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NEON TAKES TO THE TRACK WITH RACING CONTINGENCY PROGRAM

 ATLANTA, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The all-new Dodge and Plymouth Neon will make "club" racing more affordable and lucrative with a special racing contingency program that includes both hardware and prize monetary support for amateur racers in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) road racing and solo events in 1994.
 "As a stock class vehicle, the Neon makes perfect sense," said Walter Voss, technical manager of Chrysler's motorsports operations, speaking at the 1993 SCCA National Runoffs in Atlanta, where Chrysler made the announcement. "Powerful, light, agile and inexpensive -- what more could an amateur racer want in a potential race car?"
 Money, of course. Voss said Chrysler will offer a contingency prize pool of more than $220,000. "That runs as high as $5,000 to $3,500 for a class champion at year end and averages about $1,000 per event for a win at the national level," he added.
 The program will be administered through the SCCA and will include full technical support from Chrysler's Small Car Platform engineering. Archer Brothers, Inc., one of racing's most successful teams, will act as consultant to the program.
 By blending safety, environmental responsibility and value, Neon was designed to challenge all conventional wisdom about small cars. From its distinctive round headlamps to its fun-to-drive performance features, the Neon exudes personality. It will be available in Dodge and Plymouth dealerships in January.
 John Fernandez, executive engineer for Chrysler's Small Car Platform, said the reasons for racing Neon at this level were quite compelling.
 "Neon is an affordable and stylish vehicle that makes no excuses," he explained. "In a word, the vehicle is fun. Racers more than anyone can appreciate this. We felt that by offering incentives at the amateur level, we will be staying true to the car's mission of appealing to a value-conscious customer base."
 The Neon modifications from the factory will include: four-wheel disc brakes; sport front and rear facias; power-assisted 16:1 steering ratio; sport suspension including front sway bars; tuned shocks and special coil springs; increased cooling capacity; performance 14-inch wheels and tires; and performance gear ratios.
 These will complement Neon's 132-horsepower 2.0-liter SOHC engine and five-speed transmission. At just more than 2,300 pounds, the vehicle's power-to-weight ratio is one of the best in its class. Neon also features four-wheel independent suspension and available anti-lock brakes.
 "We're confident that Neon will be competitive with other vehicles in its class, both on and off the track," Fernandez said. "As we move through the product launch period, the Neon will later be made available with a double overhead cam version of the 2.0-liter."
 To be eligible for the contingency money, participants will be required to carry special Neon graphics. Vehicles will be factory- specified and delivered through dealerships via a special order code. It is expected that vehicles will be ready for the start of the 1994 SCCA racing season, Fernandez said.
 -0- 10/15/93
 /CONTACT: Mike Aberlich, 313-576-8094, or Chris Preuss, 313-576-8095, both of Chrysler/
 (C)


CO: Chrysler Corporation ST: Georgia, Michigan IN: AUT SU:

DC -- DE005 -- 2631 10/15/93 09:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 15, 1993
Words:517
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