DETROIT—With cost-cutting hitting GM hard, media outlets are saying their motorsports division has been seeing the worst of it. To investigate these claims, we went to Detroit.
An engineer looked up from his workbench as we opened the door to the shop. It was freezing cold inside. As we walked in he asked us,
“You guys here from the magazine?
“Yeah well just to warn you, we didn’t really get much of a budget this year. C7.R from last year got wrecked and w-”
His explanation was interrupted by an extremely loud grinding in the background. The engineer turned around and yelled, “CAN YOU TURN THAT OFF FOR FIVE FUCKING SECONDS?”
The noise stopped followed by a muffled, “sorry!”
“As I was saying, we lost last year’s car and corporate gave us a really tight budget. Last year we got three million dollars for the car. This year we got four thousand, and a few gift cards to Denny’s.”
“You guys want to go to Denny’s after this?”
We shook our heads.
“Alright, whatever. Cars over here.”
Up on jack stands was a yellow 2001 Cavalier. It had fender flares from what looked like a Jeep Wrangler. The rear wing was clearly an Ebay piece, and, “THE MIGHTY CAV” was written on the side in spray paint, slowly getting smaller as the artist ran out of room.
“We got an LN2 under the hood, aluminum head of course. Got an Ebay turbo on it. Kit hooked up pretty nice. Ran like a top once we welded shut the wastegate.”
The raised hood very clearly had a cutout for an exhaust to go through, and a large poorly fabricated scoop. He closed the hood to reveal the word, “FUCK” spray painted backwards on its surface.
“Fenders are a little boxed out for the bigger wheels and tires. Damn near spent half our budget on some used Hoosiers.”
We asked the man to explain the particle board that was bolted to the car’s front bumper.
“That’s our splitter. That’s gonna give us that ground effect aero. Juan our math guy says we’re gonna make the car’s weight in downforce.”
He gestured toward Juan in the corner, who picked his nose, examined it, and then wiped the booger under his seat.
“Real sharp guy.”
We walked towards the back of the car to see a very large particle board diffuser, and a man taking a blowtorch to the car’s rear coil springs.
“We saved 10 pounds of weight just by taking a hole saw to the fire wall and the trunk floor. He popped the trunk to show us. A raccoon skittered out from inside.
He swung at it with the end of a 2×4. “Little fucker get out of here!”
He dropped the piece of 2×4 as the animal ran out of an ajar garage door. He looked back at us, tired.
“If you guys get too cold we got the barrel over there.” Outside of the half-opened garage door was a 40 gallon drum billowing black smoke.
“Goddamn OSHA says we can’t have it inside. Uncle Sam trying to fuck us if you ask me.”