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It’s Amazing What Engineers Can Come Up With In Their Spare Time

Photo: Ed Pancost

The Sports Car Club of America sanctions autocross events across the United States through its various regions, with the finale being the Tire Rack Solo National Championship event in Nebraska each year. Even automakers have gotten in on the fun, with General Motors competing in official capacity with its Performance Driving Team. The squadron has been competing in SCCA autocross events for the last four years, with a high degree of success, and they run everything from brand-new Camaro SS 1LE coupes to C7 Corvette convertibles. This is both to show off the capabilities of their performance products as a recruiting tool, and to shake them down. And every season, there’s some kind of off-the-wall project that the team enters in the nearly-anarchistic CAM-C class. Last year, it was a 2019 Camaro Turbo 1LE with roughly 100 more horsepower and torque over stock. Thanks to its light weight and V8 levels of power delivery, GM’s little monster took the CAM-C national championship in 2018. For the 2019 season, the GM High Performance Driving Team built the “ATS-V.C,” which is an extremely modified Cadillac ATS-V sedan. This car also competes in the no-holds-barred CAM-C class.

The GM Performance Driving Team is made up of nearly 1,000 General Motors employees, and everything is done exclusively off-the-clock. The team isn’t just made up of the chassis dynamic team or company hot shoes, either, as any employee who is passionate about GM performance cars are welcomed aboard.

Cadillac ATS-V.C
ATS-V.C Next To Last Year’s CAM-C Champion

Despite the CTS-V being the more powerful sedan, the smaller size and lighter weight of the Cadillac ATS-V are better suited to the tightness of an autocross course. Along with the CAM-C plug in its name, the ATS-V.C pays homage to the ATS-V.R GT3 race car that Cadillac raced in the World Challenge Series for a couple of seasons. Looking at the extensive build sheet for this car shows that the GT3 car may have inspired more than just the name. And the car itself looks absolutely mean thanks to its hacked fenders and extremely fat rubber at all four corners. 315/30/18 BFG Rival S 1.5 tires, to be exact.

“It’s rewarding to see that the V.C is proving to be a competitive car in the Classic American Muscle scene. We never really know until we take it to competition,” said GMPDT driver Alex Doss to MC&T. “A project like this requires countless man-hours to accomplish in one summer. It’s a labor of love, the kind of project you become personally invested in.”

Doss says that the team removed over 250 lbs of weight from the Cadillac ATS-V, coming it at around 3,550 pounds. They’re targeting a lower weight of 3,400 pounds for Solo Nationals. Things like the auxiliary intercoolers and HVAC system are being considered for removal.

We’ve seen the car compete in various SCCA autocross events (video provided below), and it looks like a riot. Most recently the ATS-V.C driven by Doss took third place at the CAM Challenge last weekend in Peru, Indiana. It was the final Tire Rack CAM Challenge of the regular season, before Solo Nationals happening between September 2nd-6th in Lincoln, Nebraska.

For a large number of automotive enthusiasts, autocross offers a high performance driving experience without the large cost of entry found in other motorsports such as road course racing. The technical courses allow drivers to discover more nuances of a vehicle’s dynamics, and competition among drivers is fierce, with even pro racers both past and present regularly participating. Names such as Andy Pilgrim and Randy Pobst cut their teeth in autocross before becoming high-profile racing drivers, for example.

While there are sure to be ace drivers from around America aiming to take home a jacket and bragging rights, we wouldn’t bet against the GM Performance Driving Team. In only four years of competition the team has proven that they are capable of being champions with the same Alpha platform underpinnings. It also helps the pair of Dave Schmitt and Matt Bush, who were responsible for tuning the Turbo 1LE last season, have returned to make the most of the modifications done to the ATS-V.C. One thing is for sure, and that is that this is not your grandfather’s Cadillac. Or even your neighbor’s ATS-V.

“More than a few team members have gone above and beyond the regular GMPDT volunteer work hours to make this car happen. I can’t begin to name them all,” said Doss. “The GM Performance Driving Team is just that, a team, and without it the Cadillac ATS-V.C would not be possible. Win or lose at Nationals, we fully expect it to show well.”

ATS-V.C Build Details:

Base Vehicle: 2018 Cadillac ATS-V Sedan – LF4 twin-turbo V6, Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual

-Tuned for 93-octane
-20 psi peak boost
-500 hp @ 6250 rpm, 480 ft-lb @ 3000 rpm
-Anti-lag – spark and timing retard to maintain 10psi when off throttle
-Exhaust scavenging – high cam timing overlap to build boost faster at high load / low rpm
-Straight through exhaust with resonators from a 5thgen Camaro ZL1 and turn down tips

Chassis and Suspension:
-Front camber plates (borrowed from GT4 Camaro race car)
-Custom front upper and lower spring perch adapters with 3-in. OD linear race spring
-Rear spring perch adapters with 2.25-in. linear race spring
-Factory Magnetic Ride shocks with custom calibration
-Custom eLSD calibration

Wheels and Tires:
-18×11” wheels with 315/30/18 BFG Rival S 1.5 tires on all four corners
-Front and rear sheet metal modification for tire clearance

Supporting Mods:
-Bucket race seats
-Rear seat delete
-Sound deadening and audio removal for light weighting.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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