Newly classed by the Sport Car Club of America (SCCA) in SSB for 2006, the Solstice was race-prepared by Phoenix Performance and driven by 18-year-old amateur driver Andrew Aquilante.
Aquilante finished fourth behind a Honda Civic Si, Pontiac Firebird and Mazda Miata, but set the pole during qualifying for the entire race grouping, which also included Touring 3 and Showroom Stock C class entries. His SSB record-setting lap time of 1:18.811 was the fastest lap of the race, regardless of class.
“With a podium finish and near podium finish in its first two races, the Pontiac Solstice is turning heads and showing it can be a viable option for SSB racing,” said John Heinricy of GM Performance Division. “It won’t be long before Solstice starts becoming the preferred option for SSB racers.”
In the Solstice’s first-ever outing in SCCA on May 6 at New Hampshire, Aquilante finished only 1.3 seconds out of first, and set the fastest lap time for the race.
Aquilante will next race the team’s Solstice in the Steel Cities Region June National at BeaveRun Motorsports Complex in Wampum, Penn. on Father’s Day, June 18.
The car is one of the first to roll off the line with the Z0K Club Sport regular production order option package, which is designed for the weekend racer and currently available to order through any Pontiac dealership.
Developed by GM Performance Division, the Club Sport package features the standard five-speed manual transmission along with antilock brakes (ABS), a limited-slip differential, an improved power steering cooler and FE3 suspension. The FE3 suspension will be standard on the upcoming 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP.
No other options are available when ordering the Club Sport Solstice, but some components and safety equipment are required by SCCA to make it track ready, including a hardtop, racing tires, higher friction brake pads, rollcage, seatbelts, etc.
Aquilante is the 2004 Northeast Division Rookie of the Year and 2005 Philadelphia Region Driver of the Year. He is also the two-time defending Northeast Division Touring 1 (T1) champion for 2004 and 2005 driving a Corvette C5 Z06.
GM Performance Division develops compelling, low volume, high-performance production and specialty vehicles, including the 205 hp Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged, 395 hp Chevy Trailblazer SS and 400hp Chevy SSR; the 400 hp CTS-V, 469 hp STS-V and 443 hp XLR-V from the Cadillac V-Series; and the 205 hp Saturn ION Red Line.