Chevrolet SO-CAL Bonneville Lakester Roadster

It took Mother Nature millennia to create the Bonneville Salt Flats crystalline surface in Wendover, Utah, but in the span of two months, she washed out this year’s August Speed Week and October World Finals.

After two days of speed trials in August, a violent storm swept through northern Utah on the evening of Aug. 16, leaving standing water on the immense natural speedway and compelling officials to cancel the final four days of Speed Week. Then on Oct. 3, officials cancelled the entire World Finals slated to begin Oct. 12 because the salt was still underwater from the heavy rainfall two months earlier.

Three of the vehicles engineered by GM Performance Division for this year’s runs at Bonneville will be on display at SEMA from Nov. 1-4, including the 2006 Chevrolet So-Cal HHR, Chevrolet California Street Rods Student Project Cobalt SS and the record-setting Ecotec Lakester.

Between rain storms in August, journalist Don Sherman drove the GM Performance Division’s Ecotec Lakester to a 189.205 mph speed record in G/BGL (G Class/Blown Gas Lakester) before the event’s abrupt end; reaching 203 mph with one of his two mandated passes to set a record. Sherman eclipsed the 179.381 mark set in October 2004 by GM engineer Mark Dickens with the high-tech reincarnation of the famous So-Cal Speed Shop Lakester. A supercharged Ecotec engine based on the crate motor that's available to enthusiasts through GM Performance Parts provided the horsepower for the Ecotec Lakester's record run.

"Course conditions were challenging this year on the Salt Flats, and the rain-shortened schedule prevented GM Performance Division from achieving record speeds with all of our entries," said Al Oppenheiser, director of Concept and Vehicle Integration for GM Performance Division. "We were successful in raising the record with the Ecotec Lakester, and we gained valuable experience with our 2006 Chevrolet So-Cal HHR, Chevrolet So-Cal Cobalt SS, and the Chevrolet California Street Rods Student Project Cobalt SS."

Source: Chevrolet press