SCC: VIR: Team Cobalt preview

Team Cobalt Faces Biggest Challenge to Date at VIR Grand-Am Cup has Series Record 43 Street Tuner Class Entries ALTON, Va., April 17, 2006 -- With experience and two more entries on its side this time, five Cobalt SS Supercharged cars will...

Team Cobalt Faces Biggest Challenge to Date at VIR
Grand-Am Cup has Series Record 43 Street Tuner Class Entries

ALTON, Va., April 17, 2006 -- With experience and two more entries on its side this time, five Cobalt SS Supercharged cars will take the green flag for the 2.5 hour Street Tuner class race in this Saturday's Grand-Am Cup Series event at VIRginia International Raceway. But unlike last year when Mother Nature derailed the team's rookie-season bid for a runner-up finish in the final point standings, Team Cobalt expects to be on the podium this weekend against one of the strongest entry lists ever for an ST class race.

A series record 43 Street Tuner cars, representing 15 models from nine worldwide manufacturers will be competing for the win in the 96-car, two-class field on April 22. This will also be the fourth time in five races the ST class has set a new record for entries.

"The entry list has nine more cars than we raced against at Daytona in January, and several manufacturers have stepped-up their participation with additional cars," said GM Performance Division's Ken Wasmer, whose engineering team provides technical support for all Cobalt entrants. "That's especially true with the manufacturers we view as our strongest competition -- Mazda, Acura and Honda."

With four different manufacturers winning the last four races spanning the 2005 and 2006 seasons, the Street Tuner class is slowly becoming one of the most competitive showcases for manufacturers of small, performance-oriented cars.

"The Cobalt SS Supercharged is competing against the same cars it competes with in the marketplace, and our competition is just as determined on the race track," Wasmer added. "Our teams have used the three months since the season opener at Daytona to sharpen their setups, and the time spent is really showing up on the stopwatch."

"Our goal is to win the Manufacturer's Championship this year, and we really won't be satisfied with anything less," said Wasmer.

But first, Team Cobalt must conquer VIR, and it starts with the five entries competing in Saturday's race.

Two of the Cobalt SS Supercharged cars are race-prepared in Canada by Mike Kuznicki's Georgian Bay Motorsports team. Eric Curran, the 2002 Grand-Am Cup ST class winner at VIR, and 18-year-old Jamie Holtom share the #01 entry. The team's #00 car is driven by Jamie's father, Jim Holtom, and Daniel Colembie.

Jamie Holtom is an up-and-comer on the circuit and the youngest driver to win a race sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing Association. At age 17-years, 8-months and 20-days-old, Jamie gave the Cobalt its second win of the season last June at Mosport, sharing the win that Father's Day weekend with his father.

Veteran Tom Lepper of Team Cobalt California drives the #48 Cobalt SS Supercharged with John Trefethen, and Series rookies V. J. Mirzayan and Jack Mardikian race the team's #98 entry. The final Cobalt entry is the #06 from Powell Motorsports with Ed Magner and Dave Thilenius driving.

Team Cobalt's competition at VIR comes from the Honda Accord V6, Mazda's RX-8 and 6 models, Acura's RXS-S, TSX and Integra, the BMW Z4 and three versions of the BMW 330, Dodge Neon SRT4, Audi A4 Turbo, Mini Cooper S, and Nissan Sentra SE-R.

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.

Engineered by GM Performance Division, the Cobalt SS Supercharged is the most powerful and agile of the model line, with a suspension developed on Germany's famed Nurburgring race track and a 2.0-liter ECOTEC Supercharged engine named among the industry's 10-Best Engines for 2006 by the editors of Ward's Communications.

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.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Eric Curran , Jim Holtom , Daniel Colembie , Jack Mardikian