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Corvette Racing: GT2 Will Never Be The Same

by Keith Cornett on September 10, 2008

The #4 Corvette at the Detroit Sports Car Challenge

An exciting announcement came yesterday from GM Road Racing Manager Steve Wesoloski: Corvette Racing will be back in the ALMS for 2009 and 2010. The team is planning on running their GT1 Corvettes in limited races during the first half the season and will compete in the 2009 24 Hours of LeMans. Following that race, Corvette Racing will return to the ALMS and will run 2 new cars in the GT2 class for the remainder of the 2009 schedule. In 2010, the team will then run a full season in the restructured GT class.

According to GM’s press release, the team will only run twice in the GT1 class (Sebring,Long Beach) before June’s 24 Hours of LeMans. Over the last couple of years, four ALMS races preceeded LeMans. Following their return from France, the team will switch to the GT2 class in the attempt to unseat both Porsche and Ferrari from the podiums in “selected” ALMS races. This is essentially saying that 2009 will be the swan song for the GT1 C6.R as well as a “rebuilding” year for the GT2 C6.R.

But it’s in 2010 that things really get interesting. A major reshuffling of the classes will essentially merge GT1 and GT2 into one class called GT. Under ACO/FIA rules, the GT class is much closer to production cars with the race cars limited to a maximum engine displacement of 5.5 liters. The move to GT2 in 2009 will see Corvette transition from a displacement of 7.0 liters down to 6.0 liters.

First the quotes and then we’ll tell you why this is great news:

“Corvette Racing will be well positioned for the future of production-based sports car racing worldwide with the plans we are announcing today,” said Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing Road Racing Group manager. “The international regulations are converging around a single, global GT class, and we intend to continue Corvette’s motorsports heritage by racing against manufacturers and marques that Corvette competes with in the marketplace.

“The GT1 class has been a platform for GM Racing and our partners to develop the most technically sophisticated race cars in our history,” Wesoloski said. “We intend to apply the tremendous success we have had in the GT1 category to make the next-generation Corvette C6.R a strong contender in the new GT class.”

“Competing in GT2 will be a true test of our team’s determination, talent and technology,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager. “The level of competition in the category is already fierce, and that promises to become more intense with more manufacturers and top-tier teams. We’ve explored alternative paths, and we believe that competing in GT is the right road for Corvette Racing to take in the future.

“We will continue our commitment to cellulosic E85R ethanol racing fuel in the current GT1 Corvette C6.R and the next-generation Corvette C6.R that will compete in the new GT class ” Fehan said. “Corvette Racing’s green racing initiative is proof of our commitment to using alternative fuels at the highest levels of motorsports.”

The obvious reason why this is a great move is that Corvette will be racing against the likes of Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, BMW, Ford, Dodge, and Panoz. Way better than the once a year battle at LeMans against the Aston Martin DBR9s and Saleen’s S7 and way, way better than the two Corvette C6.Rs knocking the doors off each other.

The GT2 and then GT race cars will feature much more of the production Corvette DNA that you and I love. The old adage of “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday” will become more of a reality for Corvette than (dare I say) GM’s NASCAR program.

But most importantly is what this move will do for the next generation C7 Corvette. Corvette Racing is the on-track testing platform for the newest technologies. The LS7 505 hp V8, carbon fiber body panels and ceramic brakes were all tested on the C6.Rs before being incorporated on production C6 Corvettes. Racing a production based C6 Corvette with a smaller engine displacement will ensure that the two major C7 development goals of weight reduction and fuel efficiency will be tried and tested in time for 2012 when the new Corvette is expected.

In the last 10 years, the partnership of GM and Pratt & Miller has established the Corvette Racing brand as one of most dominant teams in road racing history. Corvette Racing is the most successful team in ALMS history, winning seven consecutive ALMS GT1 manufacturers and team championships and six straight drivers championships. Corvette Racing has also dominated globally with five GT1 victories since 2001 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

While 2009 will be a time of transition for the team, the real payoff will come in 2010 and beyond. For Corvette Racing enthusiasts, the news couldn’t be any sweeter! The GT2 class (and then GT) won’t be the same.

For more on the subject, we recommend reading the following: Our friends at BadBoyVettes provide an excellent bullet-by-bullet analysis
Marshall Pruett writes about Corvette’s New Direction at SPEED TV
American LeMans Press Release: Corvette Racing Back For 2009
And finally, the release from GM: Corvette Racing Announces Future Plans



Source:
GM.com
AmericanLeMans.com

Related:
GM Red Flags Corvette’s Le Mans Evo C7R Racer
Corvettes to Compete in ALMS GT2 Class in 2008

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Corvette Photo Caption Contest – The Winners List

by Keith Cornett on September 9, 2008

C6 Corvette and a Mercedes Benz Getting It On

Thanks for everyone who submitted a caption for our Corvette accident photo. There were some real gems submitted, so instead of picking one winner, I selected three from the list:

1. “The luxury you want with the handling you crave” – Matt Culler

2. “OK, I promise to leave the Nordschleife alone, from now on it’s yours” – Lee Kibbler

3. “Wow, I knew that new wax I bought at Carlisle was slippery, but…” – Mike Holeva

An email will be sent to the three winners so I can get their mailing addresses. Our first place winner will receive a 2008 Corvette Black Book, 2008 Corvette Price Guide and a Bridgestone Firestone tire gauge. The two runner ups will each receive a Bridgestone Firestone tire gauge. This was fun and the participation was greater than expected so we’ll see about doing more of these kinds of contests.


Source:
Ventura County Star

Related:
Corvette Accident Photo: Prizes For Best Caption
Take Out! Hertz Corvette ZHZ Wrecks Dallas Restaurant

Thanks to:
Bridgestone Firestone

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Corvette Accident Photo: Prizes For Best Caption

by Keith Cornett on September 7, 2008

C6 Corvette and a Mercedes Benz Getting It On

These photos were taken on Friday from an accident scene in Ventura California. I’ll give away a 2008 Corvette Price Guide, a 2008 Corvette Black Book, and a new Bridgestone Firestone tire gauge to visitors who post the best captions.

C6 Corvette and a Mercedes Benz Getting It On C6 Corvette and a Mercedes Benz Getting It On
The caption contest is now closed and three winners have been selected. Click here to see our favorites.


Source:
Ventura County Star

Related:
Take Out! Hertz Corvette ZHZ Wrecks Dallas Restaurant

Thanks to:
Bridgestone Firestone

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[VIDEO] Corvettes Galore Inside the GM Heritage Center

by Keith Cornett on September 5, 2008

The Mako Shark Concept Corvette

I Got Shotgun and GMnext’s Race Master Ryan takes us on a video tour through the GM Heritage Center where you will see some of the finest cars, trucks and automotive concepts collected during GM’s 100 year history. Corvettes are everywhere in the collection. We see a little bit of everything including a 1953 Corvette, the #63 Corvette C5-R that raced at LeMans and the Mako Shark Corvette concept vehicle.

The GM Heritage Collection consists of 600+ cars spread out all around the world, with 200 in Detroit at the Heritage Center. Unfortnately, the GM Heritage Collection is not opened to the general public, but on occassion, GM will loan out cars to other museums and auto events.


Source:
Streetfire

Related:
[VIDEO] Matched Set of 1953/2003 Corvettes sell for $390,500

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Bondurant Driving School Adding 2009 Corvette ZR1 to Fleet

by Keith Cornett on September 5, 2008

The Bondurant School of High Performance Driving

Want to drive the 638-hp 2009 Corvette ZR1 but are have trouble coming up with the $105,000 entry fee? The Bondurant School of High Performance Driving is adding at least one of the new supercharged Corvettes to its fleet of Corvettes as part of its 2-day ZR1 Driving Course. The new top of the line Corvette is expected to be at the school’s Phoenix facility in late September.

The ZR1 Control Course is one of the benefits buyers receive when they purchase the new Corvette. The 2-Day Corvette ZR1 Driving Course is offered for free to new Corvette ZR1 owners. Non-ZR1 owners can also take the course, which is expected to run $3395.

Drivers will first start out in seat of the regular Corvette C6 Coupe before moving up to the high performance Z06 and then the ZR1. Bondurant’s students spend 80% of their time at the school on the track and the student to instructor ratio of 3:1 will ensure that participants will come away from the track with a positive experience.

Visit the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving for more information and don’t forget to make your plans for the Bondurant Corvette Performance Experience on December 6th.


Source:
Bondurant via Motor Trend

Related:
[VIDEO] Bondurant School of High Performance Driving

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August 2008 Corvette Sales

by Keith Cornett on September 4, 2008

To say that GM’s two rebate programs in August – the 0% Financing offer and the Employee Discount Program has given new life to sales of Corvettes is an understatement, much like saying the Corvette ZR1 is just another sports car. Sales of new Corvettes in August 2008 shot up to 4,242 units from 1,870 units the month before, and year to year Corvette deliveries are up 47%. Despite the fact that 2009 Corvettes are now in dealer showrooms, customers turned out overwhelming to purchase 2008 Corvettes – over 3,100 of them – based on a comparison of this month’s Corvette Stock Report compared to what we saw at the beginning of last month.

While we usually save the Corvette Stock Report for after the monthly sales tables, its important to highlight just what effect the Employee Discount Program for Everyone has accomplished. At the beginning of August, there were a total of 7,162 2008 Corvettes available. As of yesterday that number has dropped to 4,033 units. That’s a reduction of last year’s inventory by 56% in just one month.

The good news is that GM has extended the Employee Discount Program though the month of September so the hope is the buying surge will continue to reduce levels of 2008 inventories including the Corvette.

2008 Corvette Delivery Statistics
Month Calendar Year-to-Date
Month 2008 2007 % Change Months 2008 2007 % Change
January 2,015 2,234 -9.8% Jan-Jan 2,015 2,234 -9.8%
February 2,071 2,784 -25.6% Jan-Feb 4,086 5,018 -18.6%
March 2,692 3,158 -14.8% Jan-Mar 6,788 8,176 -17.1%
April 3,190 3,227 -1.1% Jan-Apr 9,968 11,403 -12.6%
May 2,904 3,300 -12.0% Jan-May 12,872 14,703 -12.5%
June 2,082 3,055 -31.8% Jan-Jun 14,954 17,758 -15.8%
July 1,870 2,377 -21.3% Jan-Jul 16,824 20,135 -16.4%
August 4,242 2,877 47.4 Jan-Aug 21,066 23,012 -8.5


2007 Corvette Delivery Statistics
Month Calendar Year-to-Date
Month 2007 2006 % Change Months 2007 2006 % Change
January 2,234 2,579 -16.8% Jan-Jan 2,234 2,579 -16.8%
February 2,784 3,058 -9.0% Jan-Feb 5,018 5,637 -11.0%
March 3,158 3,655 -16.7% Jan-Mar 8,176 9,292 -12.0%
April 3,227 3,516 -0.6% Jan-Apr 11,403 12,808 -11.0%
May 3,300 3,317 -4.3% Jan-May 14,703 16,125 -8.8%
June 3,055 2,938 0.1% Jan-Jun 17,758 19,063 -6.8%
July 2,377 2,794 -11.4% Jan-Jul 20,135 21,857 -7.9%
August 2,877 2,990 -3.8% Jan-Aug 23,012 24,842 -7.4%
September 2,837 3,056 -3.5% Jan-Sept 25,849 27,903 -7.4%
October 2,484 2,761 -13.5% Jan-Oct 28,333 30,664 -7.6%
November 2,438 2,773 -12.1% Jan-Nov 30,771 33,437 -8.0%
December 2,914 3,081 -5.4% Jan-Dec 33,685 36,518 -7.8%


Corvette Stock Report:

A check of Jeff Hardy’s website shows a total of 7,605 Corvettes on the ground as of yesterday and can be broken down into:

  • 2007 Corvettes – 261
  • 2008 Corvettes – 4,032
  • 2009 Corvettes – 3,312
For those of you looking to score on a 2008 Corvette, here’s the current breakdown in 2008 Corvette inventory:
  • 2,006 Corvette Coupes
  • 1,042 Corvette Convertibles
  • 984 Corvette Z06


Source:
GM.com
JeffHardy.com

Related:
Save Up To $10K On 2008 Corvettes With GM’s Employee Pricing
GM Offering 0% Financing on 2008 Corvettes
July 2008 Corvette Sales

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[VIDEO] NHRA Pro Modified Corvette Crashes, Driver Critical

by Keith Cornett on September 4, 2008

1963 Corvette Pro Modified Drag Car

NHRA Pro Modified driver Steve Engle was critically injured when his 1963 Corvette drag racer went out of control following a run at Saturday’s Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Witnesses said the run looked good at the beginning, but towards the end and traveling an estimated 230 mph, the car hooked hard and veered nearly head on into the left cement barrier, cracking a large portion of the wall.

Steve went into surgery on Sunday and according to his family, he sustained fractures in six cervical vertebrae and damage to his spinal cord.

Engel was participating in qualifying for the JEGS ProMod Challenge, an exhibition Series that holds rounds at select NHRA POWERade Series events.

Update:
We got sad news on Monday that Steve passed away. The following is a news release from the NHRA:

After showing significant signs of improvement in the past week, Pro Modified racer Steve Engel died suddenly at 5 p.m. Sunday in Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Engel was involved in a serious one-car racing accident during the recent 54th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.

Engel’s Diamond Heavy Haul Corvette went out of control near the top end of the track, and he impacted the retaining wall head-on. He was airlifted to Methodist Hospital where doctors discovered six broken vertebrae in his back. Two were fixed immediately, but then excess fluid developed in his lung; doctors had to wait to fix the other four. That procedure was done Friday, and physicians were diagnosing a long but full recovery.

The 49-year-old Engel is survived by his wife, Tonya, and his sons, Stevie and Michael.

“The entire Pro Mod community is in a state of shock right now,” fellow racer and Jegs ProMod Challenge organizer Troy Coughlin said. “We were all so optimistic after Friday’s report, and then we get this terrible news. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tonya and the boys.

“Steve was a great racer — he won his first event with us earlier this year in Bristol — but he was an even better person. He was a big man with a big heart, always anxious to share a few laughs and toast with a cold beer. He loved to race, and he dearly loved his friends at the track. He will be missed.”

A resident of Shandon, Ohio, Engel competed in 31 Jegs ProMod Challenge events in the past few years. He had one win and two runner-up finishes on his resume. Overall, Engel had been drag racing for 21 years, and he listed John Force as the racer he admired most.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Our prayers are with Steve and his family.


Sources:
Yellowbullet.com
NHRA.com

Related:
Corvette Wheelie

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Corvette Centennial Design Concept: Lutz Comments

by Keith Cornett on September 4, 2008

Corvette Centennial Design Concept

As another set of high quality photos featuring the Corvette Centennial Design Concept make their way to our friends over at Jalopnik, we finally get a comment from GM’s Bob Lutz regarding the significance of the concept in relation to the next generation C7 Corvette.

Since the first photos surfaced earlier this year of the Centennial parked behind a car hauler on the Transformers movie back staging area, the Concept has fueled rumor and speculation about this being a C7 Corvette prototype.

Leftlane News recently posed the production question to GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz:

Leftlane: “Is there any significance to the Chevrolet Corvette Centennial concept, aside from the role in Transformers 2?”

Mr. Lutz: “No, I would say that is in the realm of ‘pure concept.’ At this point, there’s zero intention to produce.”

Leftlane goes on to point out that Lutz said the very same thing about the Camaro beginning as “pure-concept” so anything may be possible.

The Corvette Centennial Design Concept was developed as part of GM’s 100 Year celebration. This design study integrates key design elements of previous Corvettes as well as other GM vehicles.

Once of the more fascinating elements is the stingray emblem on the rear deck behind the split window. It’s a very minor element but it gives the Corvette Centennial an attitude and a sense of identity that is sometimes lacking in design concepts. Bottom line? We think its a great starting point for the C7.

Make sure you view the entire gallery of new Corvette Centennial Design Concept photos at Jalopnik.


Sources:
Jalopnik
Leftlane News

Related:
Transformers Mystery Car Revealed as Corvette Centennial Design Concept
Transformer’s Corvette Concept Revealed
[VIDEO] Sixties Corvette To Make Warp Speed in Next Star Trek Movie?

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Taxicab Corvette Z06: When You Need To Be Somewhere Fast

by Keith Cornett on September 3, 2008

Corvette Z06 Taxicab

If I was ever late to catch a flight, seeing this taxi pulling up in front of the CorvetteBlogger Compound would be a welcome site. But in reality, this Corvette Z06 isn’t a taxicab all. It’s actually one of the 120 cars participating in the 10th Annual Gumball 3000 Rally. Gumball 3000 participants are known for plastering outrageous exterior graphics on some of the world’s top supercars.

Additional photos after the jump.

The previously Black Corvette Z06 was reskinned by the UK’s Raccoon auto branding company in the motif of “The Speeding Cab Company” for the rally. Here are the photos that show the car being wrapped in the parking garage of the Fairmont Hotel in San Fran as well as the finished taxicab parked down on the street.

Corvette Z06 Taxicab Corvette Z06 Taxicab Corvette Z06 Taxicab

The Gumball 3000 takes participants on an 8 day, 3000 mile road rally across two continents. This year’s rally was billed as “East Meets West” as the Gumballers cruised through China and portions of the American West.

Participating in a Gumball Rally isn’t cheap. For one fee of £60,000 pounds (or the price of a Corvette ZR1) all your accommodations, vehicle transportation and of course, admission to the famous Gumballer parties are all covered.

There was also a midyear Corvette Coupe participating in the rally, but I have yet to see any pictures other than a glimpse of the front clip lurking in the background. If anyone has seen a photo of it, please send it over.
Source:
Supercars.net
Gumball 3000 Related:
Royal Oak PD’s New Ride: A Corvette Z06 Police Interceptor
1963 Split Window Corvette Featured in PGR4 Commercials
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Final 2008 Corvette Production Numbers

by Keith Cornett on September 3, 2008

2008 Corvette Production

2008 was a banner year for the Corvette. The model year received a mid-cycle upgrade that featured the new 6.2 Liter LS3 engine with 436 horsepower, new interior choices and two exciting new colors, Jetstream Blue and Crystal Red Metallic. Two special edition Corvettes were built, the Z44 Corvette Z06 427 edition and the Z4Z 30th Anniversary Indianapolis Pace Car. Demand for new Corvettes translated into 35,310 Corvettes produced, and for the first time since its re-introduction in 2001, the Z06 outsold the convertible.

The Bowling Green Assembly Plant’s release of 2008′s Corvette Production Figures shows that 7,731 (22%) Corvette Z06s were built compared to 7,549 (21%) Corvette Convertibles. This is lowest output of Convertibles since 1996 when only 4,369 were produced. The Coupe made up the majority of production with 20,030 (57%) Corvette Coupes assembled.

When it comes to colors, 1 out of every 4 Corvettes is Black (9,380 – 26.6%). The two shades of red, Victory Red (5,638) and the new Crystal Red (5,420) make up 31.3% of colors produced. The other new color for 2008 was Jetstream Blue, which accounted for 3,728 Corvettes (10.26%). That figure was in line with 2007′s LeMans Blue in which 3,854 were made. What’s also interesting is how this report from the assembly plant references the two new colors: Jetstream Blue is called Bluestream and Crystal Red is called Crystal Claret. Hmmmm.

Corvette’s popularity abroad remained strong for 2008. Exports to Europe were 1,300 (3.7), Canadian Units totaled 643 (1.8%), and Corvettes exported to Mexico totaled 32 (0.1%).

Here are selected highlights from the final 2008 Corvette Production Numbers:

Corvettes Produced Amount Percent    
         
Coupes 20,030 57%    
Convertibles 7,549 21%    
Z06 Hardtops 7,731 22%    
  _______ _______    
Total 35,310 100%    
         
         
Exterior Colors Total Coupe Convertible Z06
         
10U Artic White 1,974 1,320 654 0
41U Black 9,380 4,977 1,818 2,585
45U Velocity Yellow 3,264 1,816 550 898
67U Machine Silver 3,660 2,088 753 819
74U Victory Red 5,638 3,120 1,116 1,402
83U Atomic Orange 2,246 1,272 458 516
85U Bluestream 3,728 2,067 655 1,006
89U Crystal Claret 5,420 3,370 1,545 505
         
         
Convertible Top Colors Total      
         
35T Gray Beige 1,779   1,779  
37T Titan Gray 630 0 630  
41T Black 5,140 0 5,140  
         
         
Interior Colors Total Coupe Convertible Z06
         
02I Cobalt Red 2,207 989 506 712
19I Ebony 20,730 12,837 3,242 4,651
24I Ebony/Brick 689 256 138 295
31I Light Cashmere 4,940 2,952 1,988 0
42I Ebony/Lt Linen 1,669 632 367 670
78I Ebony/Dk Titanium 505 0 0 505
84I Light Titanium 4,570 2,364 1,308 898
         
         
Transmissions Total Coupe Convertible Z06
         
MM6 6-Speed Manual 11,760 3,235 794 7731
MX0 6-Speed Auto Paddle 19,136 13,304 5,832 0
MZ6 6-Speed Manual w/Z51 4,414 3,491 923 0
         
         
Wheels Total Coupe Convertible Z06
         
QG6 Base Aluminum 7,828 6,701 1,127 0
QG7 Polished Aluminum 5,412 3,973 1,439 0
QL9 Z06 Polished Aluminum 970 0 0 970
QX1 Comp. Gray Painted Aluminum 1,781 1,588 193 0
QX3 Chrome 9,626 6,063 3,563 0
Q10 Z06 Base 760 0 0 760
Q44 Z06 Comp. Gray 395 0 0 395
Q76 Z06 Chrome 5,101 0 0 5,101
Q8A Z06 427 SE 505 0 0 505
Q9V Forged Chrome 2,932 1,705 1,227 0
         
         
Other Options Total Coupe Convertible Z06
         
C2L Dual Roof Pkg 2,773 2,773 0 0
F55 Magnetic Select Ride 4,666 2,959 1,707 0
NPP Dual Mode Exhaust 13,454 9,254 4,200 0
R8C Museum Delivery 954 471 284 199
UV6 Heads Up Display 25,493 10,973 6,789 7,731
U2K XM Satellite Radio 33,561 19,086 7,348 7,127
Z51 Performance Handling Pkg 10,706 7,757 2,949 0
         
         
Export Units Total Coupe Convertible Z06
CV3 Mexican Export 32 24 8 0
MAE European Export 1,300 656 172 472
Z49 Canadian Export 643 212 181 250
         


Source:
Bowling Green Assembly Plant via CorvetteConti.com

Related:
Official 2008 Corvette Pricing Announced
Final 2007 Corvette Production Numbers

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