• Apr 28, 2006
UPDATE: GM RELEASED PICS FINALLY (click for high rez)


With the Goat about to go bye-bye again, Pontiac needed to cough up another car for its championship drifter Ryhs Millen to pilot in this year’s Formula D circuit. Fortunately the 2007 Pontiac GXP makes a perfect choice thanks to its RWD layout and potent 2.0L ECOTEC engine. The ECOTEC four-cylinder has been pumped up to over 1,400 hp in drag racing applications, so the fact that it will provide Millen’s right foot with 500 hp is no surprise. And the darn thing runs on E85! Live Green, Go Yellow, Burn Rubber we always say.

Domestics have dominated the Formula D circuit since its inception a few years ago, with either Millen in his GTO or Samuel Hubinette in his Dodge Viper taking top honors at nearly every competition. Hubinette will also be trading in his Viper this season for something a little more accessible to John Q drifter… a Dodge Charger drifting sedan.

The first competition of the 2006 season has already taken place, and we’re not surprised that Hubinette, the 2004 Champion, is in the lead with Millen, last year’s champion, following close behind in points.

We put in a call to Pontiac for an actual pic of the Red Bull Solstice GXP drifter and are awaiting a reply.

Follow the jump for GM's official release that includes more details on the Red Bull racer.

[Source: GM]
Pontiac Unveils Red Bull Solstice GXP for Drifting Competition

Rhys Millen will pilot turbocharged roadster in defense of his Formula D title



LONG BEACH, Calif. – Building on the success of the GTO drifting program, Pontiac today unveiled their next generation drift vehicle based on the upcoming turbocharged Solstice GXP. The new Red Bull Solstice GXP Drift, which will once again be piloted by 2005 Formula Drift champion Rhys Millen, will make its official Formula D drifting debut on June 10 at Solider Field in Chicago.

The stylish design and power of the Red Bull Solstice GXP Drift car along with the talent and expertise of Millen will be a formidable combination on the Formula D circuit this year. The GXP Drift features a race-modified version of the Solstice GXP turbocharged 2.0-liter ECOtec engine, while Millen is the reigning 2005 drift Formula D champion behind the wheel of his Pontiac GTO.

“The Red Bull Solstice GXP Drift is an excellent match for the tuner market where turbocharged engines dominate,” said Carmen Smith, GM Racing program manager for drifting. “Additionally, the GXP Drift maximizes the use of GM production components and race parts available through GM Performance Parts. Not only is the engine based on the production ECOtec, the transmission is a GM production six-speed and we’ve maintained the production GXP rear differential. Of course, we’ve used many race parts from GM Performance Parts and from sponsors such as Bridgestone, Rotora, Exedy, Racing Hart, and Sparco.”

The turbocharged Red Bull Solstice GXP Drift is a two-door hard-top roadster with rear-wheel drive and a six-speed transmission. The heart of the Solstice GXP Drift is the ECOtec 2.0-liter turbo engine, producing over 500 horsepower, roughly double the horsepower of the street-legal GXP available in dealerships this fall. This competition ECOtec turbo engine, running on E85 ethanol-based fuel, uses thick-wall iron cylinder liners, a race-ported cylinder head, tubular stainless steel exhaust headers, a performance camshaft, a unique engine control system and a water to air intercooled turbocharger. It was developed by the same GM Racing engineers behind the successful ECOtec sport compact drag racing motors, which generate over 1,400 horsepower in a 2.2-liter turbocharged configuration.

Consumers got a sneak peak of the production Solstice GXP roadster convertible during the L.A. Auto Show in January. The GXP is based on the hot-selling Solstice that was launched last year as Pontiac ’s first production two-seat roadster and became almost instantly popular for its classic roadster style, crisp handling and spirited performance. The 2006 model of the Solstice is sold out and there is already a waiting list of customers for the 2007 model.

The GXP is an extension of the capabilities of Pontiac ’s original roadster while taking the performance abilities to a new level with a 47 percent boost in horsepower thanks to the turbocharged 2.0-liter ECOtec engine, the most powerful production engine in the ECOtec family. This 260-horsepower production engine is similar to the engine found in the GXP Drift vehicle which should appeal to the youth market and drifting enthusiasts. The turbocharged 2007 Solstice GXP will arrive in Pontiac showrooms this fall.

Currently second-place in points after the season-opener, Millen will aim to take over the points lead during the second drift event of 2006 on May 12-13 at Road Atlanta. Millen will then put the new Red Bull Solstice GXP Drift to the test at Soldier Field on June 10 during the third round of Formula D competition. Five rounds remain before the championships at Irwindale Speedway on Oct. 14 where the Formula D title will be awarded.

"With a powerful product like Pontiac and the experience of team RMR, this fierce combination of response and talent has helped me win events and ultimately the championship," said Millen. "The Solstice has sold like crazy in the marketplace and I can only imagine the excitement of the fans when I bring the Solstice GXP Drift to Chicago . With the added power, this new drift vehicle is sure to give me a boost against some very strong competition while fighting for our second drift title."

Rhys Millen Racing (RMR) of Huntington Beach, California, has a comprehensive history of competing and winning in various forms of motorsports, including rally and desert racing. All the experiences gained from competition are skillfully applied towards performance parts available through RMR’s retail divisions, RMR Products and R. Millen Motorsports. The full line of race proven products can be found at the company’s web site at www.rmrproducts.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Put the top down, earn some style points...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Christian J...So all these years its all been a lie? We've been thinking that it takes skill to drift and complex maneuvers but really its powersliding? So the pro drifters are fooling the corporations and compnaies that sponsor them? Wow, I guess now we can all be pro drifters! So that means that instead of there being more than 10 different drifting techniques, theres really 10 different types of powersliding?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well at least both drivers used their "previous" cars for the first event. Rhys in a new paint job on the GTO and samuel in his viper.

      http://www.carandmodel.com/albums/formula_drift_formulad_d_long_beach_round_1_20060402-drift/aje.jpg
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well the reason why millen, and Hubinette and a few other domestic divers are successful is due to the fact they are factory backed cars which means they have more money to through in development of cars and also with more money the drivers can concentrate on drifting see as the non-factory drivers don't have that luxury meaning they all have other jobs to help pay the bills leaving not as much time as they hoped to focus solely on the season.
      • 8 Years Ago
      SoloTwo: No, I haven't. I haven't gone to watch a figure skating event either. Fastest grwoing motorsport?...EVIDENCE? SPECULATION? This sport lacks credibility outside of the import fanboy universe.

      PS The reason the US cars are having success isn't mega bucks sponsorship. They all have that; the top japanese cars are insane and have big time backing. What a lame excuse. The US cars are simply longer and thus have more polar inertia. By the way, people over 30 used to call it "POWERSLIDING" not drifting.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The large wing helps with traction and stability (aka control) Its NOT for looks.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow! The hardtop looks really good...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Let's get a few things straight. Whether you think it's a sport or not, these guys have serious skills. Sam Hubinette was an ice racer in Sweden, Rhys grew up rally driving (hey, both requires serious sideways car control... go figure..). But I guess ice racing is really just powersliding on ice, and rally is really just powersliding on dirt, and all WRC cars are 20 feet long for the increased polar inertia. Right.

      The reason they're winning is cos they're experienced, talented drivers with great teams behind them. The reason that US teams are dominating Formula D is because it's a US championship with a US audience. I don't see too many GM, DCX or Ford teams competing in D1. Cos that's a Japanese championship, with sponsors for a Japanese audience. The sponsors over there tend to be parts and tuners anyway, not manufacturers.

      Why aren't the Japanese manufacturers stepping up here? Well they are, just not as overtly. Nissan apparently supplied Chris Forsberg's new car. I believe that Honda has some involvement with Steph Papadakis, not sure about Alex Pfeiffer. But most of the others don't have a RWD sports car (Toyota, Mitsu, Subaru), and Mazda already has a huge motorsports program. Drifting is the wrong image for Lexus and the Euro premiums, so you're left with the US teams.

      Secondly, both Rhys and Sam have (at least) one 'day job' each..
      http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1949623/
      http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1784667/

      The figure skating analogy is tired. Plenty of sports/activities are based on judged points outcomes. Skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, hell even boxing is scored by a judging panel. Drifting is judged on technical criteria - entry speed, angle and so on.

      When it comes down to it, you're standing at the edge of the track with two cars coming towards you sideways at 80mph, screaming past inches apart with the crowd roaring. At its best, it's a visceral experience, just like motorsport should be. You can smell it, feel it in your stomach, pick the bits of rubber out of your hair. Everyone from my 5 year old son to my 70+ year old father-in-law has enjoyed seeing it live.

      Hopefully that helps explain a few things.
      • 8 Years Ago
      drifting is not racing
      • 8 Years Ago
      moggy states it like it is, well said. I couldnt agree more.

      I'll be wondering if the shorter wheelbase will be too much of a handful in addition to the different type of powerband, but all in all the Solstice looks to be a good contender. very strange design but if its fast thats a plus.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The 95.1 inch wheelbase of the Solstice is gonna be a STARK constrast from the 109.8" wheelbase of his current GTO. Lets hope he's got the skillz.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Who cares? Nobody gives a crap about drift racing. Anything without a time trial, head to head race or set number of laps to complete is basically FIGURE SKATING -C
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