LAS VEGAS – Chevrolet will broaden its sport compact drag racing program in 2005 with the introduction of the new Cobalt Phase 5 dragster. Unveiled today at the SEMA Show, the production-based Cobalt Phase 5 race car features powertrain, chassis and safety components developed by GM Racing – including a 500-plus horsepower race-prepared Ecotec engine that inspired the Phase 5 name. This demonstration vehicle is designed to show sport compact drag racers how they can build their own front-wheel-drive Cobalt dragsters using GM and aftermarket parts.

“Chevrolet has been the cornerstone of drag racing since the debut of the GM small-block V-8 nearly 50 years ago,” said GM Racing director Doug Duchardt. “Now Chevrolet will revolutionize this distinctly American sport again with the introduction of the Cobalt Phase 5. Developed and tested by GM engineers, this race car is an example of what sport compact performance enthusiasts can do to create their own Cobalt race cars.”

The heart of the Phase 5 Cobalt is a turbocharged 2.2-liter Ecotec engine that’s been modified to produce 535 horsepower while retaining 65 percent of the production engine parts. The race car features GM and aftermarket components, including a race-prepared Hydra-Matic 4T65-E automatic transmission, suspension upgrades, and performance electronics. It is anticipated that some independent teams will race their version of the Cobalt Phase 5 in 2005.

“Chevrolet has captured the attention of sport compact tuners across the nation through its PRO FWD sport compact drag racing and top-level NHRA programs,” said Fred Simmonds, GM Racing drag racing manager. “Now GM is opening the door for them to race with Chevy by offering components specifically engineered for sport compact drag racing. Starting with the new Cobalt’s world-class architecture, a sport compact racer can install components of the Phase 5 package as his or her time and budget allow.”

The Cobalt Phase 5 dragster was created by the same team of GM Racing engineers who developed the championship-winning front-wheel-drive race cars driven by Nelson Hoyos and Marty Ladwig. GM Racing is literally writing the book on building a competitive front-wheel-drive sport compact drag car: An instruction manual will guide enthusiasts through the step-by-step modifications to prepare a production Cobalt for quarter-mile competition.

“The individual components of the Phase 5 race car are designed for straightforward installation,” explained Carmen Smith, GM Racing program manager for sport compact drag racing. “We have created a car that racers can build in their own shops using available parts. For example, the front suspension includes GM production uprights and an aftermarket coil-over kit.”

Many of the components of the Phase 5 package are available from GM Performance Parts, including a ported Ecotec cylinder head, competition camshafts, adjustable camshaft drive gears, neutral balance shafts, and a race-prepared transmission. The rear suspension is a bolt-on assembly from the Cobalt SS Supercharged with an upgraded sway bar, five-bolt hubs and disc brakes. Items such as the turbocharger, engine management system, struts, shock absorbers and safety equipment are available from aftermarket suppliers.

Safety is the No. 1 priority at GM Racing, and lessons learned in other GM programs have been applied to the Cobalt Phase 5 dragster. The Cobalt race car incorporates numerous safety features, including a six-point roll cage, a six-point safety harness, racing seats, an onboard fire suppression system, SFI-spec roll bar padding, a crushable steering column, and steering wheel-mounted transmission controls.

The four-cylinder Ecotec has many of the virtues that previously propelled the GM small-block V-8 to greatness: simplicity, versatility, reliability, innovative design, smoothness and boundless potential. The Ecotec engine family – GM’s first global engine design – is a class leader in power, torque and refinement. It features lightweight aluminum construction, four-valve cylinder heads and dual overhead camshafts.

The Ecotec has already established its performance credentials by winning championships and setting records from Pomona Raceway to the Bonneville Salt Flats . The turbocharged Ecotec engines that propelled GM Racing’s front-wheel-drive Cavalier and Sunfire entries to championships in the 2004 NHRA Summit Sport Compact Drag Racing Series produce more than 1,200 horsepower.

“Chevrolet became the most successful manufacturer in drag racing by supplying the basic building blocks that winning racers need,” said Duchardt. “That’s a tradition that began with the ’55 Chevy, and continued with Corvettes, Impalas, Camaros, Chevelles, and Monte Carlos. Now a new generation of sport compact enthusiasts can discover drag racing with the Chevy Cobalt Phase 5 program. GM is opening the sport to a young and diverse group of racers while demonstrating the capabilities of our production cars and engines.”

Chevy, the most successful manufacturer in American motorsports, will also compete in the marquee PRO FWD and HOT ROD sport compact classes in 2005, as well as the Funny Car and Pro Stock categories in the NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series.

Cobalt Phase 5 Dragster Specifications

Chassis: Unitized body and frame with roll cage

Body: Steel with RK Sport composite hood

Height: 55.7 in / 1415.4 mm

Length: 180.3 in / 4580 mm

Width: 67.9 in / 1725 mm

Wheelbase: 103.3 in / 2624 mm

Track: 57.1 in / 1449.7 mm front; 58.1 in / 1476 mm rear

Weight: 2,740 lbs.

Engine: 2.2L Ecotec I-4

Displacement: 134 ci / 2189 cc

Horsepower: 535 hp @ 7800 rpm with 28 psi boost

Torque: 367 lb-ft @ 6500 rpm with 28 psi boost

Transmission: Modified Hydra-Matic 4T65-E 4-speed automatic

Suspension: Modified Cobalt strut-type independent with coil springs front; modified Cobalt semi-independent torsion beam rear

Wheels: 15 x 9 front, 15 x 4.5 rear (Motegi)

Tires: 24.5 x 8 front; 24.0 x 4.5 rear (Mickey Thompson)

Brakes: Vented disc front and rear

Cobalt Phase 5 Dragster Components

GM Performance Parts CNC ported cylinder head (#88958640)

GM Performance Parts adjustable cam gear set (#88958613)

GM Performance Parts camshaft set (#88958648)

GM Performance Parts neutral balance shaft set (#88958615)

Wiseco piston, pin, and ring set

Eagle connecting rods

GM Racing modified Hydra-Matic 4T65-E 4-speed automatic transmission

Cobalt SS Supercharged rear suspension assembly including disc brakes, upgraded swaybar, and five-lug hubs

Garrett GT35R ball bearing turbocharger with water-to-air intercooler

AEM fuel management system with coil-on plug ignition

Fully adjustable front struts and Walker Evans Racing rear shock absorbers

Eibach front coil-over springs

Airlift rear suspension air bags for ride height adjustment

Recaro racing seats with Schroth six-point safety belts

Six-point safety cage

Onboard fire extinguisher system