• Oct 23, 2009
Bob Lutz prepares for V-Series Challenge - Click above to watch video after the jump

The pieces are now in place for the V-Series Challenge set to take place at the Monticello Motor Club on October 29. Behind the wheel of a Cadillac CTS-V, Bob Lutz will take on the competition in a run-what-you-brung type shoot out against players chosen by GM from the automotive media and general population. The video after the jump shows Lutz already on site practicing his lines on Monticello's 22-turn track (we're not sure yet what track configuration will be used). Maximum Bob will clearly have an advantage in terms of knowing the track, though General Motors is also bringing along ace pilot and former GMer John Heinricy in case the competition comes with some pro-am or above drivers.

Sounds like a good time, though we've heard through the grapevine that despite receiving around 120 applicants, the five vehicles chosen by GM to take on the CTS-V don't stand much of a chance. One we do know that will be present is a Jaguar XFR piloted by Wes Siler from Jalopnik.

We also asked Porsche about this whole business, since it would seem that the Panamera Turbo has one of the best shots at beating a CTS-V. Unless an actual owner was chosen by GM to be a challenger, however, there won't be a Panamera Turbo present. Porsche told us that they weren't approving any loans of the Panamera Turbo to the media for this event, and we've heard rumblings of the same sort from Mercedes-Benz concerning its AMG-fortified hardware.

We can't blame them. This is a GM event and the deck is stacked in their favor. Letting an auto journalist represent your brand in this super sedan pissing contest seems like a lose-lose proposition for any automaker in its right mind. Jaguar apparently disagrees, but we'll see what happens come October 29.

UPDATE: GM got in touch with us to clarify that the video footage was shot at the company's Milford Proving Grounds, and that Lutz has never raced at Monticello before.

[Source: GM]



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  • 38 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bob Lutz is a geezer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        HAHA, Bob Lutz is a geezer.

        At least he's not a "self loathing" geezer like Coolio there. Nobody ever said he didn't have a sweet job. Tone down your geezer ego!
        • 5 Years Ago
        To Salty Gator and Sofa King Fast:

        I am not a geezer but I agree with Salty Gator. I will tone down my comment - it was incorrectly too harsh.



        • 5 Years Ago
        You will be too one day, if you are lucky. If you are not, you'll be pushing up daisies.
        Regardless, will you have accomplished as much ?

        Tone down your youthful arrogance. Time will do it for you eventually. IOW STFU.

        Thank you.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I "am" a geezer. But that doesn't stop me from driving the premium performance vehicles from GM, or any other manufacturer, in competition. It keeps my reaction times sharp (or at least lets me measure how much they've degraded in the last 44 years of driving SCCA).

        BTW - Paul Newman was a geezer, too. In the last months of his life, at 83 years old, he was still taking hot-laps at Limerock:

        http://www.autoblog.com/2008/08/26/paul-newman-takes-last-laps-at-lime-rock/
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's a win-win for GM. Even if the lose the race, they will lose by less than 1 second. That will still be a victory in the public perception war. Although we now that the V rivals (or even surpasses) these other cars performance-wise, the general public doesn't.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Compared to any premium brands, just getting Cadillac mentioned in the same neighborhood is a win.

      They'll win in any case. If not, the whole "May the best car win" will go down the tubes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is that lipstick Bob?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Enigmatic
      1:35PM (10/23/2009)
      I can't imagine GM sponsoring an event like this if they had any chance of actually losing. The fact they pick their competitors clearly points to that.
      ----------------------------

      You joysticker wazers crack us up !

      In the end as the list shows who you claim GM is stacking the deck against are young guys, most having race experience racing again Bob who is 70 plus years old with bad eyes and slow reflects. He will be a winner even if he loses.

      Let’s meet the preliminary list of challengers. First up, the automotive writers:

      Name: Wes Siler – Jalopnik.com
      Wes is road test editor for Jalopnik, the first and to take us up on the Challenge. Wes is a skilled and experienced driver and evaluator of cars, especially the fast ones.

      Name: Jack Baruth – TheTruthAboutCars.com
      Jack will be representing TheTruthAboutCars.com in the Challenge. Jack’s an experienced racer, on two wheels and four. He hails from Columbus, Ohio.

      Name: Lawrence Ulrich – freelance auto writer
      Lawrence contributes to The New York Times and other publications. He drives all manner of cars regularly, and has some track driving experience though he’s careful to point out that his experience has been on a non-competitive basis.

      Let’s meet the initial group private car owners:

      Name: Michael M.
      Hometown: Whitecoff, NJ
      Michael is a graduate of the Porsche driving school and a contributor to carguydad.com. He owns a BMW M5.

      Name: Michael C.
      Hometown: Long Island, NY
      Our second Michael has trained at Skip Barber. At just 21 years old, Michael is the younger driver in the Challenge. He owns a BMW M3.

      Name: Chris
      Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI
      Chris has recently bought a CTS-V, and wants to learn more about his car’s capabilities.

      Name: Tom
      Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
      Tom drives an Audi RS4, has participated in the Audi driving school at Sonoma and has also done some autocross racing.

      Plenty of other notable car enthusiasts will be there Oct 29 as well, either as participants or spectators.

      Ata way Bob, it is one US nameplate against a bunch of big mouths who should stick with playing the car video games and playing with their joystick at the same time.
      At the least is shows GM guy dressing like Ross Perot that understands the common man and what they want in a real car and not the crapboxes you all drive :-)


      Question is where is the fricking ricer cars, are they chickens or just big mouths in cyberspace ?

      Let's Go a Racing . . . .
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can't imagine GM sponsoring an event like this if they had any chance of actually losing. The fact they pick their competitors clearly points to that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because they wont let any person with a high power 4 door in they r stacking it? i dont know how to explain this one to you. bet that every car that has a chance of beating it will be there and that no car will beat it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If they picked 5 cars that didn't have a chance at winning, why did those idiots even bother applying? Why wouldn't you bring your A-game to something like this? Or better yet, do you really think these are the 5 worst vehicles on the list? IF some troll entered his mom's '02 Camry, do you think GM would pick 5 entries like that to try ot make themselves look good? No, my guess is they picked 5 competent entries from people who could actually commit to showing up and running, but still be able to win against by a decent but not necessarily overwhelming margin.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Whoa guys, didn't mean to touch a nerve. Not accusing GM of anything. It's smart really. Why would you host an even and invite media coverage if there was a chance you would lose? Imagine the press backlash on that one! Obviously a CTS-V with a competent driver would beat the Jaguar. Now if I saw them toss a Panamera in there, then that would be a challenge, but then again, the Panamera is priced way above the Cadillac.

        And thipps, please read the article before posting (one of those things that people tend not to do on the net):

        "THE FIVE VEHICLES CHOSEN BY GM TO TAKE ON THE CTS-V DON'T STAND MUCH OF CHANCE."

        Enough said.

        Not saying anything wrong with it, just saying they made so it would be in their favour. As they should (why would you do it otherwise?).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, they did state the rules for the competition and I think it's totally within their right to make sure that the entrants matched the criteria. It's no more unfair than someone trying to sneak in an aftermarket special or other non-production sedan.

        It's not difficult to believe that out of 120 entries, that most of them either wouldn't stand a chance(i.e way underpowered), or that they felt they weren't stock sedans as was the challenge.

        I can't think of more than about 10-15 actual production sedans that would even be close to matching the performance of the CTS-V, certainly no where near 120. Outside of the Germans(M-cars, AMG-cars, RS-cars, and the Panamera), what sedans would even stand a chance? The Jag might be up there, but it's nowhere near as sport-oriented as the CTS-V. Aston's got the Rapide and Maserati has the Quattroporte, both of which I place in a similar slot as the XFR. Any Bentley or Rolls sedan would be too heavy(and also not sport-oriented) even if the power is close.

        Honestly, of any cars out there (that fit the criteria), I think the C63, E63, M3, M5, Panamera Turbo and maybe the RS4 (since we have no RS6 sedan available here) would be the only true competition and I think the CTS-V stands a good chance at beating any of them save the Panamera, I really haven't seen as much on it yet. That might honestly be the toughest competition with its high power and AWD.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a great initiative by GM. Hope they make it an annual event.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I haven't been in the CTS-V so I really have no idea how it handles....looking at it, it's size and proportions, and having driven plenty of other Caddillacs, I would guess that it would handle a bit like the C63/E63....Firm ride, barely more body roll than the competing BMW's, and a tendency to err on the side of oversteer more often than understeer. With the advances of the new E63, I believe with relative fervor (ok, I'm 85% certain) that if the same driver took both cars around the track in the same conditions, the E would be the drinking the milk.

      And I would bet my existence on the Panamera Turbo handing butts to everything in the field.

      The Jaguar is a different story. Personally, I don't put the XFR into this group because I revere it in a different way. It's beautiful, it's classy, it purrs sensuously. Sure, the ZF auto is so responsive that it feels very much like Benz's MCT, but it's a tourer. On that note, although I would choose the Jag over the Caddy in a heartbeat, I will be shocked if the XFR wins this bit.

      That's my two cents, I'm really curious to see the rest of the competitors.

      Oh, and if Bob really is out there practicing, can anyone tell me how this is a fair fight?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh good, I'm glad to hear that everyone else will be practiced up, that helps level the playing field....

        lol....unfortunately lots of things are stopping me from heading up there right now. But in response to your query, my level of certainty can be found by using the following highly scientific formula:
        C = whatever I want it to be (where "C" represents Certainty and "whatever I want it to be" represents a completely arbitrary and imaginary method for determining C)
        Actually though, I just have a lot more faith in German engineering. So much so, that I would gladly make that 100%, but CTS-V does have a not-so-insignificant horsepower advantage for a car with similar curb weight. Plus, I'm not ruling out the possibility that GM has built a car that truly handles better. It stings to say that and I doubt that, but I'm open-minded to admitting that the Cadillac can perform.

        I'm glad that no one has disagreed with my Porsche or Jaguar comments yet :) lol
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're totally right - I really would be an arrogant idiot if I tried to gauge a car's handling from photos alone and then post the news as gospel truth. I'd also be likely to slide or roll right of the pavement on a first-drive. (!!!)

        I find it funny that there are actually people out there that believe there wasn't a bit more science to my deduction.

        Silly people. :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        How in the heck can you tell how a car handles by looking at it? That's an impressive talent you have. I usually stick to looking at lap times ;)

        I don't think the CTS-V is afraid of anything with four doors aside from the Panerama. Now, I haven't taken a good look at the proportions of the Porsches, but lap times say its fast so I guess I'll just have to trust those.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bob is turning 97 next month.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You are the perfect example of arm chair quarterbacking! you just did a handling analyses on this car based off of pictures and video. People like yourself kill me. And if you dont think that every single challenger has practices on this track your crazy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nothing is stopping you from heading over the New York, and joining the club for some hot laps.

        Also I'd like to see your math of how you achieved 85% certainty. ;)
        • 5 Years Ago
        You cracked me up!!! I've never seen someone analyze a cars' handling from pictures :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Drop this stupid, rigged publicity stunt, pull the retarded, vote-of-no-confidence-in-our-own-product 60-day return program and GET BACK TO BUILDING GOOD CARS!!!!!!!!!!

      Oh, and try to make a buck or two in the process.

      GM seems to be obsessed with improving their image right now. They are focusing on the wrong thing. Build good cars. Build it and they will come. Don't lure them in with publicity stunts, only to lose them once they realize the cars are still crap.
        • 5 Years Ago
        When did GM ever say this contest would prevent them from building good cars? WHat are you talking about? Don't the CTS, Malibu, Camaro, Vette, Equinox, Lacrosse, etc. PROVE that GM is serious about making good cars? This is akin to complaining about car commercials in which cars are shown doing powerslides or speeding down moutain roads even though real owners wouldn't do such things. DOes anyone complain that Lexus or Audi or MB should "get back to making good cars" whenever they feature over the top advertising? Lexus established itself with bold advertising and arrogance.

        Also, those like Autoblog claiming this is "stacked" in GM's favor need to be more specific. The CTS is fast as hell and this has been PROVEN. Its not speculation or conjecture. There are only a handful of sedans that can hope to keep up with this car. Lutz is saying he believes the car can do what we ALREADY KNOW it can do. Why the hell would GM need to stack the deck against the competition when we know the CTS-V is superior? Any time you allow people to compete with an M5, M3, RS4 and Xf-R I am pretty sure you are not stacking the deck with "weak" competitors. The RS4 has AWD, is lighter than the CTS and isn't even on sale here anymore but they are still letting it compete. Autoblog thinks that's an example of GM tilting the playing field in Cadillac's favor? Spare me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Exactly, who cares. I'm not going to go into the dealership looking to buy a CTS-V, realizing I can't afford it and say "how about that colbalt". I don't flaunt my Focus as built by a company that built the Ford GT. I'd be a moron to think like that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Um, GM -is- building good cars. The image obsession you point out is justified, as the American customer is either die-hard, or incredibly fickle. We have to lure in customers to drive the product - and making outrageous claims and challenges piques the interest.

        Honestly.

        American auto manufacturers let the customer down in the 70s, 80s, and into the 90s. We lost significant market share and brand loyalty because we were producing plenty of vehicles that gave ample reasons to be disliked. We fell behind in quality, design and durability - and an American burned once is not likely to forget.

        I cannot speak for Chrysler (as I have not worked directly for them), however, I can say GM and Ford are producing world-class cars. The climb out of the hole started in the nineties and has been TOP priority ever since. Look at GM's current product lineup; class-leading fuel economy, quality matching and surpassing Asian competitors, new, exciting designs and fresh ideas.

        The product is there - it is just waiting for you to give it another look - and this kind of publicity stunt draws lots of attention.

        What happens if Bob and his CTS-V beat all of the competition? Remember the NASCAR slogan "Race on Sunday, sell on Monday? Maybe people will want to go drive the CTS-V at their local Cadillac dealership - decide $60K is too expensive, so the drive the base CTS instead....

        ...and they find that the 304 hp V6 gets the car to 60 in six seconds and the interior is a level of luxury and quality materials they would expect on a much more expensive car. Heck, if the CTS is nice, why not drive that cute new SRX? Maybe I could trade in my SUV on something better on fuel, but with a decent amount of space.

        I'm just sayin'...this is ALL about selling cars. Cars GM currently makes that are GOOD PRODUCTS. : )
      • 5 Years Ago
      Typical comments. GM gets this race going and everybody is already getting their excuses ready for when the CTS-V cleans house on a bunch of European cars. If it loses GM sucks, if it wins GM cheated. You all are so predictable.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great to see my hometown mentioned on Autoblog. Of course I haven't lived there since I was 8, but nice nonetheless.
      • 5 Years Ago
      IBLutzriggedeverythingGMcheatssomesortofBugattiwouldtotallyruleandHeinricyisunfair comments.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have no problem with this media event in and of itself--it's no different than any other manufacturer-sponsored "comparison" circus, in that the manufacturer makes sure it's going to come out looking good.

        What does bother me, though, is the mindset it represents. GM does not need to blow money promoting its halo cars. Halo cars have never been GM's problem, even in the dark days of the '80s and '90s--the enthusiast could always order up a ZR-1, or Aurora, or STS, etc... and have a world-class product (every one of which GM likely lost money on).

        GM needs to understand that *core products* are what matter, not high-profile pissing contests. They should be just as unafraid to compare their Aveos, or their Impalas, or their Equinoxes to everything else in the class and come out indisputably on top. GM still banks on consumers being dumb enough to project "Corvette heritage" onto their crap Cobalt and be happy with it, and that doesn't work anymore.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I saw that. : )
        Honestly - other car manufacturers are running the 'ring in their cars and comparing times posted by GM with the CTS-V and the ZR-1.

        Love it or hate it, GM still recognizes how to get the blood pumping through motorheads' veins - whether in support of the brand or in defense of another.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Note that there's a total noob to race driving with CTS-V in the mix, too. I wonder how he'll do...
        • 5 Years Ago
        PJ,
        Take a stop by your local GM franchise and check out the core products, you'll be surprised.
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