Buick engineers win 120-mph speed class and Most Accurate Rookie Award



The all-new 2012 Buick Regal GS beat the clock in Nevada’s Silver State Classic Challenge, claiming victory in the 120-mph Grand Touring class on Sunday, Sept. 18, with Bill Rietow, GS lead development engineer, driving and John Townsend, GS drive quality powertrain engineer, navigating.

The Silver State Classic Challenge, now in its 24th year, is a bi-annual open road rally that runs on a remote, two-lane, 90-mile-long section of Nevada State Highway 318, where specially-prepared cars often reach speeds exceeding 200 mph.

Rietow and Townsend precisely piloted the Regal GS to victory with a .019 second deviation from the perfect 45-minute time of course completion for the 120-mph class. This near perfect time also netted the Buick team the “Most Accurate Rookie” award among the 34 rookie teams participating in the event.

“The Regal GS did extremely well at course speeds, delivering stable, balanced performance throughout the run,” Rietow said. “Our racing experience prepared us for the challenge of maintaining a high average speed over a long distance.”

Rietow, a Sports Car Club of America and Corvette Club of Michigan autocross racer, and Townsend, a veteran of the Corvette Club of Michigan, pushed the GS without breaching the car or class limits. For a video of the run, click here.

“While our maximum allowed speed in this class was 140-mph, we only needed to push it to 137-mph to maintain our course speed average,” Townsend said. “This car has a top speed of more than 150 mph and we had plenty of power in reserve.”

Rietow and Townsend piloted a stock Regal GS, its only modifications being required safety equipment such as a roll hoop and five-point harness seat belts, as well as computational equipment for data collection.