The Automotive Amanojaku

This is where you'll find news, random car-related thoughts and personal views from a rabid car nut. "Amanojaku" is Japanese slang that means "person who is deliberately contradictory". I've always found myself drawn to the less appreciated car makes - the "underdogs" if you will. Suzuki, Pontiac, GM Daewoo and Holden, are among my favorite brands to watch and comment on. Let me hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cobalt SS Teams Start the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Season Friday 1/26 @ Daytona

Note: The "Grand Am Cup", a series that was often confused for the similarly named Grand American Rolex Series (its big brother, so to speak), is as of the 2007 racing season with its own major sponsor, and now called the "Grand Am KONI Challenge".

Racing Weekend Ahead: KONI Challenge
by Steve Smith, Kristyn Sobier
Florida Racing News
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

DAYTONA, Fla. -- Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series teams will start their 12-race series at Daytona International Raceway on Friday. The Cobalt SS Supercharged teams are headed by last year’s front-running Georgian Bay Motorsports team, which logged four wins and finished third in season ending ST points. Also campaigning Cobalt SS racers are Team Cobalt California’s two cars and GS Motorsport with their single car entry.



Rich Rewards: Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Offers Record $100,000 Race Purses for 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. – The 2007 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series will offer the richest purses in series history with today’s announcement at the 2006 Grand-Am Cup Series Awards Celebration that each of the 12 races will pay out $100,000 per event, including up to $10,000 for a victory in the Grand Sport (GS) class.

The GS winning team will earn a minimum of $5,000 for a race victory, but could double its winnings to $10,000 if the team uses KONI shocks. Second place in GS will pay $3,750 for teams not using KONI shocks or $7,500 for teams using KONI, with $2,500 going to the third-place finisher in GS without KONI or $5,000 for teams using KONI.

The Street Tuner (ST) class has a similar structure, with $3,750 going to the class winner if the team does not use KONI and $7,500 for a winning team with KONI, followed by $2,500 or $5,000 for the second-place finisher and $1,750 or $3,500 for third in ST. Both classes will pay out to the top-20 positions, with double the purse for any top-20 finisher using KONI shocks.

“Clearly, our competitors are already seeing the benefits of KONI’s new sponsorship of the KONI Challenge Series,” said Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson. “Teams will have until the 2009 season to convert their race cars to KONI shocks, but the opportunity to double their earnings by using KONI should be tantalizing to a considerable number of our competitors. Certainly, KONI’s involvement in the series has been significant in allowing us to offer the largest purses we’ve ever had.”

Prior to the 2007 season, the Grand-Am Cup Series purses were based on a percentage of fees from entries that started each race. As a result, this number fluctuated throughout the season depending on the number of cars that took the green flag in each individual race. At no time in series history, however, did the race purse total anywhere near $100,000, which is guaranteed for 2007.

A primer from IGN Cars:

The GS Class (as well as the ST class) is a production car-based racing series. According to the GrandAm literature, this class was created to show the reliability and durability of production cars in a racing environment. The cars competing in this class are more or less stock. While major modifications are allowed when it comes to safety, the engine and the rest of the car remains as it did when it was still on the showroom floor. In other words, this is real stock car racing.

So all these body panels you see are factory sheetmetal. No carbon fiber or non-OEM fiberglass or aero pieces are used here. While safety rules dictate that the driver and passenger door glass must be removed, all other greenhouse pieces are OEM glass. No Lexan allowed!

Modifications can be done to the suspension, provided the parts bolt up to the standard mounting points. Brakes can be replaced, but the discs can't be more than 5% bigger than the stock units, and no special ducting is allowed. The engines can be blueprinted and balanced, and some stand-alone engine management systems can be used, but crazy overbores and headwork isn't permitted. Still, this "minor" tuning can still get 350-400 reliable horsepower out of these engines.

Even the gas tanks must be stock, unless safety rules dictate that another unit must be used. All the fuel lines can be upgraded, of course, but this means that the cars have wildly different fuel capacities. The Porsche 966s used have 16.5 gallon tanks while cars such as the Ford Mustang are permitted to have 20 gallon tanks. Teams must really plan ahead when it comes to fuel consumption here!

Due to sponsorship reasons or something, all GS Cup cars must run approved Hoosier tires. However, as Hoosiers are known for their stickiness (and grip), we're sure that this is one mod that everyone is happy with.

For the GS Cup, all cars are required to have at least two drivers. Of course, this means that at least one driver change has to occur during the race.

Of course, the cars used in the ST class have smaller-displacement 4 and 6-cylinder engines. Forced induction cars are allowed to keep their blowers, but they cannot be modified to make more power (no cranking up the boost...). Cars in this class make between 170 and 240 horsepower and have a top speed of about 135 miles per hour.

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