October 20, 2003
Saturn ION Red Line sets speed record
Bonneville, Utah – Saturn’s new Ion Red Line quad coupe established a new record of
212.684 mph in the G/Blown Fuel Altered class at the Bonneville Salt Flats on
October 17, 2003.
The record-setting Saturn, which is based on the new factory-built Ion Red Line
sport compact and powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine,
eclipsed the previous 183.086 mph record set in 2001 by a Honda Civic by nearly 30
GM Performance Division launched the Saturn land speed record project to demonstrate
the ultimate performance capabilities of the Ion Red Line package under extreme
conditions. GM High Performance Vehicle Operations engineer Jim Minneker piloted the
front-wheel-drive Ion Red Line in Saturn’s first official record run on the
world-famous Salt Flats.
“To set a speed record with the Saturn Ion Red Line our first time in competition
was a tremendous accomplishment for the entire GM team,” said Minneker. “The ION Red
Line coupe and the Ecotec engine ran like clockwork. This package has tremendous
potential, I wish that we could run at Bonneville again next week. I’m confident
that we could raise the bar even higher.”
The ION Red Line land speed record holder will be displayed in the GM exhibit at the
Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas on Nov. 4-7,
2003. The GM exhibit will also showcase a streamlined Ecotec-powered lakester
inspired by the record setting cars built by early hot rodders using the belly tanks
(auxiliary fuel tanks) from World War II military aircraft. Designed by the GM
Advanced Studio in North Hollywood, California, the high-tech lakester is a 21st
century version of a classic Bonneville design that stretches the performance
envelope with a production Ecotec powertrain.
A turbocharged GMC Canyon midsize pickup customized by So-Cal Speed Shop to perform
the traditional duties of a push truck at Bonneville will also be featured in GM’s
tribute to the annual speed trials at the Salt Flats.