Chevrolet Cobalt 'Handles' Lime Rock Grand-Am Cup Street Tuner Class Manufacturer, Driver and Team Championship Points Leads Extended as Jamie Holtom and Eric Curran Win For Third Time LIME ROCK, Conn., May 27, 2006 - The 2006 Grand-Am...
Chevrolet Cobalt 'Handles' Lime Rock Grand-Am Cup Street Tuner Class
Manufacturer, Driver and Team Championship Points Leads Extended as Jamie Holtom and Eric Curran Win For Third Time
LIME ROCK, Conn., May 27, 2006 - The 2006 Grand-Am Cup series Street Tuner class season is now halfway over, and today's win on the 1.54-mile Lime Rock Park circuit by Georgian Bay Motorsport Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged drivers Eric Curran and Jamie Holtom strengthened the championship points leads for all concerned.
The victory margin after 90 laps of the undulating 1.54-mile circuit was only 0.406 seconds, the closest of five Street Tuner division races this year. It was also the third win for Curran and Holtom, the 18-year old Canadian sensation.
"Grand Am now has the Cobalt SS Supercharged so evenly-matched with our competition from BMW, Acura and Mazda that the difference was the Georgian Bay crew," said Curran. "This was a one-stop race for gas and front tires, and once the stops by all the lead cars had cycled-through, our crew's speed helped put me in the lead."
Holtom was in second place when he pitted, and left the pits in fourth position, spots that Curran, who has been a Lime Rock winner in almost every kind of car he has raced there, was able to overcome. He led over BMW-driving rival Will Turner for the last 54 of 130 laps.
"Before and after the Phoenix race, Grand Am made competition adjustments to all the top-running manufacturers," said Ken Wasmer, of the GM Performance Division, which provides engineering and technical support to teams racing the Cobalt SS Supercharged.
"Our most significant technical setback was a new rule requiring us to use the stock pulley on the Cobalt engine's supercharger," he added. "But even with the loss of horsepower and torque, the Cobalts remained strong in handling. Using aggressive pit strategy gained time on all our competitors from early in the race."
"I agree with their plan," said Curran. "At Lime Rock, handling is everything."
Chevrolet now has an eight-point lead over Acura for the Manufacturer Championship, and 11 points over BMW. Curran and Holtom are 27 points ahead of BMW drivers Will Turner and Don Salama, who they beat today, for the Driver Championship; and the Georgian Bay ClearSCADA Cobalt team extended its lead for the Team Championship.
Holtom's father, Jim, and co-driver Daniel Colembie finished 19th in their Mike Kuznicki-owned SCADAPack Cobalt, after both were individually punted off course by the same Acura driver. Colembie's crash severely damaged the rear fascia of their Cobalt, but did not affect lap times.
Phil Malgren's Collision Craft / Powell Motorsports team returned to the series after skipping two races to focus on building their second car.
Marc-Antoine Camirand and GM Performance Division engineer Dave Thilenius finished 12th in their car, while Camirand, who led laps 53-57, then finished the race in the Cobalt started by Malgren, racked up a 24th place finish.
Tom Lepper also had his two Team Cobalt California cars at Lime Rock, and saw both finish the race. Beau Buisson and VJ Mirzayan were ninth in their car; Lepper and Neal Sapp were 14th in their's.
The next Grand-Am Cup race is June 25 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, an event that is expected to be watched by up to 1000 United Auto Workers and families from five GM factories involved in various aspects of the Cobalt's production.
The GM Performance Division offers all Cobalt SS Supercharged entrants a contingency program along with the engineering technical support currently provided at every Grand-Am Cup race. The program awards contingency money for every Top Five finish: $5,000 to win, $3,000 for second, $2,000 for third, $1,000 for fourth and $500 for fifth place.