New Camaro, Challenger & Mustang Race This Sunday @ Noon in Grand Am KONI Challenge

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    KONI Goes Pony: Mustang, Camaro, Challenger Square Off at VIR

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    October 2, 2009

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 2, 2009) - This weekend revives an era where Pony cars - Ford Mustangs, Dodge Challengers and Chevrolet Camaros, among others - competed against each other for the victory. The four-hour Bosch Engineering Octoberfest, the season-ending race for the KONI Challenge, is scheduled for noon ET Sunday at Virginia International Raceway near Danville, Va.

    Mustangs, Challengers and Camaros all compete in the series' Grand Sport (GS) class, which includes cars tuned to 350-405 horsepower and top out at 160 mph. All cars that compete in the class come straight from the dealers' showrooms and are modified minimally in performance and more specifically in safety.

    The Pony car, described as affordable and compact crossed with style and high performance, was introduced in 1964, with the Ford Mustang. Not long after, other car manufacturers joined in production of these cars. Chevrolet introduced the Camaro in 1967, with the Challenger introduced by Dodge in 1970.

    Manufacturers fought for consumers to purchase their cars in the showrooms, and on the race track for championships. Sports car stalwart Roger Penske, who had just turned into an owner after a successful driving career, landed the efforts of Mark Donohue and Ronnie Bucknum, two drivers from opposite ends of the country who raced similarly - out front and for victories. They drove the No. 6 Sunoco Chevrolet Camaro to a road racing championship in 1969. In fact, Donohue won three road racing titles, two in a Camaro, before winning the 1972 Indianapolis 500 with Penske, his first of a record 15 as an owner.

    The Mustangs ran out front with the likes of two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bud Moore, who later owned sports cars, and Carroll Shelby, as owners, and driver Parnelli Jones, the 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner. Driving a Challenger was Sam Posey, who had stints in IndyCars, Formula 1 and Can-Am as well as the Trans-Am Series. Posey drove for Ray Caldwell's factory-backed Autodynamics.

    In essence, it is not a new era for pony cars in KONI Challenge competition. Mustangs have competed in the series since it came under the Grand-Am umbrella in 2001 (Mustangs also won races in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series), and have compiled 28 wins in the KONI Challenge, including a season-high four victories this year.

    The Challenger, reintroduced to the public in 2008, debuted this season in the Fresh From Florida 200 at Daytona International Speedway, finishing 26th. Since then the team developed and tested the car at several facilities, and should be ready to compete at the front Sunday. Between 2001 and 2003, two Camaros combined for 12 starts in the KONI Challenge. The 2010 version, entered by Stevenson Motorsports and built by Riley Technologies, was shaken down earlier this week for the first time. The Camaro returned this year after going out of production in 2002.

    This weekend, history will repeat itself with the No. 6 Sunoco Chevrolet Camaro, with David Donohue and Jeff Bucknum co-driving the car. The addition of this car brings the majority of the Pony cars back in racing action for the first time since the Trans-Am's Golden Era.

    "I'm excited to be part of the whole retro, muscle car thing from the 1960s and ‘70s, bringing it back to this day and age where people can still go out and buy a Camaro, Challenger, Mustang," Bucknum said. "Realistically, I don't have any experience in the KONI Sports Car Challenge, but I'm excited to come out here and debut the Sunoco Camaro with David Donohue. It's going to be fun for us, but I'm not sure exactly how we are going to fare. We're going to go out there and do our best, and learn some stuff about the car."

    Nastasi, a former VIR winner in the GS class, brings the Challenger to VIR with co-drivers Ian James and Erich Heuschele. He said this weekend will be historic.

    "I think it's history being made," Nastasi said. "The last time the Challenger raced in Trans-Am was 1972, so it's pretty historic. This is American road racing, just like it was done in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Hopefully we can and will revive it."

    Dean Martin, currently third in the GS points standings, has been a Ford Mustang driver and team principal for several seasons. He showed excitement knowing the three cars were once again competing against each other.

    "It's awesome," Martin said. "It just goes back to the days of Trans-Am, where the three cars raced against each other. We were involved in a photo shoot this morning, and I think that's the start of a historic weekend. I'm looking forward to getting out there with them and see what they do."

    This Sunday, the Ford Mustang will attempt to win its second consecutive KONI Challenge GS manufacturer championship against German marque BMW and its M3 model, as well as battle the Porsche 997. The top two teams - Rehagen Racing and JBS Motorsports - field Mustangs, and driver Ken Wilden will try to hold off James Gue and Bret Seafuse in another close GS driving championship.

    Official practice for the Bosch Engineering Octoberfest is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. ET Saturday, with qualifying at 3 p.m. The race is scheduled for noon Sunday.

    HIGH RES PHOTOS

    http://grand-am.com/assets/MKS_2192.jpg

    http://grand-am.com/assets/MKS_2151.jpg

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  2. SilverTurtle

    SilverTurtle New Member

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    pure awesome
     
  3. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    Loved watching Koni just to see the Mustangs dominate the Porsches and BMWs...this will be even more interesting.

    I hope SPEEDHD covers this :x:
     
  4. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    lol this probably wont be on SPEED for forever

    I didn't know th challenger was coming back as well
     
  5. matrix243

    matrix243 My body, is ready.

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    in for this.
     
  6. Mitchj

    Mitchj OT Supporter

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    you would expect the mustangs to win if they are outputting 350hp
     
  7. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    The Koni Challenge cars come direct from Ford Racing with a 5.0L DOHC V8, putting out 400/400.

    They have been running this engine since the FR500C race chassis debuted in late 2004.
     
  8. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    Speaking of Koni Challenge, apparently the Subaru STi will be participating in the Mustang/Camaro/BMW/Porsche Grand-Sport (GS) Class next year, as well :bowdown:
     
  9. T0nyGTSt

    T0nyGTSt New Member

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    i imagine brakes will be an issue for the camaro/challenger
     
  10. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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  11. Ev0lv3

    Ev0lv3 New Member

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    WHo won?
     
  12. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    I dunno who won the race but Rehagen Racing #59 Mustang driver Kenny Wilden placed 6th, high enough to take the Driver's Championship this year, and Ford got the Manufacturer Championship win, again.

    Hopefully SPEED will have it on HD within a week or so.
     
  13. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I looked on YouTube today for anything from yesterday with no luck.
     
  14. Smelly-Kitten

    Smelly-Kitten Dept. of Redundancy Department *Side Pipes

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    FR500 doesn't use the 420/420 5.0 DOHC Cammer crate?
     
  15. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    No, they are limited to 405hp in the series, so they use the (hideously) more expensive Cammer R50 crate (like $23K)
     
  16. insomnia

    insomnia New Member

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    race result cliffs:

    camaro had the highest average speed of the field by .5 mph :eek3:
     
  17. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    Yet they finished 43rd. :o

    I'm sure the car will be competitve once they get it properly sorted out.

    Those BlackForest racing guys that are running the Challenger used to run a Mustang...bet they are regretting that decision now.
     
  18. insomnia

    insomnia New Member

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    wert, looking at lap times it looks like they went offroading a few times
     
  19. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    More regarding the Camaro and Challenger from a TMS member who was at the race:

     
  20. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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  21. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Uh, neat.

    How is this race determined? Lap times or position when the race time runs out?
     
  22. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    Position when time runs out.

    Then the cars are also sub-categorized by class: Grand Sport (GS) for the larger coupes and sedans (Mustang, Porsche, BMW3-series), and Street Tuner (ST) for the smaller cars (Honda Civic, Miata, Subaru Legacy).

    PS Further reading says the Camaro's clutch blew up
     
  23. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Not a horrible showing for a brand new race car I suppose. Hopefully more Camaros enter the series.
     
  24. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    Yeah, they'll figure it out, by the end of next season they should be pretty competitive.

    Subaru will be fielding STis in the GS class next year too! Gonna be an interesting playing field :cool:
     

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