Buick engineers will pilot vehicle in 2012 Nevada Open Road Challenge
The 2012 Buick Regal GS sport sedan, along with two Buick engineers, will compete in the Nevada Open Road Challenge on May 21 seeking to repeat a class victory in the event.
In September 2011, GS lead development engineer Bill Rietow with GS powertrain engineer John Townsend as his navigator won the 120-mph class of the Silver State Classic Challenge, which takes place on the same open road course. The team also won a "Most Accurate Rookie" award with a 0.019-second deviation from the perfect 45-minute time to complete the course.
"We learned a lot about the intricacies of the course on our first time out" said Rietow. "We now know that the segment known as 'the Narrows' can be safely negotiated at 90 mph. By planning the slow down into and the acceleration rate out of the Narrows, we can more accurately control our pace to the target average speed. At times, we'll need to run at the GS's top speed."
In this month's race, the Regal GS will compete against world class sports cars in the more difficult 135-mph class.
"The competition in this class was really good last fall and we look forward to competing," said Townsend. "Weather is going to be an interesting factor this time around, with headwinds as high as 20 mph possible."
The Nevada Open Road Challenge, like the September event, takes place on a remote, two-lane, 90-mile-long segment of Nevada State Highway 318. Rather than a test of who finishes a course the fastest, the goal is average speed consistency. In the Regal's class, the team that averages closest to 135 mph over the entire course wins. In many instances, the top three finishers are just hundredths of seconds off the target time.
The Regal GS being piloted by Rietow and Townsend is a stock 2012 model, with modifications limited to safety equipment such as a roll hoop and five-point harness seat belts, as well as data collection computers.
"This is another great opportunity to showcase the GS and its comfort and capability at real-world condition high speeds," Rietow said. "Stability, body control and durability are all being tested to extremes. Events like these provide safe conditions for us to get away from the test track to gather unique data that will benefit future development of our vehicles."
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