LAS VEGAS, Nov 2, 2004 – Pontiac will expand its motorsports program in 2005 when the Pontiac GTO takes on European, Asian and American rivals in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. GM announced today that Pontiac will debut two production-based GTO race cars in the Grand American Series in midseason of 2005.
“We’ve found the right type of racing venue to demonstrate the performance capabilities of the Pontiac GTO,” said Doug Duchardt, GM Racing director. “ Pontiac has already achieved success in the Daytona Prototype class of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, and next year will expand its involvement to the GT division with a pair of Pontiac GTOs.”
Pontiac will become the first manufacturer to produce cars to meet the new GT regulations in 2005. The GTO race cars will have production-based LS2 small-block V-8 engines and retain the stock body design. They will incorporate safety features developed by GM Racing in the Corvette C5-R and Cadillac CTS-V racing programs. Teams and drivers will be announced at a future date.
“We plan to develop a race-winning package for Pontiac and then to offer GTO race cars for sale to independent teams,” said GM Racing road racing group manager Harry Turner. “We see great potential for the GT class in the Grand American Series. GM Racing will be an active participant in that growth by providing highly developed yet affordable vehicles. We will also provide comprehensive technical support for Pontiac teams.”
The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will showcase the Pontiac GTO’s potent capabilities. In production trim, the new-generation GTO offers a sophisticated blend of performance, handling, comfort and value. On the race track, the use of production-based powertrains and body panels will provide opportunities to demonstrate the GTO’s virtues against an international field of competitors that includes Ferrari, Porsche and BMW.
“The GTOs on race tracks will strongly resemble the GTOs in Pontiac showrooms,” said Turner. “The production body panels – hood, doors, roof, rear deck lid, and front and rear fascias – will be precisely duplicated in lightweight composite materials. Front and rear fender flares will accommodate wide racing tires, and a series-specified rear wing will add both aerodynamic balance and race car charisma.”
The new 6.0-liter (364 ci) LS2 engine that powers the production 2005 GTO provides a strong foundation for the racing version. In stock trim, the LS2 produces 400 horsepower; with only minor modifications developed by GM Powertrain, the LS2 easily achieves the 450-horsepower maximum output specified by Grand American regulations. Open exhaust headers, a free-flowing induction system, a competition camshaft and a road racing dry-sump oiling system are the only changes from stock. The LS2 engine is heir to the rich racing heritage of GM’s small-block V-8; the most successful production-based engine in motorsports.
In addition to the GTO road racing program announced today, Pontiac will continue its Pro Stock program in the NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series in 2005.
“These programs closely align with one of GM’s strategies of racing vehicles that have clear relationships with their production counterparts,” said Duchardt. “It is important for both marketing and engineering reasons to have strong links between the products that we race and the products that we sell to our customers. These programs provide opportunities to improve both GM’s production and racing vehicles through the two-way exchange of technology, personnel and processes.”
Pontiac GTO Grand American GT Specifications:
Engine: 6.0-liter LS2 small-block V-8
Horsepower: 450 @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 410 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
Maximum RPM: 6800
Chassis: Purpose-built tube frame
Wheelbase: 109.8 inches
Track: 61.5 inches front; 60.4 inches rear
Curb weight: 2,700 lbs.
Suspension: Independent unequal A-arm front and rear
Brakes: Four piston AP calipers with 12.9-inch vented steel rotors
Wheels: 18 x 11.5 inches front and rear
Steering: Power-assisted rack and pinion
Tires: 295-660R18 front; 295-675R18 rear
Transmission: Xtrac 370GT 5-speed sequential transaxle
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Says Greg Tuggle (XXtremePlayer.@AOL.COM) - "The G.T.O. is the Holy Grail of car ownership. I've never seen one except at shows, and with any luck, I'll own one before the end of the world."