UPDATE – WE WERE SELECTED TO GO AGAINST BOB LUTZ IN THE CTS-V.
Recently, GM started a new marketing campaign titled “May The Best Car Win”. As part of this campaign, General’s top CarGuy, Bob Lutz challenged the automotive journalists “to find a stock production sedan on the planet that could outperform the CTS-V on the track”. This challenge has been accepted by Jalopnik’s Wes Siler who will be driving a Jaguar XFR. The challenge was further opened to other participants and guess what? For the heck of it, my friend Mike and I have entered the contest to take on this challenge in a 2008 BMW M5!
The premise of the challenge is to go around Monticello Motor Club’s track faster than Bob Lutz, who will be driving a Cadillac CTS-V. Any “car comparable to the Cadillac CTS-V (a 4-door production stock sport sedan)” is eligible, and the latest BMW M5 seems to fit the bill quite nicely. The rules also state that the car must not be modified from stock and only the registered owner may be the driver.
2008 BMW M5 with SMG transmission. 13,000 miles, original tires and original brake pads. The Space Gray car is pretty much fully loaded (read: heavy) with:
- Full merino leather (dash/doors/panels/rear of seats/everywhere)
- Comfort Access
- Head-Up Display
- 20-way front seats with active width adjustment
- Heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel
- Folding rear seat
- Soft close doors
- Premium sound with iPod control and Sirius
- Rear side airbags
- Three child seats in the back
- Fifteen soccer balls and a stroller in the trunk (yes, they fit)
The car is factory stock. The owner is a good friend of mine named Mike who, per the rules, will be driving the car. He has no prior racing experience , however his driving skills were polished at the Porsche Sport Driving and BMW M Schools.
Monticello Motor Club’s track can be configured in a variety of ways, from something resembling a big auto-cross course to a track with long straights where fast cars can really get some speed. The only things that are not present in abundance at MMC are long fast turns. I would imagine that the track for this challenge would be set up for something in between the fastest and slowest configuration, where the cars will probably be able to get up to approximately 90mph on long straight and then go through several slow, tight turns.
The challenge was originally set up for Northern California’s Laguna Seca, a track full of long straights, fast corners, and some tricky bits thrown in for good measure. The CTS-V would have had an advantage at Laguna as power rules there, however at MMC’s, with its slower turns, the M5 vs. CTS-V may be more of an even match-up. Having said that, I believe that at the end of the day, it will be the driver’s skill that matters the most. Ironically, Road & Track tested the CTS-V and the M5 at the very same track with the CTS-V running a 2:44.23 to BMW’s 2:44.70, both having been driven by experienced racers.
Let’s Be Honest…
Let’s be honest for a second here. GM would not make a challenge such as this opened to everyone if it was not in it to win. It will have cars that will likely be the pick-of-the-litter, with most powerful engines and least amount of optional equipment (less extra weight). These Cadillacs will also probably be equipped with new tires and new brake pads. In addition, I have a feeling, that there may be a few victory-ensuring tricks thrown in, such as some high-temperature-rated brake fluid, better brake pads, etc. No one will really know and probably no one will really care.
Why We May Get Selected?
Before we go to this challenge, we must first get selected , most likely from a hundred other guys just like us. I have a feeling that GM will pick a challenger in each car that the CTS-V is comparable to; Audi S6, BMW M5, Mercedes E63, and Jalopnik’s Jaguar XFR. GM will be looking for a combination of car and driver that will present the least amount of challenge and we may just have that! Ha! We’re looking forward to having some fun on the track and meeting some cool people. Wish us luck!
Photo, courtesy of Damian Morys.