Given Zora Arkus-Duntov’s background, there was no way Chevrolet’s Corvette wouldn’t be raced. A veteran of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Allards and Porsches, Duntov set the Plastic Fantastic on a philosophical track that would later bring the Vette class honors in the French classic—and at many race tracks around the world. This year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca honors those generations of competition Corvettes and as you can see in the group shot above, they are all present. Fifty-three competition-spec Vettes led by a pair of Le Mans class-winners. Not a bad way to start a weekend of racing.
1960 Cunningham Corvette
John Fitch and Bob Grossman were the drivers in this Briggs Cunningham–entered 1960 Corvette. After a solid run through 19 of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the car began to overheat. The team upped the frequency of its pit stops and packed the engine compartment with ice. The trick worked and the No. 3 Corvette went on to win its class and finish eighth overall in the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans.
1963 Grand Sport
Meant to take on the best of the world, the 1963 Grand Sport fell victim to Detroit politics. After only five were built the program was scrapped by management. What Duntov did create was a new tube frame chassis machine with wide wheels on a new suspension and an all-aluminum 377-cubic-inch V-8 with some 550 horsepower. Now these wide-shouldered Grand Sports are the most treasured, and valuable, of all Corvettes.
1963 Corvette Z06
This was the first Z06 RPO option-code Corvette and offered for just one year. It was basically a list of race parts: fuel-injected 327 engine fed by a 36.5-gallon tank, heavy-duty suspension and aluminum knock-off wheels, super-duty brakes, and a limited-slip rear end. Just 199 Z06s were built for the 1963 model year and the option price was $1818.45.
1967 Corvette Le Mans
Drivers Dick Guldstrand and Bob Bondurant drove this big-block Corvette from the airport near Paris to Le Mans for the 1967 24-hour race. The car proved potent, able to top 170 mph on the Mulsanne straight. This put Guldstrand and Bondurant well in the lead in their class until a broken wrist pin doomed the big V-8 halfway through the round-the-clock race.
1968 Owens Corning Corvette
L88 Corvettes were kings in their days, taking the 1969 and 1973 SCCA National A Production titles, a second place in the 1969 12 Hours of Sebring and winning the GT class in the 1969 and 1970 24 Hours of Daytona. Among the most famous of the L88 pairings was the Owens Corning team of Tony DeLorenzo and Jerry Thompson.
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1989 Corvette Challenge
The Corvette Challenge series brought some very tight racing in 1989, the winner in the series that year being Bill Cooper in this No. 3 Corvette. The cars were fitted with the then-new ZF six-speed transmission and the FX3 adjustable suspension.
2001 Corvette C5.R
Pratt & Miller built these epic machine for the American Le Mans Series and they raced in four 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the 2001 season the C5.Rs took six wins in 10 races with an overall win in the 24 Hours of Daytona.
2011 Corvette C6.R
This C6R is the very car in which Olivier Beretta, Tommy Milner, and Antonio Garcia found themselves a lap down on the class-leading Ferrari with just six hours left in the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans. Relentlessly, they hammered out laps in pursuit of the Italian entry, catching it 2 hours and 10 minutes before the checkers and beating extending a lead of 2 minutes, 29 seconds.
Read more from source:“caranddriver.com”
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