DETROIT, Mich., July 3, 2002 - The 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix race car has been approved by NASCAR, according to officials with Pontiac-GMC and GM Racing. The car, which has been under development since August 2001, passed a battery of wind tunnel...
DETROIT, Mich., July 3, 2002 - The 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix race car has been approved by NASCAR, according to officials with Pontiac-GMC and GM Racing.
The car, which has been under development since August 2001, passed a battery of wind tunnel and track tests this spring and was approved last week. Race fans will get their first look at the new car in action at the 2003 Daytona 500 on February 16, 2003.
GM Racing engineers worked hand-in-hand with NASCAR throughout the process to develop the new race car. The new Grand Prix will adopt many of the aerodynamic underpinnings which NASCAR has established as a competitive baseline for new race cars, but maintains the visual styling cues representative of Pontiac's brand character.
The automotive industry caught a glimpse of the design styling behind the new Grand Prix in February at the Chicago Auto Show when the Grand Prix 'G-Force' show car was placed on display.
The Grand Prix G-Force gets its name from its impressive handling credentials. G-Force takes the Grand Prix Wide Track Handling system to a higher level with a chassis, wheel and tire configuration designed to achieve .85G of lateral acceleration force, and reach a top speed of 155 miles per hour (by comparison, only a few performance sedans can achieve.85G of lateral acceleration force).
Pontiac's Winston Cup teams are expected to receive body templates from NASCAR in the near future and will likely begin building cars for the 2003 season at some point in the next several weeks.
Thoughts From Lynn Myers, General Manager, Pontiac-GMC:
"The approval of the new Grand Prix is a firm statement that Pontiac is a major competitor in NASCAR. The type of performance we show on the track will translate directly into exciting new products in Pontiac showrooms, including the all-new 2004 Grand Prix and the re-introduction of the Pontiac GTO late next year."
Thoughts From Bob Kraut, Brand Manager, Pontiac Grand Prix:
"Pontiac and NASCAR fans have a lot to be excited about during the 2002-03 season with a hot new car tearing up asphalt on the track and on the street. We introduced a more powerful but contemporary design for the Grand Prix at this year's Chicago auto show with the Grand Prix 'G-Force' show car. It was well received by the automotive and enthusiast press. Now, we're bringing the best of the G-Force design and styling cues to the track and later in the 2003 season we'll bring the same character to the customer in a new production Grand Prix.
"We'll have more exciting news throughout the year, with a punctuation mark starting the 2003 season at Daytona."
Thoughts From Doug Duchardt, NASCAR Group Manager, GM Racing:
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE OVERALL DEVELOPMENT PROCESS FOR THE GRAND PRIX RACE CAR? "This was a new process for us to go through for car approval and we didn't know what to expect. In the end, we were impressed at how willing NASCAR was to work with us in making sure that the brand character was very evident in the car. The end result of all that is a race car that will clearly be recognized as a Pontiac Grand Prix when it is debuted.
"NASCAR was with us every step of the way throughout the process and we're very happy with the result."
Thoughts From Ray Smith, Program Manager, GM Racing:
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE OVERALL DEVELOPMENT PROCESS? "I'm very happy with how everything went. I think we had two of the best teams in the Winston Cup garage doing the job for us in Joe Gibbs Racing and MB2/MBV Motorsports. We relied on those two teams to develop and prepare the car for approval and they did a heck of a job. It's definitely a Pontiac Grand Prix, it's what we were after and we're anxious to get it on the track."
WHAT ARE THE REMAINING STEPS IN THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS? "We'll work with NASCAR on some track tests for the car later this year. I'm sure we'll have to have a speedway (superspeedway) test, hopefully after Talladega, and then we'll have to work with NASCAR on a test at a downforce track."