In what was probably the most understated launch of a new Corvette model in our 10 years here, Chevrolet officially revealed the new 2017 Corvette Grand Sport at the Geneva Motor Show. Why Chevrolet choose to be so low key about the launch of this car is anyone’s guess, but we were willing to wake up at 4:30 am ET to catch the reveal via social media and this is what we’ve learned.
Corvette enthusiasts will know that this is the fourth time since 1963 that Chevrolet has built a Grand Sport model.
There were only five Grand Sports built in 1963 as racing prototypes and when Corvette’s Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov was busted for going against the corporate racing ban, he made sure the cars went out the back door and got in the hands of the top Corvette racing teams and drivers at the time. These cars went on to dominate America’s race tracks for the next few years and were commonly know as the Cobra Killers. Today, these five Grand Sports are considered to be among the most valuable Corvettes on the planet.
Chevrolet next brought the Grand Sport name back for one year only in 1996 as a special edition to mark the end of the C4 generation. Offered with a special one-year-only LT4 V8 engine with 330 horsepower, Chevrolet built 1,000 of the cars and it was the first time that the now famous livery of Blue with White stripes and hash marks on the fender appeared on the Corvette.
The C6 Grand Sports were very common during their 2010-2013 model run and the car would eventually would gain over a 50% market share out of the six different Corvette models offered at the time. Starting in 2010, the Grand Sport received the great widebody look of the fixed roof Z06 Corvette, but unlike its big brother, it was offered both as a coupe and convertible model on the standard Corvette’s chassis. The popularity of the Grand Sport Corvette during the C6 generation is why Chevrolet today is offering the C7 Corvette Z06 as a convertible and coupe body as well as choice of transmissions.
Now that you are up to speed on your Corvette Grand Sport history, it’s time for a closer look at the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport.
Thankfully, Chevrolet has offered more information to support the new model on its website at Chevrolet.com.
When we pulled up Chevrolet’s Grand Sport website, the first thing we see is what looks to be the return of Admiral Blue exteriors for 2017. The Admiral Blue (we’ll just call it that until we get the official race-track based name) looks fantastic and it’s paired with a white stinger stripe, a white air extractor grill on the hood, and a white stripe on the roof and rear hatch. With the addition of the red hash marks, we have what is essentially a modern 20th anniversary tribute to the 1996’s Grand Sport model.
The C7 Grand Sport will be offered with a choice of transmissions as well as your choice of a coupe or convertible body style. The wheels are lightweight 19-inch fronts and 20 inch rears and we hear they will be available in several different finishes. So most likely, you’ll be able to choose from Black, Chrome or Silver aluminum. Those wheels will be wearing the super wide Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 summer tires.
The Grand Sport’s suspension includes Magnetic Selective Ride Control as standard equipment. The Electronic Limited-Slip Differential (also standard) will improve stability and responsiveness, which improves steering feel, handling and traction. As we mentioned in the launch post, the Grand Sport will be capable of 1.05 lateral g’s in its standard configuration and an incredible 1.2 lateral g’s with the Z07 Performance Package.
Brembo is tasked with stopping the Grand Sport and two levels of brakes are offered. The standard Bembro’s are 14.6″/14.4″ two-piece steel rotors while the Z07 Performance Package brings the extra large (15.5″/15.3″) Brembo carbon ceramic rotors which can stop the Z06 in an incredible 60 mph-0 braking distance in only 99.7 feet.
The Grand Sport does benefit from the Z06’s advanced cooling features including the unique mesh grille with front brake cooling intakes and the hood vent which helps to keep the engine cool. The Grand Sport body has front and rear brake cooling ducts and the airblades over the rear fender air ducts will keep the differential and transmission cool.
So far as we know, the standard Corvette Grand Sport will be offered in all the Stingray’s colors. Since four colors for Corvette were retired in 2016, that means as of right now, at least six colors will return for 2017: Black, Torch Red, Corvette Racing Yellow, Arctic White, Blade Silver and Long Beach Red.
With the example shown on the website, I think its safe to say that Admiral Blue will also be a new color option for 2017 as well as the Corvette Grand Sport Collector’s Edition which will be offered exclusively as the new Watkins Glen Gray Metallic.
Speaking of the Grand Sport Collector’s Edition, that will be a limited edition model which we assume will only be offered in the 2017 model year.
I am sure there will be many more questions about the Grand Sport Corvette and most likely we’ll have to wait for the National Corvette Museum’s Bash Event in late April when we meet with GM’s Corvette team as they roll out additional information on the 2017s Corvettes. But if you do have a question or comments, please let us know. Perhaps its something that a lot of you will want to know and we’ll see if we can get them answered for you.
In the meantime, start thinking about which track you would want to play on first with the new 2017 Corvette Grand Sport.