Corvettes For Sale: Doug Rippie’s Le Mans ZR-1 Corvette


Corvettes For Sale: Doug Rippie's Le Mans ZR-1 Corvette

Photo Credit: Total Performance Car

Before Chevrolet finally went all-in on GT Racing with the debut of the C5.R in 1999, there was Doug Rippie, a Minnesotan with a Corvette obsession and a passion for road racing (supplemental material: read the great Larry Webster’s in-depth account of Rippie’s early years and his awesome C5-based DRM C500/RSR).

When Chevrolet brought the high-performance ZR-1 and its impressive slate of long-distance speed records to the market in 1990, Rippie looked across the pond at Le Mans’ budding GT1 class, and a vision was born. His Doug Rippie Motorsports (DRM) purchased a stock ZR-1, tore it down, and threw the entire rulebook at it to create the only C4 ever officially to lay a tire on the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Corvettes For Sale: Doug Rippie's Le Mans ZR-1 Corvette

Unfortunately, Doug’s privateer effort didn’t culminate in a Ford v Ferrari-style triumph for the Stars and Stripes. During qualifying, the ZR-1 blew a head gasket, resulting in a sub-par time of 4:24.8. A head gasket encore sent the car home early during the race, and the beautiful sound of American thunder was, once again, absent in northwest France.

Corvettes For Sale: Doug Rippie's Le Mans ZR-1 Corvette

The Doug Rippie ZR-1 only ran twice before being sent to its second owner. Now, through Switzerland’s Total Performance Car, comes the $380,000 opportunity to write the next chapter in the book of this fascinating piece of Corvette racing history. While you are browsing, check out the pair of C3 racers that TPC is offering alongside the storied C4, here and here, and be sure to give the episode of Corvette Today Podcast that features our friend and former Corvette ride and handling engineer, Jim Mero, recounting his experience as one of the Le Mans drivers of the Rippie ZR-1 a listen!

Corvettes For Sale: Doug Rippie's Le Mans ZR-1 Corvette

Total Performance Car via Road & Track

[PODCAST] Jim Mero on Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the Corvette Today Podcast
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  1. Historical race record – a DNQ and a DNF
    Great effort but it is not a “Fascinating piece of Corvette racing history”.

  2. forgot to mention one of the drivers at LeMans was convicted drug dealer John Paul Jr who spent 30 months in the slammer. He died last year of Huntington’s disease.

  3. DT, I’m going to have to beg to differ. A civilian turned one of the coolest ‘Vettes in history into a racecar and took it to Le Mans. No matter the result, that’s pretty fascinating in my book.
    Don, it is always an honor when you chime in here! Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt. I actually hadn’t heard of Paul until reading the comments to Grace’s Hagerty piece on this car. Unfortunately, my write-up was submitted prior to the posting of hers. 
    After reading up on JPJ, there just might be a movie in this story! A two-time 24-Hours of Daytona winner who was lured into a drug trafficking operation by his racing driver dad, John Sr., beginning when he was only 15! He was sentenced to 5 years and refused to testify against his father, so he got off easy by serving just 30 months. 
    Huntington’s is about as nasty as it gets; a high school friend of mine lost his dad to it. It is genetic, too, making it even scarier!

  4. Actually, he was convicted of racketeering, not drug dealing. His Dad was the dealer. And I think he also drove one of the 1999 Daytona Corvette C.5R’s.

  5. “to create the only C4 ever officially to lay a tire on the Circuit de la Sarthe. ”

    Guess the Callaway entered C4’s don’t count.

  6. From someone who was there – Jim Van Dorn
    “Well, we were there physically, but I have to admit, Rippie’s lack of preparation was so severe that afterwards, I found out that many both within the Corporation (GM) as well as the media considered the effort an embarrassment”


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