Chevy is bringing back the Corvette Grand Sport, and unlike the one offered at the end of the C4's run in the mid-Nineties, this one sports a long list of performance upgrades that would make even Zora Arkus-Duntov proud. Rather than treating this revival as a special model with a limited run, Chevy has decided to ditch the Z51 package entirely and offer the Grand Sport that pushes the standard Vette's performance even closer to that of the Z06.
While the 430-hp (436-hp with the two-mode exhaust) LS3 V8 remains unchanged, wider front and rear fenders allow for 18- (front) and 19-inch (rear) wheels that are also wider than before. Larger brakes are included and the special suspension tuning is now even closer to that of the Z06. You'll also notice other Z06 elements like the front splitter, rear spoiler and functional brake ducts behind the doors. Unlike the Z06, you can order a Grand Sport with a manual transmission or the Vette's six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. If you're a true track hound, though, go with the manual that also comes with a dry-sump oil system, differential cooler and rear-mounted battery.
Though available as a convertible, coupe models also feature a removable roof. The Grand Sport can also be had in all four Corvette trim levels (1LT, 2LT, 3LT and 4LT) and any standard Corvette color, and a special heritage package gives a nod to the past by adding a pair of hash marks to the front fenders. The new Grand Sport is being announced at the 12th annual C5/C6 Corvette Birthday Bash at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky as we speak and pricing has yet to be announced, so stay tuned.
CHEVROLET ANNOUNCES NEW 2010 CORVETTE GRAND SPORT
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Grand Sport. It's one of the most storied monikers in Corvette's illustrious racing heritage and it is returning the lineup. Chevrolet announced the new, 2010 Corvette Grand Sport at the 12th annunal C5/C6 Corvette Birthday Bash, held at the National Corvette Museum, in Bowling Green, Ky.
The new Grand Sport model combines the Corvette's LS3-based powertrain with unique, wide-body styling and a racetrack-bred suspension for a distinctive, starting grid-ready performer. It is offered in both coupe and convertible body styles, with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The LS3 6.2L engine is rated at 430 horsepower (321 kW)* and 424 lb.-ft. of torque (575 Nm)* with the standard exhaust system. An optional two-mode exhaust system elevates the power ratings to 436 horses (325 kW) and 428 lb.-ft. (580 Nm).
The Grand Sport replaces the Corvette's previous Z51 package and brings a greater degree of handling performance, with wider wheels and tires; revised shock, stabilizer bar and spring specifications and specific gearing. The equipment enables cornering capability of 1.0 g, as well as a 0.2-second improvement in 0-60 acceleration vs. standard LS3-powered models.
Grand Sport coupe models equipped with the manual transmission are uniquely outfitted for racetrack competition, too, with a dry-sump oiling system, differential cooler and a rear-mounted battery.
The complete list of content and special features for the Grand Sport includes
- Wider front and rear fenders – including specific front fenders with integrated Grand Sport badges
- Z06-style front splitter and tall rear spoiler
- Functional brake ducts and extra cooling
- Unique 18-inch front and 19-inch wheels; painted finish standard and chrome finish optional
- Large 275/35ZR18 tires in front and 325/30ZR19 tires in the rear
- Z06-size brakes, including 14-inch (355 mm) front rotors with six-piston calipers and 13.4-inch (340 mm) rear rotors with four-piston calipers
- Specific manual transmission gear ratios
- Specific rear axle ratio on automatic-equipped modles
With its special equipment, the Grand Sport offers a unique blend of performance and amenities. Its suspension package approaches that of the Z06, but includes a removable roof on coupes (Z06 has a fixed roof) and, of course, the availability of a convertible body style. Also, the paddle-shift six-speed automatic transmission is offered, while a manual transmission is the only choice with the Z06.
All of Corvette's exterior colors are offered on the Grand Sport and an available Heritage package adds iconic front fender hash marks offered in four colors, as well as two-tone seats with Grand Sport embroidery. The Grand Sport can be ordered with 1LT, 2LT, 3LT and 4LT trim packages, too.
Grand Sport history
Envisioned by legendary Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov as a factory-built, lightweight and race-ready production model that would trump domestic and foreign road-racing competitors, the original Corvette Grand Sport was a promising idea stymied by GM's agreement to stay out of manufacturer-backed motorsports.
The planned 125 production models required for racing-class homologation were never built, but five prototypes based on the styling of the 1963 Corvette were hand-assembled under Duntov's watchful eye. And while they looked like production models, the prototypes were purpose-built racecars that shared little with their assembly-line cousins. Duntov also oversaw the Grand Sport engine program that featured a special, 377-cubic-inch small-block V-8 and used side-draft carburetors.
Although never officially sanctioned by General Motors, the five Grand Sport prototypes saw extensive racing experience throughout the 1960s in the hands of "private" racers who had strong contacts within Duntov's engineering circle. All five original cars are accounted for today and are among the most valuable in the collector market.
Chevrolet offered a limited-edition Grand Sport production model in 1996, commemorating the original racing cars and marking the end of the C4 era in Corvette production. All of the 1,000 examples were painted Admiral Blue and featured a white center stripe and red "hash mark" graphics on the left front fender, a graphic scheme that mimicked the look of some of the original racecars.