General Motors has a long-standing tradition of high performance vehicles, support of professional racing activities, and the distribution of parts to supply hobbyists with what they need to build the car of their dreams. With the events of the last twelve months now well behind us, there are still many questions about “performance” at GM. In this brief article, I hope to shed a little light on this as well as try to give you some hints at where GM performance could be heading.
Performance at GM can be broken down into many groups and several activities. This is in no way intended to be a comprehensive guide to all of this, but it will at least give you some idea of what GM has to offer. First, and foremost, GM has several incredible new performance cars that you can choose from. Our vehicle teams have worked tirelessly to ensure that cars like the Corvette, Camaro, CTS-V, and forthcoming Regal GS are truly world-class performance vehicles. I invite you to go test drive one at a local GM dealer.
Supporting those vehicle sales in several capacities are three main performance teams: GM Performance Parts, GM Performance Division, and GM Racing.
Since I’m most familiar with GM Performance Parts, let’s start there. This division of GM was founded in 1967 to support our efforts with the factory-backed Trans Am Camaro teams. GMPP developed the concept of the crate engine, and we continue to sell the most robust engine portfolio in the industry under the marketing direction of Cliff Cohen. GMPP engines and parts are available at any GM dealer, and we continue to develop new engines, speed parts, and vehicle-specific parts for high performance GM vehicles and specific race applications.
GM Performance Division, headed up by Ken Morris and Scott Brewer, is the group of extremely talented engineers assigned to vehicle construction for a number of functions at GM. While some reports had them disbanded, this group is still very much in action – building show cars, concept vehicles, and carrying out whatever “skunk works” activities the company needs to get high performance cars in front of our customers.
GM Racing is the GM division that heads up our relationships with professional motorsports teams, facilities, and sanctioning bodies. Mark Kent, Jeff Kettman, and their team develop parts for professional racing efforts, negotiate rules with NHRA and NASCAR, and make sure that GM is positioned well to win whatever racing efforts we enter.
What do all of these GM performance efforts mean for you? Well, depending on your interests, it means that one or all of these teams could impact your daily life. For a new high performance vehicle customer, I would argue that this is the golden age with the ZR1 Corvette and Camaro SS leading the way. If you need a brand new crate engine for a beloved classic, check out what we have to offer you from GM Performance Parts. If you attended the Hot Rod Power Tour, you can thank the folks at GM Performance Division. And, while you are enjoying that NASCAR race this weekend, stop for a minute to think about the dozens of GM employees who helped make it all possible.
GM performance, direct from the factory – it’s alive and well, and we’ll be here for a long time.