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Corvette Racing: Magnussen Motors to GT1 Pole in Motown

by Keith Cornett on August 29, 2008

The #3 Corvette C6.R at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix

Jan Magnussen took the pole in the GT1 class for Saturday’s Detroit Sports Car Challenge. Summer showers soaked both practice sessions, limiting practice time and slowing the field considerably on the 2.096 mile temporary street track. Magnussen turned his quickest time on his fifth and final lap in the #3 Corvette C6.R at 1:24.477 (88.213 mph) while Oliver Gavin was 1.024 seconds back at 1:24.501 (87.1587 mph) in the #4 Corvette C6.R.

With the wet conditions, the team changed their practice plans by running a single timed lap and then returned to the pits so the track could dry. With 10 minutes remaining, both Corvettes returned to the track and ran five timed laps.

“The first dry lap I had all day was the first lap in qualifying,” Magnussen said after claiming his second pole of the season on a street circuit. “The track was getting better and better, and we needed a few laps to get the Michelins up to operating temperature. The Corvette C6.R worked very well under the circumstances.

“It was very, very tough,” the Dane added. “It was a matter of thinking about how I drove the track last year, remembering my braking points and so on. Everybody was trying to find the right line. I didn’t get a clear lap, but I don’t think anyone did. I’m happy with the result; this makes the race a little easier.”

“The track was drying and it wasn’t as good at the beginning of the session as it was at the end,” said Corvette Racing team manager Gary Pratt. “We sent the drivers out to get a time and then brought them back in. If the drivers don’t get a qualifying time and the session ends early because of a red flag, the cars would start at the back of the grid. Our strategy was to put a time down, let the track dry out, and then run when the conditions were better.”

Corvette Racing will hit the streets of Detroit on Saturday at 2:35 pm. The two-hour, 45-minute race will be televised live on SPEED starting at 2:30 PM.


Source:
CorvetteRacing.com
Photo Credit: American LeMans

Related:
Corvette Racing: Celebrating The 100th Race At The Detroit Grand Prix
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: A Day at the Races

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GM Delaying Corvette ZR1 Deliveries For Quality Assurance

by Keith Cornett on August 28, 2008

The 2009 Corvette ZR1

After each new Corvette ZR1 rolls off the assembly line in Bowling Green, it undergoes what is being billed as “extreme quality control” in an attempt to deliver the car to customers as problem free as possible. While some are looking at the delay as a negative, Corvette Product Marketing Manager Harlan Charles tells us that this is just to make sure the ZR1s are as perfect as possible for everyone.

Harlan says this intensive scrutiny of early production Corvettes is part of the normal quality process that GM does with each new Corvette model introduction. They did it with first C6 Corvettes and they did when the new Corvette Z06 was introduced.

There is no denying that the delay is causing angst among some new owners who know that their new Corvette ZR1 has been built, but has yet to leave Bowling Green. We checked around and have been told that other than Dave Ressler who picked up the very first Corvette ZR1 last month, no cars have been delivered to retail customers.

That doesn’t mean the factory isn’t shipping the new supercharged Corvette. Truckloads of Corvette ZR1s have been sent to Detroit but these are captured test fleet cars and not assigned to customers. Those fleet Corvette ZR1s are being driven and evaluated to ensure that the quality Corvette owners have come to expect is represented on the newest Corvette.

Our opinion is that the attention to quality is a good thing as long as the delay doesn’t go on too much longer. We are feeling for those owners with the low VINs whose cars have been on the ground for a while. People aren’t used to paying $105,000 to $150,000 for a Corvette so making sure that it’s as perfect as possible and lives up to the hype makes good business sense.

The new 2009 Corvette ZR1s are coming. Harlan tells us it’s an awesome car and it’s worth waiting just a little bit more.


Photo Credit:
Jalopnik’s Corvette ZR1 Mega Gallery

Related:
[Video] Chevrolet’s Harlan Charles Shows Off the Corvette ZR1
[VIDEO] Corvette ZR1: Factory Assembly Process

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Corvette Racing's #3 Corvette C6.R at the Detroit Belle Island Grand Prix

When the Corvette Racing team takes to the streets this Saturday for the ninth round of the the 2008 ALMS season at Detroit’s Belle Isle Grand Prix, they’ll be celebrating the milestone of their 100th race in international road racing. Since the team’s debut in February 1999 at the Rolex 24 at the Daytona Motor Speedway, Corvette Racing has scored 71 wins and captured seven consecutive ALMS GT1 championships.

Chevrolet and Corvette Racing is the “home team” for Saturday’s Detroit Belle Island Grand Prix. Chevrolet is the official vehicle and 2 time Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi will be driving the E85 Corvette Z06 Pace Car to open the race. Hundreds of Corvette racing fans will also converge on Detroit and will be found in the Corvette Corral – the designated parking area for Corvette drivers attending the race. Chevrolet will have a special display set up at the site and chances are high that you’ll be able to see the new 2009 Corvette ZR1. As part of the celebration this week, Johnny O’Connell will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Detroit Tigers baseball game on Wednesday night.

“Competing in our 100th race will be an amazing achievement, and another first for a factory-backed General Motors program,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager. “Everyone at Corvette Racing is very proud of this accomplishment.”

“Reaching this milestone is a testament to GM management’s commitment to the Corvette as a brand and to the Corvette Racing program,” he continued. “Since the program’s inception, we have learned that the longer this program runs, the greater the benefits derived by the company.”

“We’ve established Corvette as a global icon,” Fehan noted. “We’ve established Corvette as the world’s best sports car – not just America’s best sports car. We’ve demonstrated to GM how lessons learned in racing can be applied to production vehicles, ultimately producing better vehicles for our customers. Corvette is the tip of the technological spear for GM, and everyone who buys a Corvette now knows that it is truly race bred.”

The drivers also seem to enjoy the 2.096 mile, 14-turn temporary racing circuit that makes Detroit Belle Island Grand Prix.

“Run almost in the shadows of the GM Renaissance Center, the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend is an appropriate stop for the American Le Mans Series. The circuit is both demanding and physical, and with the edges of the track being concrete barriers, there is no room whatsoever for any mistake. Driving a Corvette in the event last year and getting to show the executives of GM what Corvette Racing is all about was an awesome opportunity. Winning made it even better.” – Johnny O’Connell, Corvette Racing

“We have many great races on the ALMS calendar, but the Detroit Grand Prix is special. It’s a fantastic race with a very cool atmosphere. Roger Penske and the race organizers do a fantastic job with the facility, and you feel the atmosphere as soon as you cross the bridge to Belle Isle. The circuit is a fun track to drive, but it’s one of those places that doesn’t leave a lot of room for mistakes. It’s a street circuit, which makes it difficult to pass and to be passed by the prototypes, so it’s really important that you have a good understanding with the drivers around you.” – Jan Magnussen, Corvette Racing

Corvette Racing will hit the streets of Detroit on Saturday at 2:35 pm. The two-hour, 45-minute race will be televised live on SPEED starting at 2:30 PM.


Source:
CorvetteRacing.com

Related:
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: #3 Corvette C6.R Wins at Mosport
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: A Day at the Races

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C7 Corvette Rumors: Is A Twin Turbo V6 In The Mix?

by Keith Cornett on August 26, 2008

Corvette Centennial Design Concept

Popular Mechanics recently played the guessing game on the 2012 C7 Corvette and since we’re all about Corvettes here (hence the name – CorvetteBlogger), we decided to reprise our role of irresponsible speculators. Besides, now that the supercharged ZR1 is rolling off the assembly line, we need something new to dream about. With the changing times brought on by $4/gallon gas, we know two elements that will become the mantra for those in charge of developing the next Corvette – reduced weight and fuel efficiency. How GM gets there will be the trick.

Development for every generation of Corvette since the C4 has started out with engineer’s dreaming of a mid engine layout. And every single time its tried its ruled too expensive. As one of the hallmarks of the C7 program will be weight reduction, a mid engine Corvette will not be in the cards for the C7. Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics tells Popular Mechanics “The mid-engine Corvette is simply too expensive. It would need costly new tooling and offers little weight savings because it requires an extra, metal-intensive firewall.” So count on the next Corvette being like the first Corvette – front engined and rear wheel drive.

So what will go in that engine compartment? GM’s recently foray into supercharged engines could mean a smaller V8 with displacement returning back around 5.7 liters instead of the 6.2 liter and 7.0 liters we see on the C6 Corvette. But superchargers, turbo charging and variable valve timing will still make the smaller V8′s much more powerful than their predecessors.

Can a Corvette be a Corvette without a V8? Another bold idea being floated is a twin-turbo version of the 3.6-liter DOHC V6 that’s currently in the Cadillac CTS. That engine could easily pump out 400 hp, just 36 less than today’s LS3 V8. Drop that engine into a Corvette that weighs several hundred pounds less than today’s C6 and you’ll have something moves.

And speaking of weight, the new C7 Corvette will have to be several hundred pounds lighter to maintain that all important performance to weight ratio. The Corvette Z06 is already considered relatively light at 3200 pounds and technology exists to cut this figure even more. Katech recently announced that their ClubSport Z06 in its ultimate performance configuration has a weight of 2825 lbs, so we know its doable.

We could see the next generation Corvette make more extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum, especially as these materials mature and higher production levels can be achieved. The hydroformed steel frame found on the Coupe and Convertible models could be dumped altogether in favor of the aluminum frame used on the Z06 and ZR1 models. Titanium and Magnesium are two other pound saving materials that have found their way onto Corvettes in limited production but the cost factor for these metals is higher so use may still be limited to wheels and exhaust.

Popular Mechanics also believes that despite the fuel savings that could be gained from Corvette moving to a dual clutch gearbox, one with seven gears and a wide ratio spread, the development dollars for such a project, estimated at half a billion dollars, has already been shifted to other more pressing projects like the Chevy Volt. We’ll have to wait and see if this is the case as that UAW agreement that ended the strike last fall calls for such a transmission to be built.

And finally, the next Corvette will be drawn by the same talented designers who’ve been on a roll lately with efforts including the Cadillac CTS, Pontiac’s Solstice Coupe and the new Chevrolet Camaro. The Corvette Centennial Design Concept that will make its movie debut in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen may provide some insight to the limits that GM’s designers are willing to push for the 2012 Corvette C7.


Source:
Popular Mechanics

Related:
Lighter, Greener Corvette on the Horizon
GM-UAW Deal: C7 Corvette Planned for 2012

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The VoltVette: Man Builds a Plug-In Electric Corvette

by Keith Cornett on August 25, 2008

Michael Shoop and his Electric 1978 Corvette

What do you do if you want an electric car but don’t want to pay the more than $26,000 for a Prius? Oh, and you want a car that looks cool too? If you’re Michael Shoop, you enlist a few buddies, buy a 1987 Corvette and build your own. A year after envisioning a 100% electric-powered car, the VoltVette was born.

According to Shoop, the 1987 Corvette is the perfect platform for the do-it yourself project. Its fiberglass body is lightweight, and the clamshell hood which opens forward which makes it easier to work on. Shoop removed the 240-hp engine and replaced with a specially designed electric car motor. The Corvette is now powered by 13 lead 12-volt batteries which produce 156 volts of power that translates to 200 horsepower. The batteries weigh 70 pounds each are a stored in both the engine compartment and cargo area for balance.

The VoltVette: 1987 Electric Powered Corvette The VoltVette: 1987 Electric Powered Corvette The VoltVette: 1987 Electric Powered Corvette

Performance unfortunately is lacking. The 1987 Corvette was designed with a top speed of 149 mph. The VoltVette reached 30 mph on its maiden drive. Shoop could reprogram the Volt Vette to boost the horsepower up to 800, but there’s a catch – he’d need an additional 40 batteries.

And then there’s the torque factor. Like all electric powered cars, the VoltVette generates a massive amount of torque. While trying to increase the power to hit 70 mph he cracked the driveshaft. With a new driveshaft installed as well as some down-home ingenuity that now gives the ’87 Corvette power steering, the VoltVette can reach a top speed of 40 mph.

Shoop estimates the VoltVette costs around 3-cents per mile to operate. Not bad considering the Toyota Prius costs around 7-cents per mile based on $3.50/gallon gas. Electric motors are more reliable as well according to Shoop, “The car industry makes money on parts, repairs and maintenance, and that’s why it hates the electric car.”

The VoltVette was built for under $26,000 which included the cost of the car. “I figured I would get it done, and have the pleasure of cruising by a gas station and maybe waving.”

Read more about the VoltVette on Shoop’s blog hosted by the Minnesota Electric Auto Association.


Source:
TwinCities.com

Related:
Video: Jay Leno’s E85 C6RS Corvette Reveal
Lighter, Greener Corvette on the Horizon

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[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: #3 Corvette C6.R Wins at Mosport

by Keith Cornett on August 24, 2008

Jan Magnussen and Johnny O'Connell Win Their Seventh Race of the Year at Mosport

Continuing their domination of the GT1 class in the ALMS, Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen won their seventh win of the season and their sixth straight at the Grand Prix of Mosport. The dynamic duo led from flag to flag finishing ahead of teammates Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the #4 Corvette C6.R. The Bell Motorsports #008 Aston Martin finished third in class, two laps behind the two Corvettes.

The win for O’Connell was his 35th career ALMS victory and his sixth win at Mosport, becoming the most successful ALMS driver at the Mosport International Raceway. For Jan, the win was his 21st victory in his ALMS career. The two first won together at Mosport in an LMP1 prototype in 1999, and this was the second consecutive win at Ron Fellow’s home track.

“Getting through traffic was the key to this race,” said Magnussen, who drove two stints in the two-hour, 45-minute race. “The ultimate lap time wasn’t that important, but getting through traffic without losing time was crucial. I was so happy with the job that (crew chief) Dan Binks did on the radio, helping me all the time. Once or twice I looked in the mirror to check, but otherwise I just trusted him. Whenever he said it was clear, it was clear; when he told me to stay out, I stayed out. There’s not a scratch on the car and another win in the record book – perfect!”

O’Connell and Magnussen increased their lead in the GT1 Drivers Championship to 27 points (171-144) over Gavin and Beretta. O’Connell and Magnussen also have a chance to break the ALMS record for wins in a season which currently stands at 9. With three racings remaining, the two would need to run the board but with the way they’ve been driving this season, it’s certainly a goal worth pursuing.

During the coverage of the race on SPEED, Oliver Gavin’s off-track excursion in Turn 2 during Saturday morning’s practice session was replayed. Seeing the damage to the front of the #4 Corvette C6.R after it went head-on into the tire barrier and then knowing that the crew was able to fix the Corvette for the qualifying session later in the afternoon is a testament to the resourcefulness of the team. You can see the video from that crash below.

Corvette Racing’s next event is the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch, the ninth round of the 2008 American Le Mans Series. The two-hour, 45-minute race on the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix temporary circuit is scheduled to start at 2:35 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Aug. 30. SPEED will televise the race live starting at 2:30 p.m. EDT.


Source:
CorvetteRacing.com

Related:
Corvette Racing: O’Connell Snatches The Pole at Mosport
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: Gavin Crashes at Road America

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[VIDEO] Corvettes Get Patriotic at Carlisle

by Keith Cornett on August 24, 2008

Red, White and Blue Corvettes Make Giant American Flag

Corvettes at Carlisle’s Lance Miller had a dream to make a giant flag out of Red, White and Blue Corvettes. After a year of planning, that dream came to fruition on Saturday with 117 Corvettes making up the red and white stripes and the blue field, while 50 white balloons made the stars. Video after the jump.


Source:
WHTM

Related:
Vettes and Jets on the Lex

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Corvette Racing: O’Connell Snatches The Pole at Mosport

by Keith Cornett on August 23, 2008

The #3 Corvette C6.R Captures The Pole at Mosport

On his fifth and final lap of qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Mosport, Johnny O’Connell sped around the 2.459 mile Mosport International Raceway in 1:13.878 (119.825 mph) to capture his second pole of the 2008 ALMS season. O’Connell’s lap time was .069 seconds faster than Olivier Beretta, who set the pace on his fourth lap at 1:13.947 (119.713 mph), but ran into traffic on his final lap and could not improve his time.

The real news of day occurred earlier in the day when Oliver Gavin went off-course on Mosport’s high-speed Turn 2 in the Number 4 Corvette C6.R, crashing head-on with a tire barrier. Gavin emerged unscathed and the crew had the car repaired and back on the track for the afternoon practice and qualifying.

“I’m fine, but feeling very disappointed,” said Gavin, who was examined and cleared to drive by medical personnel at the track. “I had the accident at Elkhart Lake, and then to get back in the car at Mosport and have another incident is a big disappointment for the guys. It seems that this year is just going from one thing to another.”

“We had the pole for two or three laps, and then Olivier nailed one and put a quicker time up there,” O’Connell recalled. “I heard the excitement in (crew chief) Dan Binks’ voice, ‘You’re minus three, minus three!’ Then on my last lap I got a good run through Turns 1 and 2, but at the exit of Turn 2 a Viper had spun. Binks said, ‘He’s out of the way!’ so I stayed with it and ran really hard into Turn 3. I could tell I was pulling some time on Olivier, and knew I had to carry some serious speed into Turn 8. I took some chances there, and it paid off.”

The Grand Prix of Mosport at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario is scheduled to start at 3:05 p.m. EST on Sunday, August 24. SPEED will televise the race live at 3 p.m. EDT.


Source:
CorvetteRacing.com
American LeMans – Photo Credit

Related:
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: Gavin Crashes at Road America
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: #3 C6.R Battles For Win at Mid-Ohio

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2008 Corvette Pace Cars Now Discounted with Employee Pricing

One of the most successful incentive programs offered by GM is now back and the good news is Corvettes are included. Employee pricing for everyone runs through September 2nd and Corvette buyers can save a significant amount on 2008 Coupes, Convertibles and the Z06.

Usually Corvettes are excluded from most of GM’s incentive programs but due to the number of 2008 Corvettes available on dealers lots – 5,854 as of yesterday – the General wants them sold to make room for the 2009 Corvettes now rolling off of the Bowling Green Assembly line.

The discounts are fairly significant too. In the case of the 505 horsepower Z06 where base prices start around $72,000 the discounts can be close to $10,000 off!

Our friends at Kerbeck Corvette only have a few 2008′s left including a Black Z06 and a Indianapolis 500 Pace Car coupe so if you want to get in on the discounts you better give Dave and the gang a call immediately at 1-877-537-2325. Make sure you tell them CorvetteBlogger sent you!


Sponsored by:
Kerbeck Corvette

Related:
July 2008 Corvette Sales

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CorvetteBlogger's Keith Cornett with his 1966 Sting Ray

It was three years ago today I registered the CorvetteBlogger.com domain name and you could say the rest is history. I’d like to say thanks to all my readers and regular commenters that have helped in making this site one of the most comprehensive online sources for Corvette Sales, News and Lifestyle information.

I started my first Corvette website back in October of 1995 as a personal site dedicated to my 1966 Corvette. When that site launched, there were probably only 15 or so websites that dealt with Corvettes. VetteFinders.com, my Corvette classifieds website was launched in April of 1996 and remains one of the leaders in this crowded category. I was interested in blogging as far back as 2003 but was concerned about what type of subject matter I would cover and if there would be enough material to write about. As a test, I started blogging in early August 2005 and realized the potential immediately. CorvetteBlogger.com was launched the same month and has since evolved into a discussion of what I call the our three pillars of blogging content:

Sales:
Includes corvettes for sale or those that have been sold both privately or at public auctions. This category also encompasses my passion for Corvette pricing and values.

News:
Self explanatory, this category covers Corvettes in the news as well as news about Corvettes.

Lifestyle:
These posts are some of my favorites, and include stories about people and events surrounding the Corvette hobby.

Here are some of our blogging stats:

  • 884 Blog Posts
  • 400 Comments
  • 1,111 days since our first post

I’d also like to thank our sponsors who are helping to support the site: Proteam Corvette Sales, Kerbeck Corvette, Boundurant School of High Performance Driving and Ecklers Corvette Parts. All are tops in their respective categories and you couldn’t be better served by any other company.

I am working on some new ideas for the site as I look to take CorvetteBlogger.com to the next level. I’d love to have any input and suggestions from the readers of the site. Please drop me a line at keith@corvetteblogger.com or call me at 877-608-3883. If you have a passion for Corvettes and can sting together a few coherent paragraphs, I’d love to talk with you. Related:
Our First Blog Post: Buying a Corvette – Select Year
1st Post on the ZR1: 8/20/05 – Blue Devil Corvette Lives
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