My Old 200,000-Mile Chevy Sonic Got a Second Life as a Track Toy
Like a proud parent watching their toddler take their first steps, I couldn't help but beam with joy when I saw the Sonic’s track debut.
A short while ago, I sold my old 2012 Chevy Sonic LTZ Turbo Manual to a race instructor for AutoInterests. A little over a week later, he had fixed the low-boost issue, threw some brakes on the thing, and had it on the track. I think this is probably the best thing that could’ve happened to this car, bar none.
Like a proud parent watching their toddler take their first steps, I can’t help but beam with joy when I saw the Sonic’s track debut. At least, this is what I imagine parenthood would be like; I ain’t got kids and I don’t want any.
Within the span of a weekend, the Sonic’s new owner had fixed the low-boost issue by installing a new wastegate actuator with more preload, allowing the car to spool up the boost a lot quicker than stock. Then, he put on some sportier brakes, installed a fancy track timer, and then it was… off to the races.
With 211,000 miles on the odometer, the new owner, Jarrett A, was initially unsure how long the turbo will last with track abuse. Still, he’s been impressed with the car so far and he’s sent me through driving impressions and repair notes that I would have never noticed.
“I was actually very impressed with its dynamics on track. I carried an absolute ass load of speed through a lot of places. I just couldn’t get out of corners fast enough,” Allman told me, via Facebook Messenger. “One of our other instructors has a C6Z that makes like 600 wheels and he passed me in T1 and I was on his ass in the following 3 corners until the straight,” he continued.
I’m very open about the fact I have absolutely no track experience, but I do want to change that in the future. The Sonic is fun on a twisty road, and it’s validating to hear from someone with the actual knowledge of how to drive fast, that in fact, I am right, and the Sonic is a great car.
They’ve done some fun, tongue-in-cheek mods, like reconfiguring the LTZ badge to say “ZL1.” They scraped off my old Ohio State Alumni sticker, so it now only says “um.”
Not everything is perfect, Jarrett says the cooling system on the car is “woefully undersized” resulting in the car going into limp mode after a few laps. And there are some repairs from a minor fender bender that weren’t done very well.
The Sonic’s been an attention-getter at the track. “It got so much attention at the track. I was asked ‘why a Sonic’ at least a half dozen times,” Jarrett reports. But why not?
This is the best outcome that could have come from selling my old car, I’m so glad to see my old car enjoying a new life. Here’s hoping to does many more miles at speed.