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Pontiac Celebrates Racing 'Triple Crown'

Pontiac Wins Manufacturers and Drivers Championships in Road Racing, Drifting and Drag Racing


Pontiac-powered race vehicles have always been known as a force to be reckoned with on the racing circuit. But, even by the brand’s own high standards, 2005 will go down as one of Pontiac’s best-ever years. Pontiac teams captured a “Triple Crown” in manufacturers and drivers championships across each of the three main series where Pontiac competes – road racing, drag racing and drifting competition.

Pontiac claimed manufacturers championships in the Daytona Prototype class in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series and in the Pro Stock class of the NHRA POWERade Series, while drivers in Pontiac-powered vehicles walked away with drivers championships in the Rolex Series Daytona Prototype class, the NHRA Pro Stock class, and the Formula D Drifting series. Along the way Pontiac and partner teams set a number of records in different race series.

“Everyone at GM is thrilled with the stellar results Pontiac has had this year,” said Mark Kent, director of GM Racing. “The handling of the Pontiacs in road racing, the power of the GTO engine in drag racing and the cutting-edge performance and styling of the GTO in drifting have collectively earned Pontiac three drivers and two manufacturers championships in one season.”

Pontiac’s success begins in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series where the manufacturer collected all three championship titles in the DP class and had extraordinary results in the GT class after the recent debut of the GTO.R.

In the face of fierce competition from European, Asian and American brands, Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli in the #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley won both the DP drivers and team titles as they and a host of other Pontiac DP drivers helped the brand secure its second consecutive manufacturers title. Pontiac concluded the race season with 10 wins in 14 races and never finished lower than second to set a series record. Pontiac drivers swept the podium five times in 2005, an achievement no other brand has done in the Rolex Series.

Andy Lally/Mark Bunting and Jan Magnussen/Paul Edwards were selected as the drivers for the two GTO.R entries in the GT classes where the two duos scored four victories in eight starts after the GTO.R’s debut in June. The four drivers also collected seven podium finishes. Bunting and Lally finished the season just one point behind Porsche’s Craig Stanton for the drivers title. Bunting and Lally will be powerful contenders for the championship next year in their first full season behind the wheel of the GTO.R.

With the July introduction of the GTO to NHRA Pro Stock competition, Pontiac captured its third straight NHRA Manufacturers Cup and ninth NHRA crown since 1996. In 10 races, the GTO won six eliminator finals, advanced to nine final rounds and captured the race-day pole seven times. Greg Anderson in the Summit Racing Pontiac GTO also became the first NHRA Pro Stock driver since Bob Glidden's run in 1985-89 to win three consecutive titles. His title marks Pontiac’s first with the GTO and eighth NHRA Pro Stock driver's title since 1996.

During Pontiac’s second year of participation in the Formula D Drifting Series, driver Rhys Millen won the drivers title in his GTO. Competing against exotic domestic and international vehicles and skilled drivers, Millen maintained his points lead throughout the six Formula D events to bring home Pontiac’s first drifting drivers crown. Two years ago, Pontiac entered the series as the first American manufacturer. Millen’s achievements in the GTO have helped expose the sport of drifting to an American audience while also demonstrating the capabilities of the GTO.

“The Pontiac GTO you see on the road today excels in power, handling, and performance,” said Kent. “The engineers at GM Racing have worked very diligently to translate these qualities to the race versions of the GTO. Thanks to these engineering efforts along with the talent from our Pontiac drivers and teams, Pontiac is gaining a reputation for exceptional motorsport performance and competence in every series in which it competes.”
 
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