuner Class is open to the import and compact car crowd – Chevy Cobalt SS, Mazda RX-8, Mini Cooper S, Lexus IS300, Acura RSX and TSX, BMWs, etc.
  • GS Grand Sports Class is open to the more powerful Pontiac GTO, Cadillac CTS-V, Ford Mustang Cobra and GT, Porsche 966, Nissan 350Z, BMW M3, etc.

The Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series races are primarily run as the featured support events for the ROLEX Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. The Series has been expanded to 12 races this season, and the races have been extended from a 2.5 hour limitation to a 400 km limit, with the exceptions of the season opener in Daytona International Speedway at 3 hours, and the season closer at Virginia International Raceway which is a 6 hour endurance race. Most of the events this year will feature split-class races (ST Class racing separately from GS Class), offering competitors more race pavement and less cluttered pit lanes.

The goals of the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series are –

  • to provide highly competitive, affordable and entertaining events for licensed participants and North American spectators
  • to provide good rules and fair enforcement
  • to provide an equally matched field of cars of various makes and designs
  • to provide improved entertainment value.

All Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series classes run on Hoosier tires, and at least 2 drivers must drive in each competing race car under green flag conditions, making at least one driver change mandatory.

ST Street Tuner Car Specifications

The ST Class features a variety of sports cars and high performance compacts that are as popular with KONI Challenge competitors as they are with today’s consumers. Limited to 4 and 6 cylinder engines, turbochargers and superchargers are permitted. Models entered include Chevy Cobalt SS, Mazda RX-8, Mini Cooper S, Lexus IS 300, Acura RSX and TSX, BMW 330i, etc. Engines produce between 170 and 240 horsepower. Top speed for ST cars is approximately 135 mph. Minimum weights range from 2200 lbs. to 3125 lbs. Fuel tank capacities range from 16.9 gallons to 17.9 gallons. Most competitors have 17 gallon fuel tanks. Both KONI Challenge classes strictly enforce minimal performance modifications with full safety systems. The race cars remain true to street equivalents.

GS Grand Sports Race Car Specifications

The more powerful of the 2 classes, GS Class cars are popular factory sports and muscle cars from around the world with minimal performance modifications from street versions. Again, minor performance modifications are strictly enforced. Models entered in this class include Pontiac GTO, Cadillac CTS-V, Ford Mustang, Porsche 997, Nissan 350Z, BMW M3, etc. Engines produce between 350 and 405 horsepower. Top speed for GS cars is approximately 160 mph. Weights range from 2900 lbs to 3300 lbs. Fuel tanks range from 19 to 20 gallons.

Official Flag Colors – What do they mean?

Green – Starts the race and restarts the race if interrupted by another Flag. Shown at first Flag Station past an incident to indicate to drivers to resume racing.

Yellow – Incident ahead on track. Slow down and no passing till Green Flag shown.

Double Yellow waved at Starter Station – FCY Full Course Yellow. Slow down and no passing.  Form line behind pace car.

Yellow with Red Stripes – Contamination on racing surface. May be oil, gravel, dirt, grass, car parts.

Blue – A faster competitor is behind and attempting to pass. No blocking permitted.

White – Slow traffic ahead. Usually a disabled car or emergency vehicle.

Red – Stop racing, return to Pit Lane, wait till race resumed. Do not work on car.

Black – Shown during a race accompanied by a car number to indicate that car is penalized. Car must enter Pit Lane to serve penalty. Usually due to speeding in Pit Lane or unsportsmanlike driving.

Black with Orange Disk (meatball) – Shown with a car number to indicate there is a mechanical problem with the car, typically a fluid leak or loose car part. Return to Pit Lane for Team to correct.

Typical Grand-Am KONI Challenge Team Day-by-Day Schedule

Day 1 – Brian arrives with the transport hauler loaded with everything needed for the race

Day 2 – All Team Members arrive at race track and set up cars and equipment in the assigned Team Paddock

Day 3 – 1 (or 2) 45 minute on-track Practice Sessions

  • 15 minute Qualifying Session to determine starting order of race

Day 4 – 45 minute on-track Practice Session

  • 400 km Race
Competitions within the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series

Competition is fierce for KONI Challenge points that accumulate throughout the season for successes as Manufacturer, Race Team, and Driver. See to follow these exciting results race by race.

A number of race car part suppliers award both ST and GS Class winners with cash prizes.  For example, KONI Shock Absorbers award the top 3 in each Class: 1st - $600, 2nd - $300, 3rd - $150.

Grand-Am KONI Challenge Media Coverage

Return often to Racing Program web pages for the pre-race scoop plus race reports. Follow the achievements of the #01 SCADAPack Chevy Cobalt SS.

Live Timing & Scoring is available for all KONI Challenge Practice and Qualifying Sessions and Races on the official Grand-Am website See SPEED channel TV coverage info!

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