IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
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.
In 1985, IMSA would undergo a major rules reformat while still retaining its sponsor, therefore it was still known as its sponsor's moniker. This time, the series was more restricted to current models that is being available in dealerships throughout the US, other than that, the series had rules and race format that were similar to the RS series, being an endurance series.
At the end of the 1987 season, Champion stepped down as sponsor and was replaced by Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, therefore, the series was renamed IMSA Firestone Firehawk Endurance Championship or commonly known as Firehawk Series, after the brand of Firehawk performance tires.
The Continental Challenge was the support series for Grand-Am's premier offering, the Rolex Sports Car Series. In 2014, the series became the support series for the United SportsCar Championship upon the merger of the Rolex Series and the American Le Mans Series. The series was renamed the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
The 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season is the third season of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship organized by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), and the 46th season of IMSA-sanctioned GT Championship sportscar championships tracing its lineage to the 1971 IMSA Camel GT season. It will begin on January 30 with the 24 Hours of Daytona.
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.
The series uses two classes in each race:
All vehicles have fewer modifications than most series, using a "showroom stock" format.
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.
Sunoco is perhaps best known to consumers for its "custom blending" pumps, an innovation that, beginning in 1956, allowed customers of Sunoco service stations to choose from several octane grades through a single pump. Sunoco stations offered as many as eight grades of "Custom Blended" gasolines from its "Dial A Grade" pumps ranging from subregular Sunoco 190 to Sunoco 260, the latter a super-premium grade of 102 octane that was advertised as the "highest octane pump gas" and very popular with V8-powered Muscle Cars of the 1960s.