Book Preview Of Solstice Performance
The Pontiac Solstice has generated interest from Pontiac aficionados and other performance-minded drivers since it was introduced as a show car. While many have been enjoying it on the street since late 2005, the Solstice is now building a great rep on the racetrack as well. With that interest growing, Pontiac wanted to make it easy for hobbyists to "see" what it would take to build a Solstice into a fun, fast and safe Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) racer. An overview of the upgrades required to begin racing your Solstice is presented here in a preview from Solstice Performance, a new, in-depth technical book available at your GM dealer (GM PN 88958697) in October 2007, or on-line at www.gmperformancedivision.com.
Cars For Classes
The SCCA has two road racing classes in which the Solstice can compete: "Showroom Stock B" (often call SSB) and "Touring 2" (often called T2). The SSB class is for the base 177 hp Solstice. This is a great entry-level class, as this Solstice has excellent grip and braking capabilities, but this engine package requires the driver to maintain as much corner speed as possible. The T2 class allows the 260 hp turbocharged Solstice GXP.
Many of the safety and performance upgrades are the same between the SSB and T2 classes, but the T2 car will be faster, due to its additional 80 hp and the fact that the T2 class also allows wider wheels and tires, a big radiator and a few other small changes.
You can use a base 177 hp...
You can use a base 177 hp Solstice to run in the "Showroom Stock B" class or the turbocharged 260 hp Solstice GXP for "Touring 2" as the basis for building an SCCA-legal racer. The Solstice being turned into a racer here is the turbocharged GXP version, but most of the upgrades between the two Solstice racers are similar.
Building A Solstice Racer
The majority of the changes required on the Solstice to make it SCCA road racing legal are centered around safety, but some are to improve performance. These changes include adding a six-point rollcage with door bars, a racing seat, six-point seatbelts, a racing steering wheel, a fire suppression system, window net and an interior head restraint net.
Racing pushes the drivetrain to the limit, so for T2 Solistices, a larger radiator should be installed, and a differential cooler is needed. In both classes, the stock fluids (coolant, engine oil, transmission oil, power steering fluid and differential fluid) should all be replaced with high-temp racing-style fluids. For outright increases in performance, a Hi-Po air cleaner element and straight-through exhaust are the only components allowed (mainly because the Solstice is already a fast road racer without much done to it).
There are a few more little details that need to be attended to before a Solstice is ready to hit the track-but not many. The Solstice was designed for performance with its hydroformed framerails, unequal length A-arm suspension and excellent weight balance, so making one into an excellent road racing vehicle isn't that hard-which is good, as building a Solstice road racer is really about having fun with a great handling vehicle.
For more information on racing a Pontiac Solstice in the SCCA, check out www.scca.org or www.gmperformancedivision.com
|SCCA Wheel And Tire Specs For Solstice|
|These fit in the stock wheelwell openings with no modifications.|
|Front Wheel||18 x 8.0/6.6-in backspace||18 x 9.5/7.75-in backspace|
|Rear Wheel||18 x 8.0/6.6-in backspace||18 x 9.5/6.6-in backspace|
Read The Book: Solstice Performance
If you want to learn more about building a road racer Pontiac Solstice, check out the new technical build book from Pontiac, Solstice Performance (GM PN 88958697). Out in October 2007, it provides details on how to upgrade a Solstice to meet the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) racing requirements, how to set up the chassis, and tips on how to go fast at the racetrack. There are more than 800 photos that show the details for creating a fun, competitive Solstice road racer.
The first step to making a...
The first step to making a Solstice ready for SCCA road racing is to remove the interior, along with some of the suspension and drivetrain pieces, to install the racing-required systems. SCCA rules require the car to have most of the interior and exterior when it goes racing-so don't just cut this stuff off and throw it away! You'll need to modify it to fit around the rollcage and other performance equipment, and reinstall it later on.
One of the bigger modifications...
One of the bigger modifications required to run SCCA races with the Solstice is the addition of a six-point rollcage. The tubing is 1.7-inch OD, 0.095 wall, mild steel DOM (SAE1010, SAE1020 or SAE1025) for this rollcage and was pre-bent, based on previous ones built for Solstice racers. It will still require tuning and finesse to install, but employing a shop with vast experience in this area is a good idea to get the highest quality rollcage for your Solstice racer.
To properly install the six-point...
To properly install the six-point rollcage, the gas tank needs to be removed. This requires the rear differential to be removed from the vehicle, which is not a simple task. It is achievable with patience and is really necessary, as it allows the rear downbars of the rollcage to be properly welded to the rear framerails.
The rollcage is being fit...
The rollcage is being fitted.
If you can start with a new...
If you can start with a new car, order a Pontiac Solstice from the factory with the special racer prepped RPO "Z0K." It will then come with special suspension components-like these performance-valved shock absorbers...
...stiffer sway bars (computer...
...stiffer sway bars (computer image shows Z0K bar [blue] with more wall thickness than the stock swaybar [green]) and a stiffer rear differential mount (not shown) designed for performance driving. The Z0K-optioned car also comes A/C delete, for weight savings.