General Motors Captures 16 Racing Championships in 2005
DETROIT – Chevrolet’s unprecedented third sweep of NASCAR’s three premier manufacturers championships highlighted a 2005 season in which GM’s Cadillac, Pontiac and Chevrolet brands combined to win 16 manufacturers and drivers titles in major professional stock car, sports car, drag and drifting competition.
In addition to seven championships for manufacturers and nine for drivers, GM-powered vehicles broke records and collected victories at such prestigious events as the Daytona 500, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“Given the added demands of launching several new race vehicles such as the Corvette C6.R and Pontiac GTO.R, it is truly amazing what GM has accomplished in 2005,” said Mark Kent, director of GM Racing. “I cannot thank all of our engineers, drivers and teams enough for the long hours and dedication that went into this successful year of racing. The current racing environment is as competitive as the automotive market, and our success on the race track is a direct reflection of the great performance of GM production vehicles.”
Chevy Sweeps NASCAR’s Manufacturers Titles
For the third time in history, Chevrolet won the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck manufacturers championships. No other manufacturer has ever swept all three NASCAR manufacturers titles in a single season. In addition, the Chevy bowtie led the way in 2005 with 43 NASCAR race wins and two drivers championships.
In the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Tony Stewart in the No. 20 Chevrolet Monte Carlo dominated the second half of the 2005 season and brought home his second drivers championship. Stewart took the checkered flag five times this season and collected 25 top-10 finishes in 36 races. Stewart’s achievements in addition to on-track success by a host of Chevy drivers earned the brand its 29th manufacturers crown and 25th in NASCAR’s modern era (1972 to present). Other Chevy milestones in 2005 include Jeff Gordon’s win at the Daytona 500 and Tony Stewart’s first-ever victory at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. With 573 wins to date and 449 in the modern era of the NASCAR Cup Series alone, Chevrolet continues to be the “Winningest Name In Racing.”
Chevrolet also secured the manufacturers and drivers championships in the NASCAR Busch Series. Martin Truex Jr. won his second consecutive drivers title and became the first repeat winner in the series since his team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. did the same in 1998-99. Truex beat fellow Chevy driver Clint Bowyer by 68 points while Denny Hamlin finished fifth in the series, giving Chevy three spots in the top five. A total of five drivers recorded 14 victories this year to aid Chevrolet in winning its 12th manufacturers championship in a tight race against Ford and Dodge.
Chevrolet Team Silverado won its sixth manufacturers title in 10 years in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Chevy drivers recorded 10 victories with five different Silverados. Dennis Setzer, driver of the No. 46 Silverado, achieved four wins and just missed the drivers title. It was Setzer’s third consecutive second-place finish in the series.
Corvette, Cadillac and Pontiac Prevail in Road Racing Competition
Corvette Racing dominated the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) for the fifth straight year despite a host of challenges including the introduction of new Corvette C6.R race cars, the emergence of powerful new rivals and the impact of new rules. But none of these factors slowed the Velocity Yellow Corvette C6.Rs.
Corvette Racing scored 10 victories in 11 starts, including the team’s fourth win in the last five years at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta became the newly crowned GT1 drivers champions in what Gavin coined as his best season ever as a professional race car driver. Chevrolet won the ALMS GT1 manufacturers championship for the fifth consecutive year and Corvette Racing swept the team and pit crew championships in addition to the drivers championship.
Team Cadillac raced its production-based CTS-Vs on road courses, street circuits and airport runways to a championship sweep in SCCA Speed GT competition. Andy Pilgrim won the drivers title and Cadillac captured its first manufacturers trophy in only its second year of competition. Team Cadillac scored four victories, captured two poles and posted 13 podium finishes while also making history with the marque’s first 1-2-3 podium sweep at Road Atlanta.
Pontiac is the third GM brand to record success on the road racing circuit this year. The accomplishments in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series started early as Pontiac drivers swept the podium during the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the 24-hour endurance race and season kick-off. Pontiac teams kept the momentum alive despite fierce competition from European, Asian and American brands, with Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli winning the drivers and team titles in the Daytona Prototype (DP) class. Pontiac concluded 2005 with 10 wins in 14 races and never finished lower than second to set a series record. Pontiac drivers also swept the podium five times, an achievement no other brand has done in the series. These results earned Pontiac its second consecutive manufacturers title in the DP class.
Pontiac also achieved extraordinary results in the Grand American GT class after the debut of the Pontiac GTO.R in June with Andy Lally, Marc Bunting, Jan Magnussen and Paul Edwards piloting the two GTO.R entries. The two Pontiac duos scored four victories in eight starts and collected seven podium finishes, with Bunting and Lally missing winning the drivers title by a single point.
GM Has Record-Breaking Season in Drag Racing
Pontiac captured its third straight NHRA Manufacturers Cup and ninth crown since 1996. Greg Anderson, in the Summit Racing Pontiac GTO, recorded 8 wins and 11 final-round appearances en route to capturing the Pro Stock drivers championship. Anderson became the first NHRA Pro Stock driver to win three consecutive titles since Bob Glidden’s run in 1985-89. His championship marks Pontiac’s first with the GTO, which debuted in July, and Pontiac’s eighth NHRA Pro Stock drivers title since 1996. Additionally, GM-branded vehicles driven by Anderson, Kurt Johnson, Jason Line, Warren Johnson and Dave Connolly took all top-five spots in the final Pro Stock standings.
GM teams achieved success in multiple classes of the NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Series. Ron Lummus drove his Ecotec-powered Pontiac to six victories and a perfect 10-for-10 in final-round appearances to become the 2005 Hot Rod drivers champion. In Pro Front Wheel Drive (FWD), Marty Ladwig piloted the first FWD Chevy Cobalt to officially reach 200 mph in the quarter mile and also ran the quickest quarter mile ET ever in the category. Ladwig’s record-breaking run took place at the NHRA Sport Compact World Finals en route to his third NHRA Pro FWD victory of the season. Even though Ladwig only competed in seven of 10 races, his on-track performance at the races he did attend earned him a runner-up finish in the Pro FWD standings. In Pro Rear Wheel Drive (RWD), Matt Hartford won two races in his GM High Feature V-6 powered Chevrolet and finished second in the standings. Gary Gardella had an impressive debut season in his Chevy Cobalt, winning a combined 13 national events (NDRA/NHRA) and capturing his first NOPI Pro 4 Cylinder championship.
GM Wins First Drifting Championship
In Pontiac’s second year of organized drifting competition, Rhys Millen won the Formula D Drifting drivers title in his Pontiac GTO. Millen’s driving expertise, along with the cutting-edge performance and styling of the GTO, helped the American brand prevail against talented domestic and international competitors. He maintained his points lead throughout the six Formula D events to bring home Pontiac’s first drifting championship. Millen’s achievements in the GTO have not only earned Pontiac additional racing success, they have also helped expose the sport of drifting to an American audience while demonstrating the capabilities of the GTO.
GM Performance Division Also Celebrates Racing Success
In August, the GM Performance Division set a new speed record of 189.205 mph with the Ecotec Lakester in the G Class/Blown Gas Lakester during Bonneville Speed Week despite strong storms and eventual event cancellation. The record eclipsed the 179.381 mark set in October 2004 by GM engineer Mark Dickens. A supercharged Ecotec engine based on the crate motor available to enthusiasts through GM Performance Parts provided the record-setting horsepower for the Ecotec Lakester’s run.
Team Cobalt also achieved on-track success during its first year of competition in Grand-Am Cup road racing. Drivers of the Cobalt SS Supercharged collected three victories, three podium finishes and one pole position during its rookie season in Grand-Am Cup. Team Cobalt finished third among nine veteran manufacturers and will prove to be a powerful force in 2006 due to the valuable experience gained in its inaugural year.
The GM Performance Division extended its SCCA National Championship Runoffs win streak as 73 racers in GM vehicles boosted the manufacturer’s total of National Championships to 125 since 1956. In the 49 years since then, GM cars have won at least one championship each year. Also during the September event, John Heinricy, director of High Performance Vehicle Operations for GM Performance Division, won his ninth National Championship and fifth consecutive T-1 title.
Heinricy also posted the fastest time overall at the Toyo Tires Time Attack on Nov. 8. His time was the second fastest time ever for a Time Attack run at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, and eclipses the previous records set for Front Engine Front Drive Unlimited and All-Wheel-Drive Limited classes.
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader since 1931. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 325,000 people around the world. It has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 200 countries. In 2004, GM sold nearly 9 million cars and trucks globally, up 4 percent and the second-highest total in the company's history. GM's global headquarters are at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.
© 2002 Auto Racing Daily, LLC