In the early fifties, KONI decided to play a more prominent role in motor sports in order to enlarge the company’s reputation. So in 1955, KONI participated for the first time in the Tulpenrally, a Dutch organized rally with international status. Rally was just the beginning and KONI soon after began its racing career, entering Formula 1.
In 1956, while at the famous Nordschleife in Germany, KONI assisted the Ferrari team in solving their suspension problems. Until that time, F1 still used the lever arm type shock absorbers. The KONI shock absorbers offered better damping characteristics and the possibility to mount the spring around the damper, which made it more compact. The first official Grand Prix that KONI participated in was in 1958 with Ferrari. The Belgian driver Gendebien made his appearance on the Monza track with KONI and took a creditable sixth place.
During the next few years, the number of teams using KONI race dampers expanded along with the product range, and in 1971, KONI achieved its first World Championship win, as Tyrrell Ford won the driver’s and constructor’s championship with Jackie Stewart.
Following this win the next years and through to the late 1980s most Formula One cars were equipped with Koni dampers. it was only when active suspension was introduced that the teams started developing their own suspension systems that KONI involvement reduced. Over time and as the damper ranges continued to grow so did the number of disciplines that KONI damper were used in and over the years there has been much success in Touring Cars, Indycars and sportscars.
In more recent times and after the FIA abolished active suspension Koni become once more heaviliy involved, working with succesful teams such as Benneton, Williams, BAR Honda, Red Bull, McLaren even more recently Force India.
Nowadays, KONI is still represented in the Formula series. Formula Racing can be divided in a lot of national and international categories. Often the cars are driven by a major field of young drivers, which guarantees spectacular races and a lot of action. KONI is involved and competes in several major Formula classes all over the world, including the GP2 series, GP3 series, Formula E, Formula 3 and Formula 1 classes, where KONI has won many races.
GP3 and GP2
KONI is official supplier of the GP3 series. The goal of the new GP3 Series is to give young ambitious drivers a chance to develop their driving skills and to jump to the next step: the GP2 series.
The series has been designed to make it the perfect driver training ground for GP2 and Formula One. All but one GP3 event will follow the Formula One European Calendar, giving drivers firsthand experience of racing in the Grand Prix environment.
Formula Three has a long history, with at least ten active championships around the world. It was created by the FIA in 1950 as the low cost entry point to single-seater formula racing. In the European F3 most of the cars are equipped with KONI’s.
KONI also sponsors the Prema Powerteam, which resulted in the European Championship in 2015, with driver Felix Rosenqvist.
ADAC GT Masters
KONI partnered up with team Zakspeed in the ADAC GT Masters. Surrounded by 23 other Corvettes, Ford GT’s Porsches and Lamborghini’s, the two Zakspeed team Mercedes SLS AMG GT3’s could not be ignored.
Team Zakspeed races with KONI’s 2812 racing series shock absorbers and in 2015, they have won the championship with drivers Sebastian Asch and Luca Ludwig.
Since 2014, KONI was in close cooperation with the Formula 1 Sahara Force India team as a technical partner. The Force India team has shown major developments in the past years and was able to help the team achieve 4th place with 173 points in the Constructors Championship in 2016.
Over the years KONI has not only improved damping for racing cars, but has also used this expertise on improving the damping in various road car,commercial vehicle, and even industrial projects like bridges.