LAS VEGAS, July 21, 2003 - As GM Racing enters into the second-half of the NHRA Sport Compact Series schedule, preparation is underway to maintain the dominance demonstrated in the first-half of the season in the PRO FWD and HOT ROD categories.
Pontiac Sunfire driver Marty Ladwig has chalked up three wins (Palm Beach, Englishtown, Atco) in the first four races, and has qualified No. 1 twice (Englishtown, Atco). The San Antonio native ran a national record elapsed time of 8.533 seconds at Englishtown and currently sits first in the HOT ROD championship points standings, 147 points ahead of second place Mike Crawford.
"Life is pretty good right now," said Ladwig. "The rate of progress for our program has been tremendous. In just one year of development, we have been able to produce more that 1,000hp and run a traction-limited best of 8.533 seconds at 168 mph. The key to our performance has been the 2.2-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine and the durability of our 4T65-E transmission."
Teammate Nelson Hoyos, pilot of the front-wheel-drive Chevy Cavalier, has been in every final round this season and has won two events (Englishtown, Atco). He's been the top qualifier at two events (West Palm Beach, Englishtown) and set a national record elapsed time and speed at Englishtown of 8.61 seconds at 178.52 mph. Hoyos comfortably sits first in the PRO FWD championship points standings, 189 points ahead of second place, Christian Rado.
"This season has been exactly how we pictured it," said Hoyos. "We've been working so hard on the Cavalier and it has proven itself on the racetrack. It's very exciting to be leading the points and having the dominance and power to win at each track we go too."
The next opportunity for the GM Racing team to continue their surge towards their goal - two championships, will be at the completion of the GM Performance NHRA Nationals at "The Strip" under the lights in Las Vegas on July 25-26.
After a six-week break between races, the GM Racing team has been relentlessly working on making the Pontiac Sunfire and Chevrolet Cavalier better racecars. Most of the time has been spent in the dyno room and working on updating the Sunfire and Cavalier.
Garrett Turbo Systems has joined the team and brings a new level of support to the program in terms of engineering development and analysis. Through several rigorous dyno tests, Garrett has been able to find a more efficient turbo package for making 1000-plus horsepower.
"Being able to make 1000-plus horsepower that is required to be competitive in this series, efficiently puts less wear and tear on the engine," explained Josh Peterson, GM Racing program manager. "The improvement to efficiency adds another 50hp to the Ecotec engine program."
Both Nelson and Marty are racing with Garrett GT40R ball bearing turbochargers. Garrett GT ball bearing turbos use the latest technology, through aerodynamically advanced turbine and boost quicker, providing higher power at a given boost level.
"Another key to Garrett's exceptionally crisp and strong throttle response is the dual ball bearing cartridge," explained Peterson. "Garrett ball bearing turbochargers spool up to 15-percent faster than traditional journal bearing turbos and provide higher performance than our competitor's ball-bearing turbos. This produces an improved response and a broader powerband characteristic that can be converted to quicker 0-60 and quarter mile trap speeds."
Not only has time been spent in the dyno room, but the other main focus has been on the transmission in the Cavalier. The team has been working on a system to try and control the amount of power applied at the launch by working on the engine transmission interface.
"Through the first half of the season the Cavalier developed a severe tire shake which hurt our 60-foot times tremendously," said Peterson. "We tested this new system and it has shown great potential and ability to fine tune the vehicle."
Even with the success this team has seen this season, the work continues which is what it takes to be champions.
Qualifying for the GM Performance NHRA Nationals will be on Friday, July 25, at 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. There will be a GM Performance party beginning at 10:00p.m and the Titan Auto Insurance Midnight Mayhem will go until 2:00 a.m. Eliminations will begin at 8:00 pm. on Saturday, July 26.
ESPN2 will televise 30 minutes of event coverage on August 13th at 3:00 p.m. (ET)
*To find out more about Garrett Performance Products visit www.turbobygarret.com
***Nelson and Marty will be at the Hard Rock Café on Thursday, July 24, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. signing autographs. The Pontiac Sunfire and Chevy Cavalier will also be on display.
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, employs 342,000 people globally in its core automotive business and subsidiaries. Founded in 1908, GM has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM today has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in more than 190 countries. In 2002, GM sold more than 8.6 million cars and trucks, nearly 15 percent of the global vehicle market. GM's global headquarters is at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM and its products can be found on the company's consumer website at www.gm.com
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