This car was created by Doug Rippie. His claim to fame was the Corvette Challenge Series. Rippie loved racing Corvettes in the US, but, his life-long dream was to take on the world-class marques at Le Mans. So, when Chevy introduced the C4 ZR1 the opportunity was opened up. Via his collaboration with MerCruiser and Lotus Engineering, all with Chevy’s blessing, the “Black Widow” program created special street and race versions of the LT5 engine. Called the DRZ-500, this engine made 525hp in full race mode.
Rippie’s red monster debuted at Sebring as a pre-test for Le Mans. It finished 21st in GT1 / 52nd overall, thanks to an early DNF. #06 drivers were Bill Cooper, Scott Maxwell, and Chris McDougall.
At Le Mans, the car ran as the #30 ‘Corvette Team USA ZR-1’ and was driven by John Paul, Jr, McDougall, and James Mero. Team USA ZR1 was exempted from pre-qualifying because the French wanted the Corvettes back to Le Mans. It was an unbelievable effort but Ripie somehow got the car, the parts and the crew over to the big race.
True to his dream to take on the world, Corvette was up against McLaren F1, Ferrari F40, NSX, Porsche 911, Lister, Jaguar XJ220, Nissan SkyLine, Toyota Supra and MR2, and Callaway. Lack of testing finished the quest with another DNF. Regardless, this car goes down in history as one of the coolest Corvettes to ever hit the track.