Meet Marty Ladwig

By Darr Hawthorne
Photos by Zak Hawthorne

This time last year, Marty Ladwig was racing a bone stock Sunfire in the NHRA Sport Compact Hot Rod class. Since then, a new and improved Pontiac Sunfire was developed which is more in line with the NHRA rule book, and was entered into competition at mid-year in '02. At the end of the season Ladwig and the Bothwell Motorsports GM Racing team found themselves finishing fifth in the Hot Rod championship points.

DRO's Darr Hawthorne talked with Ladwig earlier this year at Los Angeles County Raceway about sports compact drag racing.

DRO: Tell me a little bit about your background.

ML: Most of my background's been in motorcycle drag racing, but I've been drag racing cars and motorcycles about 20 years now.

DRO: Did you do a lot of testing over the winter?

ML: Yeah, we did quite a bit of testing, trying to increase the durability of the transmission, it's been our Achilles heel for the 2002 season, we've always had plenty of horsepower and that hasn't been the problem and so right now we're trying to work on applying it to the trans.

DRO: Do you get a lot of technical support directly from GM?

ML: Oh, it's amazing, we're able to use all the tools GM has, such as a wind tunnel and you know, they're able to analyze materials that break, like the half shafts and they put


their best engineers on it, so things like that, money can't buy.

DRO: Are they building your transmission?

ML: Right now we're working with Gordon Stoney. He used to be part of GM, and so it's still, together with GM, they're developing the 1465 transmissions.

DRO: Is this a completely new car or sort of an evolution of last year?

ML: This is a car we introduced in the middle of last year, to coincide with the introduction of the 2003 body style of the street Sunfire and that was happening over the year last year, so it's basically the same car that we started with in the middle of the season last year.

DRO: These cars weren't certainly meant to do what they're doing, front wheel drive wasn't meant to do what it's doing. Do you feel like you're chasing your tail sometime?

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