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As we reported last week, General Motors officially decided to take the Solstice racing on a national level by entering it in the Sports Car Club of America road racing series. The first race was last weekend at the New Hampshire International Speedway and the Solstice placed third in the Showroom Stock B class behind a pair of Miatas. The car was prepped by Phoenix Performance and driven by 18-year old Andrew Aquilante. Aquilante is a phenom racer with a few titles already under his belt, and it would appear he's also related to the president of Phoenix Performance, Joe Aquilante.
Aquilante and the Solstice were only 1.3 seconds out of first and the kid recorded the fastest lap time during the race and was the second fastest qualifier of the day. John Heinricy, GM's sultan of speed, was reportedly quite pleased with the outcome of the race and the first outing of the Z0K Club Sport  package on the car that adds a limited-slip differntial, better power steering cooler and the FE3 suspension that will standard on the Solstice GXP.

Check out GM's full release with some more deets after the jump...

[Source: GM]

Pontiac Solstice Finishes Third In Scca National Road Racing Debut

WARREN , Mich. , May 8, 2006 – 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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      Yup, from reading all the other "opinions" on the solstice, I was sure it couldn't even contend against the almighty miata. Guess not.

      Oh, and why to people even bother comparing or bench racing two cars that aren't even production yet? Solstice GXP vs. MazdaSpeed Miata, what f'ing crystal ball do you have?!?
      • 9 Years Ago
      scooter; It's a roadster if you need a trunk go buy a Crown Victoria.

      Or a Factory Five 65 Roadster Mark III (Cobra) They have quite a lot of trunk space and cost about the same to build as a new Solstice and will whip the pants off most anything out there... You lose the top tho, so pick a roadster with a trunk or one with a top or buy a normal car :P

      • 9 Years Ago
      Off to a great start!

      Check out http://www.solsticeforums.com for more information about the Pontiac Solstice!
      • 9 Years Ago
      "The FE3 suspension will be standard on the recently announced 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP"

      "Aquilante finished only 1.3 seconds out of first behind two Mazda Miatas"


      So much for all those folks that said the GXP would beat the pants of a Miata handling-wise. Maybe in a straight line, but then there hasn't been a new Mazdaspeed Miata announced yet, has there? :p
      Great to see it's very competitive in the class though. Should make for some fun to watch racing. Now when are they going to race the actual turbocharged GXP and the (hopefully) coming Mazdaspeed Miata?
      • 9 Years Ago
      The Pontiac Solstice is such a great car. GM has finally done right by Pontiac in giving the brand a winner.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I can't wait for the turbo version to come out for the public.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I would love to see the Saturn SKY perform.
      • 9 Years Ago

      Now, what package does one order to get a usable trunk?
      • 9 Years Ago
      lucas, don't forget that this was only the first race for the unsorted solstice. the miata has been raced for years now & is a known quantity. it's likely that the guys/girls driving the first 2 cars have probably been driving those same cars for years.

      well done pontiac & friends!
      • 9 Years Ago
      Definite congrats to GM and the kappa architecture. They look hot and can perform hot too.

      Finally...fun to drive, well-performing, and stylish GM vehicles under $30K/40K.
      • 9 Years Ago
      With the hard top on, the Solstice is one of the best looking American cars made in the last thirty years. It blows the MX-5 away aesthetically, and judging from the fact that a brand new one that is still wet behind the ears almost beat two Miatas that took home the cup last year, it's a dead even performer as well.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Lucas, this is not the GXP turbo. It's the NA club sports package car.