This post is essentially a tribute to one of the most beloved car in the US : the Chevrolet Corvette.
The Chevrolet Corvette has always been an American favorite, from the spectator's point of view. The car has been introduced in 1956, and became an icon right from the beginning. The likes of Zora Arkus Duntov and Vince Piggins were people which made this car display an aura which still perdures nowadays. The cars were involved in racing from the beginnings, that is to say 1956, in SCCA racing, but you could find them racing in World Endurance Championships soon afterwards. The Chevrolet Corvette had begun its glittering career, and the C6R is a direct offspring from this glorious period. The first cars to enter SCCA and FIA competition were C1 cars, which were known as solid axle cars. The C2 cars, known as Sting Ray, appeared later, back in 1963. The cars were modified to suit the SCCA rules and would fight against Cobras or Ferraris. They would appear in the IMSA series from the beginning. They were running with C3 cars, which were more recent cars at the time, of course. Powered by V8 engines given for around 400hp, they had trouble being on top of the field, thanks to their weight.
A displacement of 5,7L was commonplace. Big tires were fitted to the chassis, with the cars appearing in roadster or coupé forms. Those cars were unfortunately not very successful, being overweight. They were not entered by top teams, which was also some kind of disadvantage. However, they were always very spectacular. Right from 1971, they could be seen at the racetracks on the IMSA circuit.
Don Haines entered such a car in 1971 and 1972, but it was bent at Mid Ohio in 1972. He then purchased a C3, which he raced in many SCCA events, as well as a few IMSA races. The most successful car was undoubtedly the car entered by fast Phil Currin, who fielded his familiar red '63 car right from 1971 thru 1974. He then switched to a C3 car, with some relative success.
Another familiar car was the one entered by Darrell and Craig Carter. Appearing as a roadster, the white and blue stripe car had some consistent results in 1974 and 1975.
Copyright Yves Saint Jean
Tom Felton and Lou D'Amico campaigned an immaculate orange car in 1971.
Paul Hecker purchased a C2 in 1970. It was first used in SCCA racing, then sold it to Tom McArthur. He then repurchased it in 1973 and the car was entered in IMSA and Trans Am in 1975 and 1976. It was driven by Blake Rear and Bob Bienerth as well as Paul Hecker. One remarkable fact was that it was fitted with different engines, ranging from 302c.i to 454c.i. After 1975, the car was sold to Ed Prutton.
Clark Howey was an independent racer, who campaigned a C2 car from 1973 thru 1978. He ran mainly the endurance events, but also ran some Camaros. His yellow Vette was a familiar sight in the East Coast races.
Jim Moyer and Richard Ortman were mainly seen at East Coast races. They switched to a Greenwood bodywork later in 1975.
Copyright Mark Windecker
Sebring Racing Enterprises fielded a '63 roadster, which was driven by Scott Chapman and John MacLaren. The car was essentially run at Sebring and Road Atlanta, but did not grab any consequent result.
Big Al Levenson was a familiar face at Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta. A Continental Airlines pilot, he enjoyed driving his car around those international tracks. He did not enjoy any great result, but ran it for a great deal of years.
Copyright Auto Hebdo
A special mention should be given to the Bard Boand and Richard Anderson '63 car, which was an ex-AJ Foyt car. The car was seen until the 1980 season, in the Trans Am series, and in some IMSA events.
Barry Ruble and Greg Pastoric drove a roadster from 1974 to 1976.
The next article will feature everything about the next generation car, the C3, with much more details about the cars entered in IMSA races
(to be continued)