When it comes to racing, the Chevrolet Corvette has been in the spotlight a lot this year, from the Corvette Daytona Prototype winning Chevrolet the Engine Manufacturers’ Championship in Grand-Am Racing to Corvette Racing securing the victory in the American Le Mans Series GT Championship with four first-place finishes. However, the history of Corvette racing long-precedes the modern C6.R and DP of the C6 Corvette generation, as Leo Parente discusses on the latest episode of Shakedown. But has the Corvette’s racing history been fruitful enough to give the Chevrolet sports car the title of the greatest racing brand of America? Well, you tell us after watching the video above.
Although the factory-backed Corvette Racing team wasn’t started until the C5 Corvette rolled around, the American sports car was in the limelight on racetracks all over the world from the start.
With the C1 Corvette generation came the 1957 SS mule created by Zora Duntov that really kick-started Corvette’s racing career, morphing into the first SS race cars. Then once the C2 generation hit, it was the Corvette Grand Sports that were making a name for themselves on the track and continue to in the eyes of collectors even today.
The C3 generation brought Corvette competition to a larger stage – to Europe in the Le Mans Series as well as in America with the Greenwood Corvette program, which was started by racer John Greenwood.
Between 1984 and 1996, the fourth-generation Corvette made its mark on the racing world. The C4 generation is known for the Corvette Daytona Prototypes that not only brought new technology to the racing circuits but also a brand new look for Corvette race cars. On the production race car side of things, the Corvette also competed in the newly created Corvette Challenge Series after being booted out of the SCCA Showroom Stock Endurance Challenge Series. The new series came after a long undefeated racing streak for the Corvette to make the field more fair for other competitors.
By 1997 when the C5 came into existence, the Corvette was known for its power on and off the track. The Corvette Racing team was formed in 1999 and we saw the famous American Le Mans Series race with both Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr. piloting Corvette race cars.
With the most recent generation, the C6 Corvette has acquired countless ALMS wins, Championships, and 24 Hours of Le Mans victories .
In 2012, we also saw a redesigned Corvette DP hit the track for Grand-Am Racing, which eventually brought the Manufacturer’s Championship home for Chevrolet with the Corvette-bodied cars finishing eight of 13 races in first place.
Corvette racing history is vast and exciting, covering nearly all 60 years of the Corvette’s existence, and with the release of the C7 Corvette just around the corner, we expect to see many more exciting years to come. We certainly think the technology advances, wins and successes the model has brought to tracks across the world, as well as production cars right here in the U.S. certainly qualifies the Corvette as the greatest racing car from America. What do you think?