The National Corvette Museum (NCM) in Bowling Green, Kentucky has been a bucket-list destination for Corvette enthusiasts for a number of years, but on Saturday May 5th, fans hit the museum parking lot for another reason – the 18th Annual Mini Corvette Challenge. While this event has been going on for almost two decades now, we knew very little about it until recently. But, when an event promises the appearance of miniature Corvettes duking it out for titles, we just couldn’t resist diving in head first. Check out the WBKO Channel 13’s promotional video for the event above.
The Mini Corvette Challenge is an annual fundraising and awareness event held at the NCM that benefits Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky. This organization aims to educate local youth on business, entrepreneurship and economics in order to improve their lives. Currently, the Junior Achievement (JA) educational programs are used in 64 schools and after-school programs, with 559 JA programs implemented across the region.
This year, 21 teams competed in the challenge, driving miniature 6 HP go-kart Corvettes through a make-shift track laid out in the NCM parking lot using hay bales. Although it may sound like child’s play, teams are made up of all adults, mostly area business owners and staff members. It’s a good thing too, because the mini Corvettes can reach speeds of about 30 MPH.
Six qualifying rounds were run at the event this year to determine who would compete in the Bronze, Silver and Gold Cup races with each race being 20 laps long. To make things a bit more interesting, competitors were required to do a “pit stop” on lap 10 or 11, executing a wheel change and a driver exchange before continuing to race.
The competition got a little ugly this year with black penalty flags thrown, cars crashing through hay bale barriers and even one car flipping over on the course.
When all was said and done, the Modern Woodmen team took home the win for the Bronze Cup race, the Span-Tech team earned the win for the Silver Cup race, and four-year reining champions, the U.S. Bank team, defended their title with a win for the Gold Cup race.
Now as amusing as this all sounds, nothing quite beats seeing the action for yourself. So we dug up a couple videos to show you just what competing in the Mini Corvette Challenge is like.
This first video was shot by the WBKO Channel 13 team and gives you a good first-person view of the event. With drivers Jeff Woods and Shane Holinde behind the wheel, you can see just how competitive the Mini Corvette Challenge can get, not to mention how fast trouble on the course can ensue. But at least the cars don’t weigh much, so putting them back on the track after a hay bale mishap isn’t too challenging.
While most teams are from local businesses, Western Kentucky University has been competing in the Mini Corvette Challenge for the last nine years. This year, the team didn’t do too bad, finishing second in the Bronze Cup race, despite black penalty flags being thrown for both Tyler Greenwell and Darren Tinker, the team’s two drivers. Their driving experience was captured in this unique slide-show video.
According to the Junior Achievement website, entering the Mini Corvette Challenge gives you everything you need to compete, including the use of a mini car, helmets and even company promotional space. Can you think of a better company bonding activity than to compete for titles behind the wheel of a miniature Corvette? Because we sure can’t.