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You've read the driving impressions and the reviews of the '04 GTO in the previous issues of HPP and you were taken inside Pontiac's press preview for the '04 GTO in these pages as well. So what's left to know?

Well, how about how fast is it on a drag strip? Sure you may have read some road tests in the mainstream new car mags but we like to test our own cars for HPP and drive them to the best of our abilities and adjust things like tire pressure, launch technique, and shift points. And we let the cars cool down between runs in an effort to extract the best performance possible.

For this strip session, we made the trip to California to get a test car because there were none in the press fleet anywhere else in the country at the time. It was February so we weren't complaining too much about traveling to a 70-degree climate with sunshine, while at home temps were hovering in the single digits with most tracks snow covered and closed.

When we lined up our tester there were just 2 stipulations, it had to be a 6-speed car because we felt that it would produce the best e.t.'s and it had to be a bright color because we were thinking cover shot the whole time. Thanks to Silvia Paul at GM Communications West we received the Torrid Red, stick GTO that you see here.

We also contacted historic Carlsbad Raceway in Carlsbad, California, and rented the track for a day. Finally, the plans were set to drag test the '04 GTO. Our goal was to run faster than previously published times and to learn as much as we could about the new model on the strip. Carlsbad is very near sea level so we were hoping for good air so we had no idea how the starting line was going to be.

We arrived early on a Thursday morning with the '04 GTO and a '04 Mach 1. We were testing the GTO and doing a quick comparison with the Mach 1, which will also appear in our sister publication Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords. Three drivers would make passes in the GTO and Mach 1--Evan Smith, technical editor for Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, Steve Baur, associate editor HPP and GM High Tech, and myself. The fastest times will be printed here regardless of driver.

Full review HERE
 
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