PRI 2012: Chevy Performance Introduces Sonic B-Spec Race Car Concept

 

It’s been a hard time for racing across the country. The economy is still not that great and pulling money for a racing venture can be hard. But what if you could go competitive SCCA racing for less than $30,000…including the price of the car? That’s exactly what a myriad of manufactures are doing with their new B-Spec program designed for the hot hatches. From Mazda, Mini, Ford, and now Chevy Performance, you can easily equip a new Sonic hatchback with what you need to go fast.

The program starts with a showroom fresh Sonic LT hatchback, which can be had for around $15,000. From there, a prospective racer can purchase all the class legal parts directly from a Chevy Performance retailer. Parts include:

  • Front strut coil-over assemblies and mounts (non-adjustable for dampening)
  • Rear shock coil-over assemblies and mounts (non-adjustable for dampening)
  • Adjustable front stabilizer bar links
  • Rear axle shim kit
  • Inlet air restrictor
  • Recalibrated ECM and EBCM

From there, it’s up to the builder to construct their own roll cage per SCCA and World Challenge regulations, along with a racing seat, arm restraints, fire system, etc. Since these builds are so tame, being able to drive a B-Spec Sonic racer to and from local racing events could be a reality. The concept vehicle is shown with a Monaco Blue-painted roll cage, carbon fiber racing seat, five-point safety harness, window safety net, center catch net, quick-release steering wheel/hub system and a fire extinguisher.

“Sonic B-Spec concept demonstrates the car’s capabilities in the increasingly popular B-Spec subcompact classes in several racing series,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Sonic’s great balance of power and responsive handling make it a natural on the track – and a formidable competitor.”

Much of the Sonic B-Spec kit’s evaluation has come at road courses around the United States, including Virginia International Raceway and the most recent testing session at Barber Motorsports Park, in Birmingham, Alabama. Through such development and validation testing, engineers ran the Sonic B Spec through the equivalent of a season’s worth of racing, ensuring it is not only a fast race car, but one that will hold up to the rigors of competition.

Like the other vehicles in B-Spec classes, the Sonic race car concept’s 1.8L engine remains unchanged from its factory specifications, although an air restrictor is employed to equalize its output with other competitors. It is backed by the production five-speed manual transmission.

The Sonic B-Spec competition kit is anticipated to go on sale in the first quarter of 2013 through Chevrolet Performance retailers.

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About the author

Mark Gearhart

In 1995 Mark started photographing drag races at his once local track, Bradenton Motorsports Park. He became hooked and shot virtually every series at the track until 2007 until he moved to California and began working as a writer for Power Automedia. He was the founding editor for its first online magazines, and transitioned into the role of editorial director role in 2014. Retiring from the company in 2016, Mark continues to expand his career as a car builder, automotive enthusiast, and freelance journalist to provide featured content and technical expertise.
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