Pontiac Solstice SD-290 Concept Car 2009

Newton’s second law is about as straightforward as anything in physics: Force equals mass multiplied by acceleration (F=ma). Play with this equation a bit and you figure out that for a given amount of force, quicker acceleration comes from less mass. The Pontiac SD-290 race concept is an exercise in mass reduction.

To build the SD-290, Pontiac started with a production Solstice GXP and then started tossing aside everything that didn’t look like a racing car — such luxuries as the convertible top, windshield wipers, climate control system, the side glass and even the windshield. Then the Pontiac guys covered the passenger seat area with a custom-built hard tonneau cover and put a dinky little windscreen in front of the driver, reducing the car’s aerodynamic drag. Throw in a new front fascia, a vented hood, front fenders with ventilation gills, a rollover bar and a rear spoiler, and there you are. Finish it all off in Competition Red, and the result is a Solstice speedster that looks long and sleek in a way the production car never has.

Inside, there is a Pegasus gauge package for the center console, a four-point seatbelt harness and chrome-plated fire extinguisher. The chrome plating is critical because when your car is on fire, you want to make sure everyone sees that your extinguisher is shiny.

Pontiac has turned the wick up on the Solstice GXP’s turbocharged 2.0-liter Ecotec in line-4 so it produces 290 horsepower, 30 hp more than the output of the stock engine. Apparently the only modification is the fitment of a low-restriction cat back exhaust system with a center outlet from Solo Performance, and a 10 percent power improvement does generally come from modifications like this. The rest of the drive train is stock, including the five-speed manual transmission.

The suspension has also been tweaked, first by fitting Pontiac’s Club Sport Z0K suspension package and then taking another step forward by adopting KW Automotive coil-over shocks. The SD-290 meets the road with DOT-legal Hoosier R6 competition radial tires mounted on 19-inch forged wheels.

To slow everything down there’s a set of 13-inch brake rotors from Stainless Steel Brake accompanied by five-piston calipers.

The letters “SD” are legendary among Pontiac fiends who remember the 1973 and 1974 Firebird Trans Am Super Duty. But this isn’t a street brute in the tradition of those old Firebirds, but rather a screamer for track day on a road-racing circuit. Not a bad thing at all.

Scribbled on April 10th 2008 in Pictures
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