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.
me a little bit about your background.
of my background's been in motorcycle
drag racing, but I've been drag racing
cars and motorcycles about 20 years now.
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
best engineers on it, so things like that, money
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