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Entered Bob Lutz’s CTS-V Challenge!

October 13, 2009 Stories 16 Comments

mike m5 650x389 Entered Bob Lutz’s CTS V Challenge!


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 Challenge:

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.

Our Car:

1553  320x240 m5b Entered Bob Lutz’s CTS V Challenge! 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.

The Track:

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?

1563  320x240 3270640492 cab188f93b b Entered Bob Lutz’s CTS V Challenge! 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.

Currently there are "16 comments" on this Article:


    I hope this is a real challenge by GM. There can be many variations that can determin a win or loss for the contestant.
    Either way this is a win for GM’s public image showing they can go toe-to-toe with the top of it’s class.

    That is the direction I feel this will go and in order for GM to get the leg up it will boast how it can all be had for less then competitors product.

  2. Brian Driggs says:

    Give ‘em hell, you guys!

  3. [...] friends Kamil over at CarGuyDad just emailed us to inform that he will be challenging the Cadillac CTS-V in the new marketing [...]

  4. bmwdownshift says:

    Just make sure it’s a fair race. Luts better be practicing on their internat Grand Tourismo. game

  5. bob knox says:

    Lutz??? Yeah right. Don’t be supprised if Johhny O’ or Jan show up to drive the CTS-V. GM isn’t stupid. I say all’s fair to put brake pads and new fluid in the M5. After all it’s a safety requirement :)

  6. Chris Graff says:

    Well, if Caddy is stacking the odds, so should you:

    1. Get a set of brake pads that’ll last the distance (Porterfield R4S or equivalent). When they inspect the car they won’t be able to tell.
    2. You’re due for brake fluid flush anyway (2 years from date of manufacturing); get that done for free by the dealer.
    3. The stock suspension has a good amount of adjustability, have that specs set for max camber that you can.
    4. Use the correct tire pressures for the PS2s. Also check to make sure that the PS2s that Caddy will use are the runflats – or extended mobility. According to the website, those are what’s stock on the Caddy. The M5 should have non-runflat PS2s.
    5. If you’re sneaky, get a Dinan throttle bodies and software download. It’s not a visible mod and gives a little boost to the car.

  7. The CTSV did not have an advantage at laguna. Power is not what matters their, it is more about the cars abilitly to get into the corner, not off the corner. Thats why they changed the track to MMC, the CTSV has a much bigger advantage dur to its better power down grip and speed than the m5

  8. JackFlash says:

    Quit making excuses and go take your whoopin.

  9. Heard Lutz on Detroit talk radio this morning, and, sure, they want to win. But, Bob was just a bit nervous about the quality of drivers out there. Tells me there’s a genuine competition going on.

    Good luck!!!

  10. Bob Knox:

    Actually, you’re right. Bob Lutz also said this morning that they’re bringing in a test track driver to drive a second CTS-V, but he’ll definitely drive one himself. He was pretty clear that *he* may not have the fastest lap…

  11. Great job today, hope you guys had fun and Bob didn’t grandstand too much afterwards

  12. Allen says:

    My problem with this: the three drivers who won were all pros. Take the pros out of the mix, and the BMW M3 won.

  13. Kamil says:

    Allen, you nailed it on the head… Hopefully I’ll have a write up, pics and videos from the event this weekend.
    Regardless, we had a blast today and got to meet some really cool people.

  14. Chris Fairman says:

    Nice meeting you two at the event. Dave and I rolled back into Ann Arbor at about 3 a.m. after the track day. The GM engineers I spoke to gave lots of credit to the M5. They thought it was the only one, (along with the V, of course) that could go all day at the track right off the dealer’s lot. I thought even though it was a GM biased day, we were surrounded by “car guys” and each had something good to say about all of the cars there. I’d like to own each one of them. For me, this time around the V was the choice for me. Doesn’t mean I don’t love the Bmers too. The different roars we heard goind down that back stretch were all very cool. I’m still not sure if I enjoyed the sound of the M5 or the caddy best. They were both awesome, in different ways.

    Hope all is well. your site is awesome. I’ll be subscribing right after this goes out.


  15. Kamil says:

    It was great to meet you too. I’m going to shoot you and Tom an email later today; sorry, for the delay, I’ve been having a crazy week.

  16. John D says:

    Now that he’s semi-retired Lutz spends most of his time flying his fighter jet. I met him at SEMA and my bet would be he can really drive. M5 vs CTS-V is a classic match-up so hopefully you guys will be chosen.

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