The 2017 Corvette Grand Sport, a Story Told in 8 Photos
Chevy's curviest beast is rarely the fastest, always the sexiest.
The hips don't lie. When Zora Arkus-Duntov sowed the seed of the second generation (C2) Corvette, he must have planned to take that muscle-bound shape racing, because it would be cosmically unsatisfying to endow the 1963-1967 Corvette with lusciously tapered fullness of a disembodied quadricep and not allow it its full extension. Under the legendary hyphenate’s direction, a GM skunkworks began preparing a batch of ‘63 Vettes targeted towards the 1963 Le Mans GT class. Originally, 125 of the lightened, strengthened, and empowered variants were to be built, in order to satisfy homologation requirements—but only five left the factory floor before corporate discomfort with an in-house racing program became a full-on ban. Still, those five Corvettes became the founding members of one of the franchise’s quieter heros: the Grand Sport.
Throughout the Sixties, Arkus-Duntov kept the skeleton program alive, if quietly—a tough prospect considering the lumpy idle of big-block V8s like the infamous L-88 engine available by special order in 1967. (Rumors pegged the output of that motor around 500 horsepower.) In the Eighties, Chevrolet brought back that Grand Sport spirit with the Z51 package on the C4; in 1996, the final year of the C5 came only as a Grand Sport, with a 330-horsepower LT-4 engine. With the C5, Chevy made a big return to racing, producing the C5-R. It won four consecutive ALMS series; later, the C6-R went on to win 39 GT1 races between 2005 and 2009.
In 2010, the Grand Sport name returned to the street, with a C6 Grand Sport offering the Z06’s wide chassis and stability. This year in Geneva Chevrolet released the newest Grand Sport. Though it lacks the top-dog engine, the car does sport those classic wide fenders and all the suspension elements necessary to keep things sticky at speed. Like that first C2, it’s a muscle of a thing.