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KONI Challenge Series

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Title: KONI Challenge Series  
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KONI Challenge Series

Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
File:The logo of the Grand Am Continental Challenge.jpg
Category Grand touring
Touring car
Country  United States
 Canada
Inaugural season 2004
Last Drivers' champion Canada David Empringham Canada John Farano
Brazil Pierre Kleinubing
Last Teams' champion Rum Bum Racing
i-Moto Racing
Last Makes' champion Germany Porsche
Germany BMW
Official website grand-am.com
Current season


The IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is a grand touring and touring car racing series run by the International Motor Sports Association. Originating from the Canadian Motorola Cup, the series was taken over by Grand-Am in 2001 to become the Grand-Am Cup following the demise of rival IMSA's Firehawk series of similar rules in the US. KONI became series sponsor for the start of the 2007 season when the series became known as the KONI Challenge Series, before renaming once more prior to the start of the 2009 season as the KONI Sports Car Challenge. The series name was once again changed for the 2010 season.

The Continental Challenge was the support series for Grand-Am's premier offering, the Rolex Sports Car Series. In 2014 the series will become the support series for the United SportsCar Championship series upon the merger of the Rolex Series and the American Le Mans Series. The series will become the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. No other changes will be made.

Races

In traditional sports car racing format, the races are often run with both GS and ST classes on track simultaneously, which is known as a "combined" race. Occasionally the races will be run in "split classes", with separate races for both classes. This is especially common for shorter venues such as Lime Rock Park. Currently the races are 2 hours 30 minutes in length with a required driver change.

Telecasts

  • All telecasts are exclusive to Fox Sports 1, formerly Speed Channel. All telecasts are uploaded to the series website after their initial airing.

Vehicles

The series uses two classes in each race:

  • The Grand Sport (GS) class features large-displacement 6-cylinder or 8-cylinder sports cars as well as small displacement 4-cylinder forced induction sports cars.
  • The Street Tuner (ST) class is for smaller 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder compact sedans, coupes, or roadsters.

All vehicles have fewer modifications than most series, using a "showroom stock" format.[1]

The format is reminiscent of the original Trans-Am Series, combining conventional sports cars and touring cars, though the Trans-Am Series usually had a single driver per car, unlike the Continental Challenge, which has two drivers per car. Some vehicles in the Continental Challenge have actually been painted to resemble the original Trans Am cars, such as the Boss 302 Mustangs of George Follmer and Parnelli Jones or the original Sunoco Camaro. Several vehicles in ST have also competed in the SCCA's Pirelli World Challenge touring car class.

Champions

Season GS Champion Car ST Champion Car
2004 United States Craig Stanton
United States Terry Borcheller
Cadillac CTS-V United States David Haskell
Canada Sylvain Tremblay
Mazda RX-8
2005 Canada David Empringham
Canada Scott Maxwell
Ford Mustang United States David Haskell
Canada Sylvain Tremblay
Mazda RX-8
2006 Sweden Anders Hainer
United States Spencer Pumpelly
BMW M3 United States Don Salama
United States Will Turner
BMW 330i
2007 United States Jeff Segal
United States Jep Thornton
BMW M3 United States Trevor Hopwood
Canada Adam Burrows
BMW 330i
2008 United States Joe Foster
Canada Scott Maxwell
Ford Mustang Canada Jamie Holtom Chevrolet Cobalt SS
2009 Canada Kenny Wilden Ford Mustang United States Christian Miller Honda Civic Si
2010 United States Charles Espenlaub
United States Charles Putman
BMW M3 United States David Thilenius1
United States Lawson Aschenbach1
Honda Civic Si
2011 Canada Paul Dalla Lana BMW M3 Sweden Nic Jönsson Kia Forte Koup
2012 Canada John Farano2
Canada David Empringham2
Porsche 911 Brazil Pierre Kleinubing Mazdaspeed3
2013 United States Nick Longhi
United StatesMatt Plumb
Porsche 997 United States Terry Borcheller
United States Mike LaMarra
BMW 128i

1The Bimmerworld 328i of Bill Heumann and Seth Thomas and the Compass360 Civic of Thilenius and Aschenbach finished the 2010 season tied in ST points. As both teams had the same amount of wins and second place finishes, Thilenius and Aschenbach won the title by virtue of having more third place finishes.
2Matt Plumb was victorious in the final race and was the presumed champion, but upon official review he was determined to have been illegally entered in multiple cars, and thus received no points, handing the championship to Farano and Empringham.

References

External links

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