Buick may not have the racing panache of Chevrolet or the late Pontiac, but don’t count it out of the race: the marque fielded a 2012 Regal GS sport sedan in this weekend’s Silver State Classic Challenge in Nevada, and walked away with first prize in its class.
The Silver State Classic Challenge is a road rally that takes place on a closed-off 90-mile stretch of Nevada State Highway 318, ending about 120 miles north of Las Vegas. Drivers must average a particular speed, which is set by the officials, over the entire course, no matter the makeup of straights or curves.
The 2012 Regal GS was entered into the 120mph class of the SSSC–which means the driver must average 120 mph–and finished the course in 45 minutes, 0.0192 seconds, averaging a speed of 119.9991 mph. It was enough for the drivers to win best in class and beat 34 other rookie teams to win the special award for Most Accurate Rookie.
The team, it should be said, was hardly novice: the car was driven by the Regal GS model’s lead development engineer, Bill Rietow, and navigated by GS drive quality powertrain engineer John Townsend riding shotgun.
One would think that a Buick wouldn’t be well suited for racing, but the rally car was well-kitted: Rietow and Townsend’s ride was a stock 2012 Regal GS, which comes equipped with a 270-hp, 295 lb-ft turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and a top speed of 152 mph. For the race Buick only added a custom-fitted rollbar and five-point seatbelts, and Rietow said late Sunday that the car ran “smoothly, quietly and cool” throughout the course, hitting a top speed of 137 mph early in the race.
The new 2012 Regal GS will go on sale this fall. Until then, enjoy the videos from the rally below.