The Chevrolet Corvette is a very versatile race car, taking part in racing series from the 24 Hours of Le Mans to American touring car classics like World Challenge Cup. But did you know that Corvettes have a heady racing heritage in Japan too? Well they do, and Bad Boy Vettes reports that the Chevrolet Corvette is returning to Japan’s premier racing series, the Super GT, where it will compete against several familiar foes like Aston Martin, BMW, as well as Honda, Nissan, and Toyota.
This will be the fourth time the Corvette will enter into the Super GT series, dating back to its debut with the C4 in 2002. Since then the Corvette has competed in 2005 and 2008, putting three years in between its appearances in Japan’s prestigious racing series. Alas, the Corvette raced unsuccessfully in all those campaigns, lacking the proper sponsors to keep the car going competitively.
This year though, the Corvette will be maintained by TOMEI Sports, and piloted by veteran Japanese drivers Kazuyoshi Okamura, Masahiro Matsunaga, and Atsushi Takana. They will compete in the GT300 class, which limits horsepower output to just (you guessed it!) 300 but has looser restrictions on suspension and other modifications than many other GT classes.
Will 2011 bring about a successful racing campaign for the Japanese Corvette? Could be. The Corvette remains popular in Japan (as evidenced by Chevy’s Japanese Corvette website), despite sales limited to just 400 units or so a year. Japan even has its own special edition Corvettes, including the Corvette S-Limited, a special appearance package to help justify its $75,000 base price, $25,000 more than the price of a base Corvette in America. We’ll have to pay attention to the Super GT series this year and see what happens to this Corvette campaigner.