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Corvette Racing: Team Celebrates Post-Seasons Awards

by Keith Cornett on October 25, 2008

Doug Fehan (left) accepts the From the Fans award from ALMS found Don Panoz

Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan was presented with the From The Fans Award at the American Le Mans awards ceremony following last weekend’s season finale, the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca. Mike West, crew chief for the #4 Corvette C6.R was named GT1 Mechanic of the Year. Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell won the GT1 drivers championship and Chevrolet took home the GT1 manufacturers championship trophy for the eighth straight year.

Fehan’s win of the From the Fans award is significant because it’s determined by ALMS fans in online voting. The purpose is to award the person who has made the greatest contribution to sports car racing in the year. Fehan was very busy this year as one of the most visible supporters of the Green Challenge initiative. Doug also helped raise more than $6,000 in the Corvette Challenge Bike Race to Fight Cancer which benefited the Lance Armstrong Foundation by racing C6.R driver Oliver Gavin in a lap around Road America.

“Each and every one of our team members knows how to take care of our fans – not only our fans, but all fans,” said Fehan. “Anybody who visits Corvette Racing knows that hospitality is our No. 1 priority. We try to make everyone feel at home.”

Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen won the GT1 drivers championship. This was the third time O’Connell won award, and his first with teammate Jan Magnussen. Johnny came within three votes of winning the Most Popular Driver award.

“Jan and I were teamed together in 1999 with another marque, and we never got that second season,” said O’Connell. “I’m so grateful to everyone at Chevrolet for giving us the opportunity to realize what I thought would have happened in 2000. I’m blessed that throughout my career I’ve had great teammates, guys that I could push and that could push me. To all the great champions, whether you won or not, it’s an honor for all of us to compete with you week in and week out.”

The GT1 Mechanic of the Year went to Mike West, crew chief of the #4 Corvette C6.R. The recipient is selected by the pit lane and technical staffs of the IMSA. This was Mike’s first time to win the prestigious award.

Finally, Corvette Racing claimed its eight consecutive team title in the GT1 class. GM’s Racing Director Mark Kent accepted the manufacturers trophy and said the following:

“Corvette Racing has achieved remarkable results in 10 years of competition in the GT1 category,” Kent said. “The 2008 season marks the end of one chapter in Corvette Racing history, and the beginning of a new chapter as we move into the GT2 category in 2009. We look back at our past success with pride, and we look forward to new challenges with determination to succeed. We anticipate great competition, and I can think of no team that is better prepared for that challenge than Corvette Racing.”



Source:
Corvette Racing

Related:
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan on the Green Challenge
Corvette Racing: Vote for Fehan, O’Connell in 2008!
Le Mans: Corvette Racing and the National Anthem

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Elfi Arkus-Duntov: 1915-2008

by Keith Cornett on October 25, 2008

Elfi and Zora Arkus-Duntov

If Zora Arkus-Duntov is considered the “Father of the Corvette”, then his wife Elfi was most certainly Corvette’s First Lady. The National Corvette Museum announced that Elfi Arkus-Duntov passed away on October 23, 2008 at St. John’s Hospital in Detroit. She had been hospitalized there for several weeks with a severe leg infection.

The former dancer from the Folies Bergere in Paris was 93 going on 19. Together, she and Zora personified the performance and allure of the early Corvettes. Even well into their years, the pair had an energy and spark that infected everyone around them. Now they can be together again.

Funeral arrangements are pending and additional information will be made available via the Museum. Elfi will be cremated and her ashes will be joined with Zora’s as part of the current tribute inside the Museum.


Source:
National Corvette Museum
Photo Credit: Corvette Owners Club

Related:
Zora’s Ashes Rest at Corvette Museum
Video: Zora’s 1955 Corvette Sold By RM Auctions for $134,750

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Motor Trend tests the 2009 Corvette ZR1

Motor Trend hauled a Corvette ZR1 down to Arizona where they strapped their performance measuring instruments to the 638 hp King of the Hill and went wild on Chrysler’s Proving Grounds. No, the merger ain’t done yet, but Chrysler’s five mile high-speed loop is one of the few places in the US that has the space to test the Corvette ZR1′s top speed.

In addition to bringing their instruments, Motor Trend also brought a test driver who knows how to drive, former IndyCar driver and Daytona 24 Hours winner Didier Theys who drove the Corvette ZR1 and recorded the best performance numbers we’ve seen yet. The magazine hit the magic 200 mph mark, corrected due to a 25-mph headwind, and was still pulling according to the VMAX.

In the other measurements that matter, the Corvette ZR1 performed superbly. 0-to-60 mph was achieved in 3.3 seconds and the ZR1 blew through the quarter mile in 11.2 seconds at 130.5 mph. The huge Brembo carbon ceramic brakes stopped the Corvette ZR1 from 60 mph in just 97 feet. Finally, the lateral acceleration averaged at 1.1 g.

Motor Trend enjoyed their time spent with the new Corvette, and frankly, who wouldn’t. Check out the article’s opening statement:

Prepare to be humiliated. If, that is, you’re a sports-car maker other than Chevrolet. Call it what you will — “Blue Devil,” “King of the Hill,” even “Steve” – the all-new 2009 Corvette ZR1 is a world-beater.


Here is a comparison of the three instrumented Corvette ZR1 tests:

MAGAZINE 0-60 MPH 1/4 MILE SKIDPAD BREAKING
Motor Trend 3.3 Secs 11.2@130.5 1.10 g 97 ft
Popular Mechanics 3.7 Secs 11.5@127.8 1.04 g 94.9 ft
Car & Driver 3.4 Secs 11.5@128.0 1.07 g 142 ft*

* Car and Driver’s breaking distance test is 70 mph to 0, the other magazines are rated at 60 mph to 0.


Source:
Motor Trend

Related:
Popular Mechanics’ Corvette ZR1 Instrumented Test Results
Car and Driver’s Corvette ZR1 Instrumented Test Results
[VIDEO] Another Corvette ZR1 on the Dyno pulls 549.9 RWHP!
Corvette ZR1 Wednesday: The ‘First Drive’ Reviews Are In

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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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1962 Gulf Oil Corvette Sells for $1.485 Million at Pebble Beach Technorati Tags:
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1958 Corvette Resto-Mode was the top Corvette sale at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas

As mentioned earlier today in our Results post, it seems wholly appropriate that the top Corvette sale at Barrett-Jackson’s inaugural collector car auction in Sin City was a Resto-Mod. On the final evening of the auction, this Silver-Blue 1958 Corvette Roadster was bided up and hammered home for $170,000.

This Corvette is a Resto-Mod done right. Blending the classic looks of the 1958 Corvette and preserving its stock appearance, one might never guess that lurking under the hood is a C6 Corvette’s 400 hp LS2 V8 coupled to a Tremec 6-speed transmission. Creature comforts like power steering, power windows, air conditioning, heated seats, iPod deck are all included.

The Corvette was built by Greg Thurmon of GTS Customs. The design concept was to preserve a stock look without sacrificing modern conveniences, handling and ride. This blend was achieved by converting original gauges to work with the LS2, painting the car in the original color of Silver Blue, custom dying the leather to match the stock Silver Blue vinyl, adding custom stock appearance shift plate, converting the original radio to AM/FM and most notably having custom wheels created to duplicate the look of the 1958 hubcaps, scaling up the diameter to accommodate modern profile 55 series tires.

Reportedly costing over $225,000 to build, the Corvette was sold for $170,000 to a very enthusiastic buyer.

1958 Corvette Resto-Mod 1958 Corvette Resto-Mod 1958 Corvette Resto-Mod


Source:
Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction
SPEED

Related:
[VIDEO] Auction Results: 1968 Corvette Convertible at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas
[VIDEO] Auction Results: 1966 Corvette Coupe at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas
Auction Results: Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Tops $3.3 Million in Corvette Sales
Corvette Auction: Barrett-Jackson’s Inaugural Las Vegas Event

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1968 Corvette Auctioned by Barrett-Jackson

The three day inaugural Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auction last week shows that despite a poor economy, the buying and selling of Collector Corvettes remains relatively strong. 53 Corvettes were run through the Mandalay Bay auction and a total of $3,348,500 was generated from these sales. However, the weak economy did affect the auction in terms of the types of Corvettes that were offered.

For an auction based in Las Vegas, the list of Corvettes sold reflected the perceived notions we have about the host city. Glitz, glamour…but when you start to look closely, not all are as it seems. Gone from this action was the perennial auction favorite, the 1967 L71 427/435 hp big block. Just one crossed the block and there has been some discussion whether or not this car was “bought-back” by the seller for $150,000. While you could look through the list and find some NCRS certificated cars, many others had non-original motors and no less than 12 were presented as customs or resto-mods. When you break down the sales, average sales price was $63,169 and only 8 of the 53 Corvettes crossed the $100,000 mark.

The top seller of the auction was a 1958 Resto-mod, powered by a C6 LS2 V8, but very stock looking from outward appearances. This Corvette sold for $170,000. Runner up was a Nassau Blue 1966 Corvette Roadster powered by a 427/390 V8. This matching numbers Corvette came complete with documentation and was a NCRS Top Flight in June 2008.

Looking at the sales list we did some apparent bargains, again, dependant on whether or not these Corvettes were what the seller said they were, which is always something you have to question when looking at auction results. A black 1954 Corvette sold for $83,000. With only 4 known black ’54s in existence, the buyer may have the steal of the show. Proteam’s Terry Michaelis gave the camera a thumbs up after buying a 1968 L89 427/435 Corvette Roadster for $66,000. A low mileage original 1968 small block convertible sold for $31,000. And finally, a 1962 Ermine White roadster with a 327/360 fuel injected V8 sold for $64,000. Here is the sold list for the 2008 Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Collector Car Auction:

LOT # YEAR MAKE/MODEL STYLE SALE
106 1979 CORVETTE COUPE $7,500
139 1968 CORVETTE COUPE $17,500
146 1989 CORVETTE CALLAWAY TWIN-TURBO COUPE $24,500
158 1969 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $33,000
164.1 1972 CORVETTE CUSTOM COUPE $33,000
168.1 1968 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $31,000
181 1966 CORVETTE COUPE $57,000
187 1967 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $50,000
203 1954 CORVETTE CUSTOM CONVERTIBLE $47,000
420.1 1990 CORVETTE ZR-1 COUPE $25,000
421 1973 CORVETTE T-TOP $27,000
428 1973 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $29,500
449 1969 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $42,500
464.1 1960 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $60,000
468 1958 CORVETTE CUSTOM CONVERTIBLE $58,000
471 1964 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $49,000
472 1966 CORVETTE COUPE $62,000
478 1965 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $62,000
479 1999 CORVETTE 1953 COMMEMORATIVE EDITION $64,000
482.1 1962 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $64,000
485 1965 CORVETTE COUPE $75,000
490 1957 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $72,000
503 1968 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $66,000
505 1961 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $80,000
511.1 1966 CORVETTE CUSTOM CONVERTIBLE $50,000
512 1962 CORVETTE CUSTOM CONVERTIBLE $80,000
514 2005 CORVETTE DAYTONA PACE CAR $40,000
514.1 1999 CORVETTE 24 HOURS OF LEMANS PACE CAR $25,000
514.2 1995 CORVETTE INDY PACE CAR #3 $41,000
518 2003 CORVETTE AVELATE CONVERTIBLE $85,000
518.1 1958 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $50,000
519.1 1972 CORVETTE COUPE $61,000
520 2000 CORVETTE AVELATE CUSTOM CONVERTIBLE $48,000
524.1 1958 CORVETTE RE-CREATION CONVERTIBLE $115,000
526.1 1966 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $52,000
528.1 1969 CORVETTE CUSTOM COUPE $44,000
533.1 1962 CORVETTE RE-CREATION CONVERTIBLE $85,000
721 1993 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $34,500
774.1 1962 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $77,000
778.1 1962 CORVETTE RESTO-MOD CONVERTIBLE $120,000
785 1954 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $50,000
786 1956 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $84,000
786.1 1966 CORVETTE COUPE $100,000
788 1958 CORVETTE RESTO-MOD CONVERTIBLE $170,000
794.1 1957 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $100,000
795.1 1966 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $155,000
807.1 1967 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $150,000
818 1955 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $102,000
822 1967 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $55,000
830 1954 CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE $83,000
832.2 2005 CORVETTE DAYTONA PACE CAR $51,000
833 1999 CORVETTE 24 HOURS OF LEMANS PACE CAR $34,000
833.2 2005 CORVETTE INDY PACE CAR #3 $70,000
         
      Total Corvette Sales: $3,348.000


Source:
Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

Related:
[VIDEO] Auction Results: 1968 Corvette Convertible at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas
[VIDEO] Auction Results: 1966 Corvette Coupe at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas
Corvette Auction: Barrett-Jackson’s Inaugural Las Vegas Event

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Split Window 1961 Corvette Headed for SEMA

by Keith Cornett on October 20, 2008

Custom 1961 Corvette Split Window

Macon, Illinois based Street Rods Only specializes in building custom C1 Corvette resto-mods. This 1961 Corvette they are currently working on may be one of the most original trans-generational Corvette designs we’ve seen. Utilizing a 1961 Corvette body which features essentially the same duck-tail rear end of the C2 Corvette, the guys have customized a 1963 style split-window removable hard top to give the car a look that’s truly one of a kind.

The SEMA show is coming up in early November so this Custom Corvette should be nearing completion. We’ll check back to see if we can lay our hands on any completed photos once the car is finished.

Custom 1961 Corvette Split Window Custom 1961 Corvette Split Window Custom 1961 Corvette Split Window


Source:
Street Rods Only via CarDomain.com

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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

Related:
Corvette Racing: New Jake Livery Set for Monterey

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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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Next-Generation C7 Corvette on Hold – Indefinitely

by Keith Cornett on October 18, 2008

C7 Corvette Rendering

It was just two weeks ago that Motor Trend reported the next generation Corvette would be pushed back to 2014. With turbulent economic crises threatening the very existence of the Big 3 automakers, word comes from AutoWeek that GM has put plans for the C7 Corvette on indefinite hold with no official word or set timetable.

Luckily, none of the sources are suggesting that the Corvette will go away. Corvette Vehicle-Line Executive Tom Wallace told AutoWeek “No one is saying we’re not doing Corvettes. We’re still bullish on Corvettes.” When asked directly if there was any chance the Corvette would die, Wallace stated emphatically “No way.”

Talk is now about the how the C6 Corvette’s run can be extended. One version of the story is that the C6 could be upgraded significantly in 2012 as a ’13 model. Wallace says we’ll see changes sooner than that. “There are changes, some neat stuff, coming for 2010 that I can’t talk about yet.”

Read the entire article at AutoWeek.


Sources:
AutoWeek

Related:
C7 Corvette Rumors: No Mid-Engine and C7 Pushed Back to 2014