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Racing

1963 Corvette Grand Sport Chassis #002

Grand Sport Corvette Chassis #002 – one of the legendary five Corvettes secretly built by Zora Arkus-Duntov and the Corvette engineering team explicitly for racing will be offered for sale at RM Auction’s Automobiles of Arizona in January 2009. The 1963 Corvette Grand Sports are considered to be some of the rarest and most valuable Corvettes ever made, and this will be the first time one is being made available in a public sale.

Built to challenge Carrol Shelby’s Cobras in SCCA and FIA endurance races, the Grand Sport program originally called for 125 of these lightweight Corvette race cars to be built, which would allow the cars to run in the GT class at Sebring and Le Mans. The Grand Sports weighed in at about 1,900 pounds, or 1,300 pounds less than a stock Corvette coupe. They were originally powered by an all aluminum 377 ci V8 with 58 mm side draft Weber carbs. The engine was capable of 550 horsepower and coupled to a 4-speed transmission.

Failing to meet the 125 minimum build, the Corvettes raced in the prototype class in 1963 at Sebring. Although they ran against advanced purpose-built race cars, the Corvettes proved to be superior in speed and handling to the Cobras that raced in the GT class.

The Grand Sports finally got the chance to go head-to-head with the Cobras at the 1963 Nassau Speed Week race. The Corvettes finished third and fourth behind two prototypes and completely bested the Cobras.

Unfortunately the program was cancelled by GM in early 1964. The Grand Sport prototypes, two roadsters and three coupes, survived destruction and fell into the hands of private racers like Roger Penske and George Wintersteen who preserved their heritage for future generations.

1963 Corvette Grand Sport #002 1963 Corvette Grand Sport #002 1963 Corvette Grand Sport #002
1963 Corvette Grand Sport #002 at Watkins Glen 1963 Corvette Grand Sport #002 at Mosport  

Some have estimated that a Grand Sport Corvette could sell for as much as $5 million dollars and with that kind of estimate, it’s totally plausible that this Corvette could be the most expensive Corvette ever purchased at an auction.

The #002 Corvette Grand Sport is scheduled for sale at the Automobiles of Arizona event on Friday, January 16th. The following is excerpted from the press release:


Preeminent international auction house, RM Auctions, will open the 2009 collector car season in grand style as they offer one of the rarest and most valuable Corvettes in history – the legendary 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport – at their famed ‘Automobiles of Arizona’ event. The January 16th event will mark RM’s 10th anniversary sale in Phoenix, Arizona.

PHOENIX, Arizona (October 21, 2008) – Preeminent international auction house, RM Auctions will mark their 10th anniversary Automobiles of Arizona auction event in Phoenix, Arizona with the sale of one the rarest and most valuable Corvettes in history – an all mighty 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport (chassis no. 002).

Often referred to as one of the most fascinating enigmas in motor racing annals and certainly one of the most valuable, the Grand Sport was General Motor’s contender to Ford’s venerable Shelby Cobra. Envisioned by the legendary ‘father of the Corvette’, Zora Arkus-Duntov, these top secret, hand-built race cars were designed to win at FIA endurance races and ultimately the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only five were built out of an expected 120 car run before General Motors cancelled its competition activities in early 1964. Miraculously, each of the prototypes escaped destruction orders, falling into the hands of private racers who preserved their heritage for future generations.

From this elite fraternity, the multi-million dollar 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport (Chassis no. 002) with its original un-restored race body is being offered for the first time ever at RM’s Biltmore auction in January. Previously owned by Roger Penske and George Wintersteen, 002 is one of just two roadsters produced out of the original five prototypes.

“The Corvette Grand Sport is one of the greatest American racing cars and quite possibly, one of the most historically significant American built race bred automobiles ever produced,” says Ian Kelleher, Managing Director of RM Auctions. “Additionally, for Corvette enthusiasts, this car is singularly the most important and significant Corvette to ever come to market, making its offering in Arizona a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire such an important piece of American motoring history.”

Keith Martin, Publisher of Corvette Market Magazine adds: “The Grand Sport is clearly one of the most desirable Corvettes ever built. With its significant racing history, featuring a strong showing in the 1966 U.S. Road Racing Championship, it is the most important Corvette to ever be offered for sale publicly.”

This legendary Corvette will be presented along with over 100 exceptional vintage automobiles and motorcycles.


Source:
RM Auctions
Corvette Legends
Photo credits – Studio: RM Auctions-Troy Wood Vintage: Dave Friedman

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The Corvette C6.Rs at Montery

Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta claimed victory in the ALMS season-ending race Monterey Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca. The #4 Corvette C6.R finished 12 seconds ahead of the teammates Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen in the #3 Corvette. The race was Corvette Racing’s last at Monterey in the GT1 class as the team makes the transition to GT2 following 2009′s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The race was full of cautions with five full-course yellow flags in the first hour alone. It was the 11th caution and its subsequent restart that allowed Beretta to pass O’Connell on the front straight to take the lead with 45 minutes remaining.

“With all the victories I have, I was lucky to drive for a good team and to have very good teammates,” Beretta said. I was not alone. I didn’t want to lose today,” he declared. “I knew this was the last chance. I was thinking about the restart on cold tires and driving like I was in the wet. I put the power down and everything went okay. I could have spun because I put the power down very early, but the car stayed on the track and I managed to overtake Johnny.”

Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan was enthusiastic about the performance today and the entire season by the two teams:

“Today’s event was not just a good race, but a great race,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “When you see the lead changes, the pit stops, it was the quintessential representation of what we’ve worked on for a decade. The Corvettes were thousandths of a second apart on the race track and thousandths of a second apart in the pit lane. There’s a reason why this team is regarded as one of the best sports car teams in the world, and we demonstrated that today.”

With his victory at Monterey, Olivier Beretta became the first driver in ALMS history to reach 40 career wins, including five victories at Laguna Seca. Gavin tallied his 31st victory in the series. O’Connell and Magnussen do take home the GT1 Drivers Championship finishing 238 points to 215 for the #4 team.

Corvette Racing will return next season to start the series in the GT1 class at the 12 Hours of Sebring. The race is scheduled for March 21. 2009. The team is expect to also race at Long Beach California before making the trip to France in June for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Following that endurance race, the team is expected to transition to GT2 for the rest of the ALMS season.



Source:
Corvette Racing

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Corvette Racing: New Jake Livery Set for Monterey

by Keith Cornett on October 18, 2008

The Corvette C6.Rs at Petit Le Mans

If you’re planning on watching the Monterey SportsCar Championships this weekend, you’ll see Corvette Racing’s now-famous mascot “Jake” front and center on the hood. The new graphics were created by the GM Design Center for the season ending American Le Mans race.

Corvette C6.R Jake Livery Corvette C6.R Jake Livery Corvette C6.R Jake Livery

In other news, Jan Magnussen scored his second pole of the season with a GT1 class record at Laguna Seca. His lap of 1:19.291 (101.611 mph) eclisped the record he set last year and was .499 seconds faster than Oliver Gavin’s 1:19.790 (100.975 mph). Our friends at BadBoyVettes remind us that with Corvette Racing moving to GT2 next year following Le Mans, this is a record that could stand forever.

The four-hour ALMS race, the headline event of the Monterey Sports Car Championships, is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, October 18. NBC will televise the race tape-delayed from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT on Sunday, October 19.



Source:
BadBoyVettes.com
Corvette Racing

Related:
Corvette Racing: Petit Le Mans News Roundup
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan on the Green Challenge

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The Corvette C6.Rs at Petit Le Mans

The #3 Corvette C6.R piloted by Johnny O’Connell, Jan Magnussen and Ron Fellows finished first in class to win the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans on Saturday. The Corvette completed 365 laps of the 2.54-mile road course and finished 6 laps ahead of their teammates in the #4 Corvette. The #3 Corvette C6.R also won the inaugural ALMS Green Challenge, beating all GT1 and GT2 cars in this race-in-a-race based on performance, fuel efficiency and environmental impact.

The Corvette Racing team put a lot of emphasis in winning the Green Challenge. The Corvettes are powered by cellulosic E85 ethanol made from waste wood from a national forest. The #3 Corvette C6.R’s score of 20.391 was the lowest in the GT class. The #007 Aston Martin running in the GT2 class was second with the #4 Corvette C6.R third.

“Going into the second half of the season, Corvette Racing’s goal was to win the first Green Challenge,” said Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing Road Racing Group manager. “Winning the Green Challenge with the best score among both GT cars and Prototypes was a team effort that combined the expertise of GM Powertrain, our engine supplier Katech, and Pratt & Miller Engineering.

“It’s not just about making the engine more efficient and more environmentally friendly,” Wesoloski explained. “We looked at things like reducing wheel bearing friction and aerodynamic drag to win the Green Challenge. Alternative renewable fuels are an important part of GM’s gas-friendly to gas-free program, and GM already has more E85-compatible vehicles on the road than any other manufacturer. Green Racing ties in with what the corporation is doing in production vehicles. We’re developing the technology to improve both efficiency and performance, and we’re proving it on the race track.”

The race did have its moments of drama for the team. Oliver Gavin was driving the #4 Corvette C6.R at the 5:43 mark when the throttle linkage malfunctioned coming out of turn 7. Gavin was able to nurse the Corvette back to pit lane by running at idle. The crew was able to fix the issue and 9 minutes later the Corvette was back to running at full speed.

“The fact that the Corvette C6.R engine has so much torque enabled me to get back to the pits,” said Gavin. “Otherwise the hills here at Road Atlanta would have left me stuck out on the track. It was dicey because I had to drive the entire length of the straight with the engine on idle. I was staring in the mirror to make sure I wouldn’t get in anyone’s way – I was going about 25 mph, and they were passing me at 180!”

Corvette Racing’s next event is the Monterey Sports Car Challenge, the season finale of the 2008 American Le Mans Series, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on Saturday, October 18. The four-hour race is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. PDT. NBC will televise the race tape-delayed at 2 – 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 19.



Source:
Corvette Racing
AmericanLeMans.com

Related:
Corvette Racing: Petit Le Mans News Roundup
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan on the Green Challenge

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Corvette Racing: Petit Le Mans News Roundup

by Keith Cornett on October 2, 2008

The Corvette C6.Rs at Petit Le Mans
We got a ton of news and quotes coming for the Corvette Racing team as they prepare for Saturday’s 1,000-Mile/10-Hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Stay with CorvetteBlogger as we follow the factory-backed Corvette C6.Rs in what will be their last appearance in the GT1 class at the American Le Mans series premier event before transitioning to GT2 next year.


Wednesday Practice

Corvette Racing’s No. 4 Corvette C6.R of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Max Papis went quickest in GT1 at 1:16.867 (118.959 mph). The trio was 0.095 seconds quicker than the sister Corvette of Jan Magnussen, Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell.

Magnussen and O’Connell lead the class championship by 23 points over Beretta and Gavin. There are 55 points remaining over the final two events with 30 points going to Petit Le Mans winners.



Corvette Racing’s #3 Jan Magnussen on Petit Le Mans

“Petit Le Mans is a fantastic race. There are so many fans there. It’s a long event – 1,000 miles – so people tend to come there and camp out. It’s very similar to Sebring in terms of atmosphere. And the race is a little bit different than the other long races that we do. The track kind of lends itself to harder racing because you have to take bigger chances to get through traffic. But it’s, for me, a fantastic event, and I’m looking to go back there and do more than 14 laps or whatever I did last year before I got pushed off.”



A Ford for Andy Pilgrim?

Yes, that was a GM man in the pits of a Ford GT-R team Wednesday. Andy Pilgrim will co-drive Black Swan Racing’s GT2 entry with Anthony Lazzaro and team owner Tim Pappas. Pilgrim is part of Chevrolet’s factory road-racing program but received permission from GM to drive Pappas’ car.

Looking ahead, it’s not a bad idea. Corvette Racing announced in September that it will move to GT2 following next year’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Pilgrim said not to read too much into his drive this weekend as he doesn’t know how Corvette Racing will utilize him next season.

“Tim had wanted me to drive the car for awhile and it worked out this race where I could,” Pilgrim said. “It’s good to get the experience in GT2 because of the future of GM’s Corvette program and testing the GT2 car.”



Johnny O’Connell’s Charity Auction

Corvette Racing driver Johnny O’Connell will host his annual charity auction at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, October 3, at Road Atlanta’s infield winner’s circle. O’Connell organized the auction in 2001 in memory of his father to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association and The Guest House, a senior citizen day care center in Gainesville, Ga.

Drivers, teams, and manufacturers have donated memorabilia and merchandise, and O’Connell will play the role of auctioneer. The event has raised more than $200,000 for charity to date.



Bad Boy Vettes PitCam

BBV will be down in Atlanta for Petit Le Mans this weekend and their ever popular PitCam will be bringing you a live feed from the pits while the Corvette C6.Rs are on the track as well as behind the scenes view of the paddock. A chat room will be running in conjunction with the PitCam operation. Expect to see video starting on Friday.



Mad Max’s Birthday

Max Papis returns to Corvette Racing as the third driver of the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R at Petit Le Mans. The popular Italian will celebrate his 39th birthday on Friday, October 3, on the eve of the endurance race. Happy Birthday, Max!



Have You Voted?

There is still time to vote for this year’s American Le Mans Series “From The Fans” awards. The Corvette Racing team’s fearless leader Doug Fehan has been nominated so drop what you’re doing and vote for Godoug now! As fans, we can also vote for the Most Popular Driver Award and I have thrown my support behind Corvette Racing driver Johnny O’Connell. His charity auction this weekend is just another reason why he is one of the good guys in this league. Go Johnny!



The 1,000 mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans will take place this Saturday, October 4th. SPEED will televise the race live starting at 11am.



Sources:
Paddock Talk | Newshaus | Bad Boy Vettes | American Le Mans

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LG Motorsports GT2 Corvette Returning to ALMS for Petit Le Mans

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LG Motorsports/Riley Technologies GT2 #28 Corvette

Lou Gigliotti and his flame-painted #28 GT2 Corvette are returning to the ALMS to compete in the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans this weekend in Atlanta. Lou will be teaming up with Tomy Drissi while the third driver may be Marc Goossens, who filled the third seat at Sebring.

The LG Motorsports/Riley Technologies Corvette was last seen at Miller Motorsports Park in May where the team posted a season-best 6th place finish. The Corvette has been updated slightly and should be quicker than the Utah race where the team ran as high as 3rd. Lou said “Riley and our LG Team have completed some updates that we are very pleased with.”

The car will be on Dunlop Tires for this race and the team is very optimistic about the improved performance. The #28 Corvette will also have a new sponsor for Petit LeMans, the 20th Century Fox Movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still”. The movie will be in theaters December 12th and you can view the movie trailer here.



Source:
LG Motorsports

Related:
[VIDEO] ALMS GT2: LG Motorsports #28 Corvette at Utah

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[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan on the Green Challenge

by Keith Cornett on September 29, 2008

The E85 Powered 590 hp Corvette C6.R

Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan was on SPEED TV’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain last night to discuss the upcoming Green Challenge that will take place during this weekend’s 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans. The Green Challenge will pit all classes of cars in this race-within-a-race with the winner’s selected based on performance, fuel efficiency and environmental impact. Corvette Racing has thrown down the gauntlet to all contestants and is striving for the overall win.

The 1,000 mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans will take place this Saturday, October 4th. SPEED will televise the race live starting at 11am.


Source:
SPEED

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Corvette Racing Moves to E85 for 2008 ALMS Seasonn

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Actor and Corvette Racer Paul Newman Dies at 83

by Keith Cornett on September 28, 2008

Paul Newman and his GT1 Corvette

The country lost one of the greats this weekend with the passing of Paul Newman. Newman was diagnosed with lung cancer 18 months ago and passed away this weekend at the age of 83 years old. Paul’s love of auto racing is well documented since he starred in the 1969 movie Winning. Once hooked, he raced for the rest of his life. Just last year he had two SCCA regional class wins and a second place finish. Newman won four amateur national championships, a second place finish at Le Mans and in 1995 won the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Paul’s car of choice was his GT1 Corvette. Every year it was renumbered to coincide with his age. Last July, Paul and his #82 Corvette finished 4th at the Glen Nationals at Watkins Glenn.

Perhaps one of the most stirring stories in racing took place in August when Lime Rock shut down for a couple of hours so that Newman could take his final laps in the Corvette.

God Bless you Paul and thank you for your support of Corvette Racing over the years. Click here for Paul Newman’s official obituary.


Source:
Autoblog Related:
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Corvette Racing: Vote for Fehan, O’Connell in 2008!

by Keith Cornett on September 24, 2008

Corvette Racing's Johnny O'Connell following the St. Petersburg Grand Prix

It’s time to vote for this year’s American Le Mans Series “From The Fans” awards. The Corvette Racing team’s fearless leader Doug Fehan has been nominated so drop what you’re doing and vote for GoDoug now! Doug has been with team since 1999 and has helped lead Corvette Racing to eight consecutive GT1 championships in the American Le Mans Series and five class wins at Le Mans. Nobody deserves this award more than Doug.

As fans, we can also vote for the Most Popular Driver Award and I will make no bones about throwing my support behind Corvette Racing driver Johnny O’Connell. O’Connell has been doing some of his best driving this year and has led the #3 Corvette C6.R team to the top of the GT1 Drivers Championship. Johnny is a Two-time ALMS GT1 champion, 35 career ALMS wins, seven Sebring 12-hour class victories, holds ALMS records for most starts (93) and most podium finishes (70).

Fan voting is open until Sunday, October 5th, the end of Petit Le Mans weekend. Voting by the fans will determine this year’s winner. The award will be presented at the season-ending banquet in Monterey, California on the day after the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Show your support to Corvette Racing! Vote for Doug Fehan and Johnny O’Connell!


Source:
AmericanLemans.com

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[VIDEO] Cindy McCain – Corvette Drifter?

by Keith Cornett on September 17, 2008

Cindy McCain Drifting a Corvette

There are many things we don’t know about the personal lives of the Presidential candidates and that extends to their spouses as well. ESPN’s E:60 took some time with Cindy McCain and I was surprised to learn that she has a serious passion for all kinds of motor sports and has even pursued drifting.

According to her son Jack, after seeing a drifting race, Cindy was taken immediately with the sport and the two of them flew to Japan to learn from one of the Country’s highly regarded instructors.

Unfortunately, due to a wrist injury suffered on the campaign trail, we don’t get to ride along with the wife of the Republican Presidential candidate behind the wheel and sliding sideways around the corners of a track, but we do see video we’re assuming to be Cindy drifting one of the yellow Corvettes at Bondurant’s School of High Performance Driving in Phoenix.

Cindy apparently has a soft spot for NASCAR as well. The video shows her behind the wheel of Corvette Z06 Pace Car, which she drove at a NASCAR race at Pocono in August.

Cindy and her son Jack are finishing building a Nissan 240 SX with a “tricked out engine” as she calls it and promises to continue her passion for motor sports if her husband is elected.



Source:
ESPN

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