Pontiac Solstice made a podium debut this past weekend in its first ever Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) race, finishing third in the Showroom Stock B (SSB) class during the New England Region May National at New Hampshire International Speedway on May 6.
Newly classed by SCCA in SSB for 2006, the Solstice was race-prepared by Phoenix Performance and driven by 18-year-old amateur driving sensation Andrew Aquilante.
Aquilante finished only 1.3 seconds out of first behind two Mazda Miatas, and set the fastest lap time for the race at 1:18.030. Out of seven entries, he was the second fastest qualifier with a time of 1:17.832, which was merely .009 seconds off the pole heading into Saturday's race.
"Finishing on the podium in its first race is quite an accomplishment for the Pontiac Solstice, especially when you consider the two cars ahead of Andrew finished first and third overall last season in the Northeast Division SSB class," said GM Performance Division's racing expert "Heinrocket" John Heinricy. "We're thrilled with the outcome and excited for an even better finish at Nelson Ledges."
Aquilante will race the team's Solstice in the Mahoning Valley Region May National event at Nelson Ledges Road Course in Garrettsville, Ohio on Sunday, May 28.
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 recently announced 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. A catback exhaust system (sans muffler) will maximize the power output.
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.