Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Team Cobalt Heads Home

Four 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged race cars will hit the the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Grand-Am Cup event on Sunday, August 28. Chevy Cobalts are built by UAW workers at the General Motors assembly plant in Lordstown, OH.

The first production Cobalts appeared in Chevrolet dealer showrooms last January and have been enthusiastically received by young buyers aged 18-25 who are looking for performance and style at a reasonable cost.

The Cobalt SS Supercharged is the third GM car to benefit from the talents of the Performance Division’s engineers, who thrive on taking great GM cars and trucks and turning them into awesome vehicles capable of going head-to-head with anything Japan and Europe can throw at them.

The Cobalt’s performance is proven on the track. “In the last couple of races, we have seen all three Cobalts qualifying within less than a half mile per hour of one another,” said Ken Wasmer, small car program engineering manager for the GM Performance Division which provides engineering and parts assistance to teams racing the Cobalt SS Supercharged.

“Achieving numbers like that is rare when you consider until now we’ve been racing three cars and a potential combination of six different drivers,” Wasmer added. “It tells us that the Cobalt SS is a car which can achieve maximum performance from a variety of drivers.”

Featuring a 2.0 liter GM ECOTEC supercharged engine generating 205 horsepower, the Cobalt SS Supercharged is the creation of the GM Performance Division and its director of High Performance Vehicle Operations, John Heinricy.

In addition to his engineering talents, Heinricy has nationwide respect as a road racer. His first professional race was at Mid-Ohio in 1984; since then he has won three pro races and seven SCCA National Championships at Mid-Ohio.

“Cars with a lot of handling agility built into their design always do well at Mid-Ohio,” Heinricy said. “Once the drivers get into their rhythm with all the turns at Mid-Ohio, we expect to be in great shape. In the Sport Touring class, we’re racing against European and Japanese manufacturers who are as serious as we are, but who have been racing their cars for two or three years – not seven races. That we’ve won two races so far is very encouraging.”

Three of the Cobalts are entered by James Holtom of Carp, Ontario, Canada from the Georgian Bay Motorsports team. Holtom and his 17 year-old son Jamie, shared the experience of a father-son race win at Mosport Park, Ontario, in June.

A week earlier, James gave the Cobalt SS Supercharged its first professional win, sharing the Watkins Glen International race win with Andy Lally, of Dacula, Ga.

Jamie Holtom has been Lally’s teammate in the 2005 season, but was not allowed to race at Watkins Glen because he is a minor.

Delphi Auto Systems Engineer Ed Manager of Grand Blanc, Mich., has been has been racing front-wheel-drive GM cars for 18 consecutive years. He and James Holtom co-drive the Cobalt.

Two graduates of the Canadian-based Ron Fellows Karting School, Matt Champagne and Frank Lavani, will drive a third Georgian Bay-entered Cobalt SS Supercharged. Fellows races one of the Team Corvette C6-R entries in the American Le Mans Series.

The fourth Cobalt is shared by Tom Lepper of Benecia, Calif., and Bo Roach of Tulsa, Okla. They had the fastest of the three Cobalts in qualifying for the most recent Grand-Am Cup race held at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.

In 2004, the Performance Division debuted the 205hp Saturn ION Red Line and the 400hp Cadillac CTS-V. The Division’s 2006 lineup will be joined by the 395hp Chevrolet Trailblazer SS and two upgraded Cadillacs – the 433hp XLR-V and the 469hp STS-V.

Mid-Ohio’s race, which will be attended by a large number of GM corporate and UAW partners, has practice on Friday, Aug. 26, with qualifying on Saturday. The 200-mile race Sunday begins at 1 p.m. ET. The race will be televised for delayed broadcast Saturday, Sept. 17 at noon ET on SPEED TV.

Media Contact: Dave Arnold // arnold communications // Ph 607.562.2165 // Mobile 607.731.5673

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