An American rally team has somehow found a way to shoehorn a big LS3 V8 engine into a tiny Chevy Sonic.
The Chevrolet Sonic (previously known as the Aveo) is generally not a car we’d give the time of day to. It’s a tiny subcompact that’s more popular in Europe and South American that it is anywhere in North America. For this reason, GM is discontinuing the car after 2019, citing declining demand for small cars in the United States.
What’s truly confusing about the Sonic is its choice of engine. It comes with either a 1.4-L turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine or a naturally aspirated 1.8-L inline 4-banger. Both get 138 peak hp. Both come with a 6-speed automatic or manual transmission. The only difference is the turbo engined Sonic gets 13 more lb-ft of torque than the non-turbo Sonic.
Is that enough torque to justify a totally different engine? GM thought so.
But we’re not here to talk about a small, economical car with an entirely uneconomical engine lineup. We’re here to talk about a small, economical car with an entirely ludicrous engine that a team of rally racers managed to shove under the hood.
We have Motor1 to thank for pointing us toward PMR Motorsports, a rally team based out of Dublin, Ohio. They’ve managed to keep their latest rally project under wraps for some time but took the cover off at the Performance Racing Industry Show earlier this month.
Details on the voodoo magic that made this car possible are scant, but PMR assures us that under that custom hood is an LS3 6.2-L crate engine (the same engine used in the previous generation of Camaros and Corvettes) that produces 430 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque.
We’re pretty sure that engine weighs about as much as the Sonic did without an engine, so we’re very interested to see what happens when you squeeze such a massive powerplant onto 4 tiny wheels.
In addition to the completely bonkers engine, the Sonic’s interior has been ripped out in favor of a roll cage, and the FWD transmission has been replaced by one that delivers power to all four wheels at once.
And this isn’t just an engineering project either. PMR plans to race this in next year’s American Rally Association series against other rally cars that are presumably somewhat larger.
We’re quite intrigued, to say the least, but we’ll have to wait till next year to see this thing in action.