With news that testing of the new Corvette C7.R race car will begin next month, it’s a good time to take a step back and reflect on the history of this all-American sports car. What grew from the humble beginnings of the 1953, six-cylinder powered Chevrolet Corvette is a racing dynasty that covers just about every famous race and track in the world.
But before the Corvette dominated the American Le Mans Series, it had to overcome a lot of internal adversity to performance. The Corvette Grand Sport was the ultimate Corvette of the early 1960s, before GM management put the kibosh on the project. Just five were built, and Hemmings Auto Blog reports that at least two, and maybe even three of these incredible race cars will be on display at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion in mid-August.
Created in 1962 in secret by Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Corvette Grand Sport had four-wheel disc brakes, thin hand-laid fiberglass, and aluminum tubing instead of steel. In addition, a 377 cubic-inch engine with dual four-barrel carburetors was planned to power this beast of a Corvette in races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 12 Hours of Sebring.
Alas, GM management got wind that the Corvette Grand Sport was off setting lap records, and to compete meant selling the Grand Sport to the public. Unwilling to sell a literal race car to consumers, GM management ended the program, though the cars did show up at races from time to time with “vacationing” engineers.
With the 2014 Corvette being the big news of 2013 so far, what better time than now to roll out two or three of the five original Corvette Grand Sports. Like the original Grand Sport, the new Corvette utilizes an aluminum chassis, four-wheel disc brakes, and a 378 cubic-inch engine, which is close enough for us. If you’re in the Monterey area from August 16th to 18th, make sure you check these rare racing Corvettes out.