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Buick Engineers Seek Second Regal GS Open Road Rally Victory


The Buick Regal GS, competing in the Silver State Classic

The Buick Regal GS, competing in the Silver State Classic

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Last September, a pair of Buick Regal GS engineers drove the car to a class win in the Silver State Classic Challenge, which allows drivers to compete in various speed-defined classes on closed public roads.

Victory isn’t as simple as getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible; instead, winners must come as close as possible to a theoretically ideal time on the course. In the Regal GS’ 120-mph class, that time was 45 minutes.

Driver Bill Rietow and navigator John Townsend came remarkably close in their 2012 Buick Regal GS, completing the run with just a 0.019 second deviation from a perfect 45:00. The pair’s performance earned them both a class win and the award as the “Most Accurate Rookie” team.

Now Rietow and Townsend will return to the same course for the Nevada Open Road Challenge, scheduled for May 20. The Open Road Challenge uses the same categories and same rules as the Silver State Classic, but the Regal GS drivers are stepping up to the next level of competition.

This time, the team is competing in the 135-mph class, which requires the addition of a rollbar and the use of Nomex suits for driver and navigator. The maximum permissible speed in this class is 165 mph, well beyond the reach of a stock Regal GS.

Prior experience on the course has taught the pair what to expect in the Open Road Challenge, but as Townsend points out, “Weather is going to be an interesting factor this time around, with headwinds as high as 20 mph possible.”

Rietow, however, is quick to point out the benefits of competition, saying, “Events like these provide safe conditions for us to get away from the test track to gather unique data that will benefit future development of our vehicles.”

If racing makes for faster and better handling Buicks in the future, we’re all for it.
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