Our tour guide was John Heinricy, director of high-performance vehicle operations at GM’s Performance Division. He knows his way around a track, too, having won a bunch of Sports Car Club of America national titles. In the morning briefing, he told us that this particular track had some of the tightest turns he’d seen and substantial elevation changes. Then he took us for a familiarization ride in a souped up Trail Blazer. Anticipation turned to trepidation. But, hey, I’d already driven a Solstice so no problem, right? The review model had doors. This Solstice, the GXP ZO Club Sport version, had a roll cage. Let’s just say that sliding through the window into the seat takes practice at becoming a pretzel. The next ride was in a 2004 GTO with an LS 7 crate engine that turned out 505 hp, one of the fastest cars out there. This had regular doors, though. And the question is: How fast did I go? Got no clue. Didn’t dare take my eyes off the road because it comes at you real fast. Didn’t miss any gear changes and kept both cars on the asphalt. John Lazar, our photographer, accused me of causing a traffic jam, though, and claimed he has a photo to prove it. (It shows me in front and another car a couple of turns behind.) Then came the Camaro, and while it was speed-limited to about 35 mph around a course set up in a parking lot, it stole the show. “I really like it. It has enough sharp angles to it for a mid-’60s look that looks just right,” said Marshall Pruett, automotive editor for SPEEDtv.com. “I would call the concept drool-worthy. You want to drive it?” This is the fifth generation of the iconic brand that will be in showrooms for the 2009 model year. Automobilemag.com says the concept is “a retro-styled, two-door coupe with a honking big V-8 that harks back to the glory days of Motown.” And that’s the point, said Brian J. Smith, design manager at GM’s Advanced Design Center in Warren, Mich. “I think the biggest challenge was working the balance of heritage versus keeping the car really fresh and modern,” he said. “We worked really hard trying to capture the style and spirit of the ’69 Camaro. And we wanted to keep the car relevant for the 21st century.” He was the exterior design manager on the project. The production model, a coupe first, will feature V-6 and V-8 power plant options. It will be priced to compete with the Ford Mustang, which means affordable, much like the originals were in their day. The showroom model won’t stray far from the concept, Smith promises. “I think the layperson will struggle to tell the difference. There are very minor proportional changes. Things had to be scaled down for production feasibility.” firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 713-3743 What a concept! The GM vehicle lineup for the day at Willow Springs Raceway: 2007 Camaro Convertible concept 2007 Holden EFIJY concept, right 2007 Chevy Beat concept Solstice GXP Club Sport Cobalt SS Open Air Coupe G6 Performance Coupe 2004 GTO with an LS7 crate engine Cobalt SS SC w/Stage 2 GM Performance Parts Kit Trail Blazer SS w/GM Performance Parts Brake Duct Cooling Kit Solstice Weekend Club Racer (SEMA) Summer School 1972 Chevelle with a 572 crate engine Hot Rod Solstice with LS7 crate engine COMING NEXT WEEK: Jaguar XJR160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ROSAMOND – Had a license to thrill, courtesy of General Motors Corp.’s Performance Parts Division. OK, I exaggerate a bit. It was more like a learner’s permit and it was only valid for a day. But it came with a crash helmet, the keys to several powerful race cars, Chevrolet’s approximately $6.5 million Camaro concept car and a restored 1972 Chevelle convertible. Oh, yeah, I also had permission to tear around a track at Willow Springs Raceway in a few of these gems with no speed limit signs in sight.
There are going to be plenty of Premier League stars in action at the 2016 European Championship in France.In fact, there will be 134 players who ply their trade in England at the tournament, looking to get their hands on the Henri Delauney trophy.There will also be a number of superstars who have left the Premier League in recent years, like Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba.And there are some others who spent time on these shores but are unrecognisable following fairly unspectacular spells here.So, click the right arrow above to see 15 forgotten Premier League players at Euro 2016… 15 Razvan Rat (Romania) – Click the right arrow above for more forgotten Premier League players who could star at Euro 2016… – His spell at West Ham lasted just six months and 15 Premier League games in 2013 before the player saw his contract terminate by mutual consent. He promptly moved to Rayo Vallecano, where he plays now. Hes also got more than 100 caps for his country. 15 Vlad Chiriches (Romania) – One of Tottenhams magnificent seven signings, the defender was highly rated after joining from Steaua Bucharest. Unfortunately, he proved clumsy and failed to convince at either centre-back or right-back. Hes now warming the bench at Napoli. 15 15 Gelson Fernandes (Switzerland) – The Swiss midfielder spent 2007-2009 with Manchester City without making too much impact. Hes now more famed for scoring the only goal of the game as Switzerland beat Spain in the 2010 World Cup. 15 Kim Kallstrom (Sweden) – If Arsene Wenger thought he was being smart when he signed Kallstrom on loan from Spartak Moscow in 2014, how wrong he was. A back injury was discovered during his medical and he ended up making just four appearances for the Gunners. Hes now playing at Grasshoppers in Switzerland. 15 Emanuele Giaccherini (Italy) – Still technically a Sunderland player, the midfielder joined Bologna on loan last season and has forced his way back into the reckoning for the Azzurri. Miroslav Stoch (Slovakia) – Signed by Chelsea in 2006, aged just 17, Stoch had huge potential but, as Blues academy stars often do, failed to fire himself into the first-team. He made just four Premier League appearances before moving to Fenerbahce in 2010. Hes now on loan at Bursaspor from the Turkish side. Vladimir Weiss (Slovakia) – Although highly-rated, Weiss never made the grade at Manchester City and made just one Premier League appearance for the club in 2009. A loan spell with Bolton Wanderers got him more game time but he eventually left the Etihad in 2012. Hes now plying his trade for Qatari side Al-Gharafa. 15 Oguzhan Ozyakup (Turkey) – Still just 23, the player spent four years on the books at Arsenal from 2008-2012. He was an unused substitute for Arsene Wengers men on a couple of occasions but left for Beskitas in a 500,000 deal. Hes now worth a reported 15m and has even been linked with a return to north London. 15 15 Nikola Kalinic (Croatia) – Signed by Blackburn in 2009 for £6m, Kalinic didnt live up to the hype at Ewood Park and two years later left the club for Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk for a small loss. He fared much better in Ukraine and last season hit 12 goals in Serie A after joining Fiorentina last summer. Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal) – Its fair to say the Portuguese star has had an interesting career, playing for Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, Porto, Inter Milan and Besiktas. His spell at Chelsea in 2009, though, is easily forgotten. He made just five appearances across all competitions in a six-month loan spell. 15 15 Vedran Corluka (Croatia) – The cool and collected defender was a competent star at right-back for both Tottenham and Manchester City between 2007 and 2012. Hes now starring for Lokomotiv Moscow and has been linked with a switch to Bayern Munich due to his excellence on the ball and his versatility across the backline. 15 15 Freddie Veseli (Albania) – Who? Well, the Albanian spent time on the books with both Manchester City and then Man United between 2008 and 2013. He never made a senior appearance for either side but did enjoy spells with Bury and Port Vale, while on loan from Ipswich Town who he also never played a league game for. Hes now rebuilding his career with Lugano in Switzerland. David Limbersky (Czech Republic) – When you get compared to Pavel Nedved by Martin Jol, youve got to think youll do OK. Sadly for the Czech star, who joined Tottenham on loan from Viktoria Plzen in 2005, he didnt make a single appearance for the north London side. Since then hes return to Plzen, winning three titles and playing in the Champions League. 15 Emil Halfredsson (Iceland) – Signed by Tottenham on the same day as David Limbersky, the winger joined from FH Hafnarfjodur in 2005 but, left in 2007 having never made an appearance in the Premier League. He then had spell with Lyn Oslo, Reggina, Barnsley, Verona and now plays for Udinese in Serie A after signing for them in January. 15 Krisztian Nemeth (Hungary) – The striker may have joined Liverpool in 2007 but, despite their club website saying big things are expected of Németh, the only appearance he ever made in England was on loan at Blackpool. In his only game for the club they lost 3-0 and he fractured his cheek bone, bringing the deal to an early end. After spells in Greece, the Netherlands and America, he now plays for Qatari side Al-Gharafa.