A Historical Celebration of Road Sports Cars That Took To The Tracks...

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GT Racecar A to Z -  

Other US Marques

OLDSMOBILE AURORA GTS-1

( Raced in IMSA 1996-2002 , 9 GT-S class wins )

 ENGINE : G.M. V8 Cylinders

POWER :

WEIGHT :

PRODUCTION : 208,000  road cars ( 1995-03 )

Oldsmobile had been racing in Trans-Am and IMSA for many

years so when Pratt + Miller built a new slippery-shaped Aurora

racer for Brix to enter IMSA in 1996 all the years of experience  

paid off. The car was a silhouette-race car and had no doors as

such , quite different to the road going 4-door version.

The team ran 2 cars in 10 rounds and won the big GT class in 8 of   the races , with the experienced Irv Hoerr and Darin

Brassfield the main drivers. Its debut was the Daytona 24 hours

of 1996 and it set GT pole ahead of an interesting bunch of rivals

including the older Cutlass , Mustang , Bugatti EB , Lister Storm ,

Porsche 911 Evo , Viper and Callaway opposition. 7th overall and 2

laps ahead of the Mustang at the end to win the class. 2nd in class

at Sebring and then class wins in next 7 rounds proved the new

cars speed and reliability.

George Robinson took over the 2 cars for a reduced 1997 IMSA

season and safter retiring at Daytona , he , Hoerr and Jack

Baldwin took a class win at Sebring with 6th overall. That was the

last win as the car was no up against stronger opposition in the

form of Porsche 911 GT1 and Panoz GTR-1. A double retirement at

Daytona + Sebring in 1998 and thereafter occasional races until

2002 but the 1996 season had given the Marque a memorable  

season.

A.M.C.  A.M.X.

( Raced at Sebring 1970,80,81,82 , Daytona 24 1978,79,81,82,

plus other Imsa events and SCCA events )

 ENGINE : American Motors V8 6390 cc  ( 390 ci )

POWER :  up to 420 BHP in top tune

WEIGHT :   1361 KGS  ( Road )

PRODUCTION : 19,134  ( 1968-70 )

The short lived AMC Company had a very busy racing programe in        

the early 1970s , racing in Nascar ( with the Matodor model ) and

Trans-Am in his heyday with the Javelin. The AMX was unusual as

it was a pony car but unlike the Mustang it had no rear seats due

to having a shorter wheelbase. This placed the car in the sports

2-seater catogory against the dearer Corvette in both racing and

commercial terms. With the factory supporting other race series

the AMX was run by amatuer drivers and made its international

debut in March 1970 at the Sebring 12 hours. Bruce Morehead

with co-driver Milo Vega qualified 54th , half a minute down on

the Greenwood GT pole Corvette before retiring with engine

failure. Some SCCA races in 1970 and a solitary race in IMSA

from Steven Shepherd in 1974. That might have been it but for

Bob Lee and his `Bob`s Speed Products`AMX that despite the

old car being completely out-classed by the Porsches in GTO ran

in 15 IMSA events in Florida from 1977 to 1982. These included

4 times the Daytona 24 hours , 3 times the Sebring 12 hours and

8 times in the two shorter Daytona 250-mile races ( see panel ).

A good record from a group of enthusiasts in a car that was at

least 12 years old by the end.

Oldsmobile

A.M.C.

BOB LEE`s AMX Endurance race record :

PONTIAC

PONTIAC FIREBIRD `SILVERBIRD` Silhouette

 ( Raced in Trans-Am 1978 , 2 podiums. World

Championship of Makes )

ENGINE : V8 Cylinders 5998cc ( 6555cc )

POWER : 590 [email protected]   ( 220 bhp )

WEIGHT :  1317 KGS      ( 1673 kgs )

TOP SPEED : 144 MPH     ( 110? mph )

0-60 MPH :  4.0 seconds   ( 6.5 secs )

BHP PER TONNE : 448    ( 131.5 )

HEIGHT :   44 inches ( 49.5 )

( data from Road + Track test 1978 )

Adams Associates with sponsorship from Appliance

Wheels built a one-off silhouette Pontiac Firebird

based on the `78 model style and nicknamed it the

`Silverbird`to race in that years Trans-Am series.

Having owned a `78 Firebird in the UK this racer I

find interesting and when R + T did a comparison

with a road version to highlight how different the

Silverbird waswhilst retaining the silhouette shape.

Five and a half inches lower , 356 kilos lighter and

with all the US federal emissions restrictions that

blunted all the `pony` cars of the mid/late 70s , it

was massivly more powerful. Initial driver John

Morton had the cars teething troubles with 3 DNF

and a DNS with the cars third outing in Trans-Am

at round 5 Watkins Glen also counting in the`World

Championship of Makes`but lasted just 8 laps and

off the pace again. The final 3 races saw the car

improve and Jerry Thompson was placed 3rd at

Road America despite being out of fuel at the end.

Milt Minter gave the car its final and best finish ,

qualifying 3rd at Laguna Seca and finishing 2nd

behind that years champion Greg Pickett.

Firbird`s would get their day in Trans-Am thanks

to Elliott-Forbes Robinson in the next gen cars

in the 1982 season.

 

Silverbird race history - Trans-Am 1978

 PONTIAC FIREBIRD series 1

( Trans-Am , 3rd place Daytona 1969 )

ENGINE : GM V8 Cylinders 4956cc

POWER :

WEIGHT :

TOP SPEED :

PRODUCTION :

Craig Fisher had given the brand new Firebird 3

podiums in Trans-Am in the latter half of the 1968

season but when one such car finished 3rd overall

at the prestigiuos Daytona 24 hours the following

February it was a genuine suprise. Behind the 5

works Porsche prototypes , gulf GT40 pair and trio

of American-entered Lolas there wasnt much else

so the chance of a well run GT car finishing high up

after 24 long hours was a real possibilty. Jon Ward

and his hotshoe driver Jerry Titus shared the lone

Firebird were up against 9 Camaros ( the sister

car from Chevrolet ) in the `Touring class` and had

qualified a decent 16th out of 60. The pair picked

off the faster cars and grabbed 3rd at the end.

Firebirds would return to Daytona 14 more times

to 1998 and not have another top 10 finish in the

famous race.

Tragically Titus , who had raced various sports

machinery and Can-Am cars died the following

August after a crash in his Firebird at Road

America in qualifying for the Trans-Am race.