Gary Sheehan Selected as Pro Test Driver for 1.8T Challenge

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August 5, 2004

Source: TeamSMR

Fontana, CA – Grand-Am Cup driver Gary Sheehan of Martinez, CA has been selected as the designated professional test driver for the 2004 European Car Magazine 1.8T Challenge, set to take place at Fontana’s California Speedway on Friday August 6, 2004. Featuring a wide range of popular small-bore, turbocharged European tuner cars, the 1.8T Challenge will pit professional and privateer tuners against each other in several tough comparison tests, including road course, drag strip, dyno, and drivability. The winner, (one in each class, and one overall), will be the tuner whose car achieves the best total score after all the tests are completed.

Sheehan, who has been competing this year in the Grand-Am Cup endurance series, (in an Audi S4 Quattro), will be the designated professional driver for the road course competition. Sheehan has participated in similar challenge events in the past, and enjoys the format immensely. Tuner car owners will have the option of using him as a designated driver, in an attempt to get the best possible lap time out of the car. They can also decide to make a lap attempt themselves if they so choose.

“I am very excited to have been chosen for this, and I want to thank the guys at European Car Magazine”, Sheehan commented. “Challenge events are a lot of fun, because there is so much variety in the cars and the way each of them is set-up. To go from one to the next all day long really challenges your ability to learn a car quickly, and get the best lap out of it. I like that. I look forward to meeting the tuners, and helping them do the best they can in the competition.”

The 2004 1.8T Challenge will be divided into two classes:

  1. Tuner Class: Professionally built shop cars representing a tuner or manufacturer — 12 car maximum
  2. Enthusiast Class: Privateer entries — 10 car maximum

Test Events: The 2004 1.8T Challenge will consist of four separate scored events: Dyno, road course, ┬╝-mile drag strip and Editors evaluation (drivability) competitions. Competitors completing each event score points and at the conclusion of the competition the Tuner Class and Enthusiast Class entry with the highest total number of points will win the respective category. Each individual event has 100 points on the line for the winner. The competition rules allow the entrance of any registered and insured VAG car with 1.8T engine with 20V head, including older chassis with 1.8T engine swaps. Modifications are permitted, including overbore, nitrous, bigger turbo, supercharger, etc.

Cars: Take a look at the cars that will be competing in the Enthusiast Class at the 2004 1.8T Challenge. They include VW Jetta, Golf GTI, Corrado, Audi A4 Quattro, TT, and Avant.

Spectators: Based on the response to last year’s event, European Car Magazine has made special arrangements for 500 spectator tickets to watch the road course and drag strip competitions at California Speedway in Fontana, CA. Tickets are available to only the first 500 people, on a first-come-first-served basis. There will be a vendor midway on-hand for spectators to check out the latest tuner parts from respected suppliers.

For more information on the event, visit

StopTech® Brakes is an official sponsor of the event.

For more information on TeamSMR, visit To schedule an interview or photography, contact Gary Sheehan at 415-652-7903/[email protected], or Thom Wilder at 949-275-5585/[email protected]

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