Debuting in SSB for 2006, the Solstice was race-prepared by Phoenix Performance and driven by 18-year-old amateur driver Andrew Aquilante.
Aquilante narrowly missed setting the pole (1:04:099) during qualifying of the New England Region June National with a time of 1:04:129, but took the lead after only the first lap of the race on Saturday in part by out-braking a Mazda Miata on the first turn.
“Lime Rock rewards nimbleness, agility and braking over outright power,” said John Heinricy of GM Performance Division. “With strong early performances, the Pontiac Solstice is demonstrating it will be a tough competitor in SSB for years to come.”
In its first two outings on May 6 at New Hampshire and May 28 at Nelson Ledges, the Solstice finished third and fourth respectively, while also setting the fastest lap time in each race. At Nelson Ledges, the Solstice’s fastest lap (1:18:811) set a new track record for SSB class.
Aquilante currently leads the driver points standings in the Northeast Division of SSB, and 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.
While Aquilante was lighting up the track at Lime Rock, a second Pontiac Solstice entry was making its debut in the Kaw Valley Race Group June National at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.
Driven by retired GM executive Stan Czacki and built in the Phoenix Performance shops, the second-ever SCCA Solstice entry finished third on Sunday behind two BMW Z4s.
Both Solstices are equipped 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.
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 327,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries . In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac , Chevrolet , GMC , GM Daewoo , Holden , HUMMER, Opel , Pontiac , Saab , Saturn and Vauxhall . GM operates one of the world’s leading finance companies, GMAC Financial Services, which offers automotive, residential and commercial financing and insurance. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services.