BUTTONWILLOW, Calif. - Timing is everything, and the timing of the new Cobalt SS Supercharged's introduction couldn't be better. As Chevy's new sport compact performance car debuts in dealer showrooms, it already has a record-setting pedigree. Driver John Heinricy piloted a race-prepared Cobalt SS Supercharged on a challenging road course at the Buttonwillow Raceway Park on July 21, 2005, besting both the legendary Nissan Skyline and the new Volkswagen Jetta by more than seven seconds. The Cobalt SS, which is based on Chevy's new factory-built front-wheel-drive Super Sport, posted a time of 1:58 around Buttonwillow's #13 track configuration, which was fast enough to eclipse the marks set by the All-Wheel-Drive, twin-turbo Skyline (2:05) and the nitrous-charged Jetta (2:07).
"It was an absolute blast to run the Cobalt SS Supercharged flat-out on the Buttonwillow track," said Heinricy, current SCCA driving champion and GM Performance Division's Director of High Performance Vehicle Operations. "GM Performance Division and the Powell Motorsports crew gave me a perfectly prepared car, and the Ecotec engine ran flawlessly."
A television crew from Speed Channel's Street Tuner Challenge was on hand to direct the day's competition at the track. The Street Tuner Challenge chose three vehicle makes representing North America (Chevrolet Cobalt SS), Europe (Volkswagen Jetta) and Asia (Nissan Skyline) and followed each team throughout a 13-week build competition. The Cobalt build team was comprised of engineers and designers from the GM Performance Division and Powell Motorsports, while the Nissan Skyline was built by XS Engineering and the Jetta was assembled by Autobahn Designs. The final time attack race served as the build completion and the culmination of Speed Channel's taping. For program times, please check Speed Channel's Web site at http:www.speedtv.com.
The production Cobalt SS Supercharged has strong performance credentials in factory trim. Powered by a supercharged and intercooled 205-horsepower, 2.0-liter Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine and equipped with a tenacious suspension developed on Germany's famed Nurburgring race track, the production Cobalt SS Supercharged will bring more heat to the already red-hot sport compact segment.
GM Performance Division created the Cobalt SS for this time attack competition to demonstrate the ultimate capabilities of the four-cylinder, supercharged Ecotec engine and Chevy's new front-wheel-drive "tuner" car. The program was led by the GM Performance Division, in collaboration with Chevrolet, GM Powertrain, GM Performance Parts, and GM Design. Powell Motorsports in Blackstock, Ontario, Canada provided vehicle preparation and logistical support for the successful assault on the time attack.
"The Cobalt SS Supercharged surpassed every expectation we had going into this competition," said Heinricy. "We came to Buttonwillow to demonstrate the performance and reliability of the Ecotec engine on a very demanding track. The Cobalt SS and the entire team performed to the highest standards. We're out here to be the best, and today we proved that Chevy and GM Performance Division race to win."
Enthusiasts will be able to catch a live glimpse of the Time Attack Cobalt SS Supercharged this November at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. It will also run on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2005 in Super Street magazine's Time Attack at Buttonwillow Raceway Park.