DRO: Is the Saturn project with Jim Epler part of GM's racing?

FS: To a minor degree. We're giving them some tech help, obviously. We're giving them some engine parts from us because we build them real high performance engine parts right now; it's just starting. They got in late compared to us, so I would say that that's gonna grow over time just like other teams and other people deciding that that may be something to investigate from a racing standpoint trying to provide assistance to a lot of people. I tell you one of the big things that we've done, that nobody's done, is we put this Ecotec how-to handbook together. We're giving the handbook away and we're giving a CD away to anyone who wants it. If you've got the wherewithal to build a race engine, it's got every part number, the 800 telephone number for where we got the parts, how we built the parts, how you put the parts together.

At the end of your exercise you end up with a thousand horsepower race engine. Nobody's done that. We're trying to spread the good word about bullet-proof small four cylinder engines, which really could be a cornerstone for a lot of drag race products.

DRO: This will all be available through GM Racing?

FS: Absolutely.

DRO: At the LA Auto Show this year Toyota debuted the Scion, which basically you can order and customize from Toyota right off the internet, just the way you want it. Is that sort of the future for this market?

FS: I don't know. Obviously this group is tuned into the internet. It's their primary means of communication. When you look at the drag racer, sport compact scene, it's internet communication or magazine communication, or I'll say word of mouth or going to club meetings; they don't read USA Today, it's not in the vocabulary there but that's ok, there's nothing wrong with that. We'll be doing a lot more communication through the internet, but whether you can buy a car necessarily and that's a ways down the road I think but the parts, you can buy parts today through GM Performance Parts on the internet.

DRO: Has there been any effort with GM Racing to steer these kind of racers away from the street and more into the drag strip?


Well, there is and I think just the main reason, it's one of the reasons we're here, to show you can take a production vehicle, race it. We've had safety seminars we've had one in Englishtown this past September open to the public to talk about helmets, five and six part harnesses, and all the pieces that we've got on the car, we had our Safety Engineer Tom Gideon there to put their hour long presentation on. We're coming back next month in Las Vegas, the NHRA race there the first one - doing it all over again. So the message is one of "Yeah, let's race, let's have some fun, but let's be safe to do all this." We don't need to be doing this on the street. Yeah, hop up your car, have some fun with it - you race at the race track.

DRO: Like they did in the late 1940s and early '50s.

FS: There's nothing new here. This is the same movement that we had in the '50s and '60s, but instead of a small block with the glass-packed mufflers, we got a 4 cylinder you tune with your laptop and it's got a Borla exhaust. The things that people did, I'll say the kids did in the '50s and '60s are the same things that kids are doing now, the parts are different. The front tires are smoking not the rear ones, it's a four cylinder not a V8, but they're tuning them up, they're doing the tires, the trick wheels, the brakes, the paint, the graphics, it's the same movement.

Previous INNERviews
Jimmy Rector — 2/19/03
Mitch Stott
— 2/19/03
Paul Romine
— 2/7/03
Annette Summer
— 1/8/03


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