Corvsport: The Year In Review (2018)


2019 Corvette ZR1 2018 Corvette Bash

Corvsport.com Takes a Look Back at 2018!

The past twelve months have seen a lot of exciting changes in the history of the Corvette.  From milestones on the race track, to the introduction of the most-powerful production Corvette of all time, 2018 was an amazing year for both the race and production vehicles and all the people that make each possible.  As the year draws to a close, we wanted to take a few minutes to look back at some of the many exciting stories that we covered throughout 2018.

1.) The 2019 Corvette ZR1 VIN #001

2019 Corvette ZR1 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale
The 2019 Corvette ZR1 was bought by Rick Hendrick, chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group and owner of 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports, for $925,000. The auction proceeds will benefit the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the work it does to support wounded veterans through the Building for America’s Bravest program.

The year started with the introduction of the first of the seventh-generation production ZR1 Corvettes.   The very first ZR1 – VIN #001 – sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction on January 23, 2018.  The winning bidder was Rick Hendrick, chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group and owner of 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports.  The car sold for $925,000, and the proceeds of the sale went to the  Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation works to support wounded veterans and first responders by providing mortgage-free smart homes and working to paying off existing mortgages under the foundation’s ‘Building for America’s Bravest’ program.

2.) Corvette Racing Returns for the 2018 IMSA Season

No. 4 Corvette C7.R at Rolex 24
The No. 4 Corvette running night laps at the Rolex 24 at the Daytona International Speedway.

As the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship got underway in Daytona Beach, Florida, Corvette Racing turned in a mistake-free run with both of its Chevrolet Corvette C7.R race cars to post third- and fourth place finishes in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The result was a positive effort as Corvette Racing begins its 20th season of competition.

Antonio Garcia, class pole-winner Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller placed third in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category with their No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM ChevroletCorvette C7.R.  It marked the second Rolex 24 podium finish for the trio after they finished second in the event two years ago.  It also gave Garcia and Magnussen a positive start to their season as they prepared to defend their GTLM Driver Championship from last year.

3.) The 2019 Corvette ZR1 Sets Records

On February 1, 2018, Chevrolet announced that the 2019 Corvette ZR1 set a production-car lap record when it ran a time of 2:37.25 at Virginia International Raceway on the 4.1-mile Grand Course West.

The record-setting stock ZR1 Corvette coupe was equipped with the available paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission and the ZTK Performance Package, which includes the adjustable carbon-fiber High Wing, a front splitter with carbon-fiber end caps, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer-only tires and Magnetic Ride Control tuning.

“The Corvette ZR1’s lap record at VIR, arguably America’s most challenging road course, is a testament to its supercar status,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “On the racetrack, the ZR1 can compete with any supercar — at any price.”

4.) The Mid-Engine Corvette Begins To Appear Everywhere

On February 12, 2018, YouTube member PrettyFast1000 published a three-minute video that contained some of the most compelling video we’d seen to date of the mid-engine C8 Corvette on the open road.

The video opened with a rear-camera view from the backend of the driver’s (presumably prettyfast1000) supercharged C5 Corvette.  While the first several seconds of the video showcased the beautiful and powerful exhaust note of the C5the viewer’s attention was quickly captured by the camouflaged Corvette that passed him in the opposite lane.  Within a few moments, a second Corvette passed into view and the driver started to pursue the mid-engine Corvettes.

While this video was compelling, and gave the world the first conclusive video proof that a production-model mid-engine Corvette was in development, it was also the catalyst for automotive spys and spectators everywhere to begin posting pics of the mid-engine Corvette.  Within weeks of this video, dozens of sightings were reported and continued to flood the internet throughout all of 2018.

5.) The Callaway C7 GT3-R Makes Its U.S. Debut

Callaway Competition USA Corvette C7 GT3-R
Callaway Competition USA Corvette C7 GT3-R test; driven by Daniel Keilwitz at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida; March 5, 2018 (Richard Prince photo)

This year, specatators were focused on the North American debut of the Callaway Competition USA Corvette C7 GT3-R. The car, which previously competed in the 2017 ADAC GT Masters championship (and won the championship) will be piloted this year by German driver Daniel Keilwitz.  The car is scheduled to compete in the pair of races – the first two of nineteen races scheduled this season, which will actually conclude in spring/summer, 2019.

The last time that a Callaway Racing Corvette competed in St. Petersburg was 1996.  The car, which was piloted by Almo Coppelli, had emerged victorious at the completion of the race, clinching in a win in the S2 class.

6.) The Equus Throwback Corvette

The 2018 Equus Throwback.
The 2018 Equus Throwback

Based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Equus Automotive is known as a company akin to tuners such as Brabus and Alpina, but with a unique twist.  They don’t modify cars –they create them – paying homage to the cars from which they draw their inspiration. In 2018, they introduced their new creation – the Equus Throwback – and this time, their car pays homage to the ultimate American sports car, the Chevy Corvette.

At first glance, the Equus Throwback looks an awful lot like the seventh-generation Corvette Stingray.  Critics of the car may argue that the Throwback isn’t a new car at all, but rather a glorified bodykit that simply augments the existing C7 Stingray platform.  While it might be understandable where such a comparison could be drawn,  making such a claim would be no different than suggesting that the new 2019 Corvette ZR1 was simply a base-model Stingray with a larger spoiler and some ground effects.

The Throwback lifts design elements from the Chevy Corvette.  However, it isn’t just the C7 Stingray from which the car’s designers drew their inspiration.  Instead, they built the Throwback as an homage to all-generations of Corvette.

7.) The First 2019 ZR1 Corvette Dyno Results

YouTuber Mike “Streetspeed 717” took his brand-new 2019 Corvette ZR1 to RaceProvenMotorsports to determine exactly how much power his 755 horsepower ‘Vette was actually producing at the wheels.  On March 29, 2018, Mike – and the rest of the world – got their answer when RaceProvenMotorsports published a video of Mike’s car on the dyno.

According to the video, Streetspeed 717’s ZR1 is  just the fourth production ZR1 – VIN004 – and the first stick-shift ZR1 of its kind in the country.  Since rolling off the assembly line in Bowling Green, it’s also only clocked a couple hundred miles on the odometer.  Still, wasting no time between delivery and being the first to dyno the car, RaceProven and Streetspeed decided it was more than time to put the car on the dyno and find out just what the car was capable of.

The ZR1 produced 668 hp and 644 lb-ft of torque at the wheels on its second dyno run. That’s just a 12 percent drivetrain power loss, which is actually somewhat better than the expected power loss on a car like this.  Further, after making the pulls on the dyno, the technician running the dyno stated that increasing fuel output and adjusting timing/properly tuning the ZR1 would increase the rear wheel output. 

8.) Gavin Earns 50th Career Win At Long Beach

Oliver Gavin
Oliver Gavin

Corvette Racing’s No. 4 Corvette C7.R driven by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner earned their second consecutive class win and the team’s first win of the 2018 racing season in Saturday’s Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach. The victory, which Gavin was quoted as saying was “pretty special,” marks a significant milestone in his career – his 50th career win with Corvette Racing since joining the team in 2002.

Gavin has been part of nearly half of the team’s 107 wins since Corvette Racing’s inception in 1999including five of the team’s eight victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as Corvette Racing’s 100th victory at Lime Rock in 2016.

“Starting back in 2002, it was a bit of a dream to drive for Corvette Racing,” stated Gavin, “and to be here now, and have 50 victories, is pretty special.”

9.) The 2019 ZR1 Was Named the Official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500

The 2019 Corvette ZR1 Pace Car marked the 15th appearance of the Corvette as the official pace car of the Indianapolis 500.

For the fifteenth time since its introduction in 1953the Chevy Corvette served as the official pace car of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27th, 2018.

What made this particular pace car special was that it wasn’t just a Corvette coupe or convertible, or even a Grand Sport or a Z06 model.  For the 2018 Indianapolis 500, Chevrolet introduced the 2019 ZR1 Corvette as the official pace car for the event.  It’s appearance at the race marked the first time that the Corvette leading the race had more horsepower than the race cars.

The 2019 Corvette ZR1 handled all pace car duties for the 2018 Indy 500 race.

10.) Chevrolet Recalls Nearly 500 ZR1 Corvettes

2019 ZR1 Corvette
The 2019 ZR1 Corvette

During the opening pace laps of the Indianapolis 500, Mark Reuss, Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain at General Motors lost control of the ZR1 Corvette Pace Car and ended up crashing into a barrier wall as he came out of a sharp turn onto uneven pavement.  Following the crash, Chevrolet released a statement which indicated that the Corvette’s safety systems had performed as expected.  However, the ZR1’s crash may have uncovered a previously unidentified issues tied to the car’s diagnostic sensor module that controls the airbags.

The specific problem (as stated by GM) is that hard braking or acceleration may cause the sensing diagnostic module to enter a fault state.  As a result, the diagnostic module will not provide crash sensing or deploy the necessary airbags in the event of a crash, thereby increasing the risk of injury.

At the time of the article’s original publication, we didn’t have enough information available to provide any additional detail about the recall. However, we have the information for you now and its published below:

Recall Number: 18V360000
Recall Date: 05/31/2018
Component: AIR BAGS: AIR BAG CONTROL MODULE
Summary:

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 vehicles. Hard braking or acceleration may cause the sensing diagnostic module (SDM) to enter a fault state. As a result, the SDM will not provide crash sensing or deploy the necessary air bags in the event of a crash.

Consequence:

In the event of a crash, if the air bags do not deploy as designed, the occupants have an increased risk of injury.

What Owners Should Do:

GM will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the SDM with updated software, free of charge. The recall began on June 29, 2018. Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020. GM’s number for this recall is 18195.

11.) The Corvette SV 9 Competizione

As early as the late 1990’s, San Francisco based coach-builder SV Motor Company envisioned a car that took the raw performance of a Corvette and refined it with a touch of Italian flair.  Their vision was to infuse many of the design elements found in the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione (from which the SV 9 clearly drew its inspiration, as well as its name) with a 2009 Chevy Corvette.

The concept for the SV 9 C (Competizione) was introduced by the SV Motor Company on July 24, 2009.  At that time, the company produced a series of computer-generated renderings which depicted a highly-stylized C6 Corvette that included several Italian design elements including circular rear taillights (like those found on the Alfa 8C Competizione).  During its introduction to the world, SV Motor Company promised that the car would debut later that same week in San Francisco, and would be on display at the Concorso Italiano the following month.  

While promises were made to build a total of 1,000 of the Corvette SV 9 Competizione, only four were ever actually produced (click on the link above for the full history of the car.)

All four of the SV 9 Competizione Corvettes still exist and are owned by a small handful of collectors all across the country.  While the cars themselves may not warrant the attention that some aftermarket builds demand, they are nonetheless a unique offering when one pops up on the auction circuit.

12.) The 2019 Yenko/SC Corvette Stage II

2019 Yenko/SC Corvette Stage II

This new Yenko /SC Corvette, which was the creation of Specialty Vehicles Engineering developed in cooperation with Chevrolet, was designed to deliver an incredible 1000 horsepower and 875 lb-ft of torque.   Better yet, it’s an option that you can order from your local Chevy dealership.

The Yenko Corvette was fabricated from a 2019 Corvette Grand Sport equipped with the optional Z07 Package.  Starting with the naturally aspirated LT1 engine, SVE installed its own 2.9-liter supercharger.  The block was bored and stroked to 6.8 liters (416 Cubic Inches), the standard cylinder heads were replaced with modified LT4 components, with forged aluminum pistons installed for maximum durability.  The engine was fitted with a race-quality 4340 steel crankshaft and H-beam rods. The Yenko Corvette also included updates to the fuel and exhaust systems and the installation of a larger throttle body.  The entire process was blueprinted which means all components installed were chosen to meet exacting engine tolerances.

13.) The Mid-Engine Corvette Revealed

202 Mid-Engine Corvette

These images first hit the internet on Monday, September 3, 2018.  The car was spotted by spy-photographers at an automotive test facility near the Nurburgring in Germany.  Several prototype cars were onsite for testing, and photographers were able to get up-close-and-personal with some of them.

These images of the new mid-engine Corvette provided us with our first look at the entire production vehicle, including many previously unseen details pertaining to the car’s shape and overall design.

14.) Corvette Racing Wins 2nd Consecutive Title At Road Atlanta!

2018 Corvette C7.R Race Car
The No.4 Corvette C7.R before the start of the 2018 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Image copyright 2018 – Corvsport.com

On October 13, 2018, Corvsport.com returned to Braselton, Georgia for the 21st running of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.  As in years past, we went down hoping to see the Corvette Racing program dominate the racetrack and win championships.  As in years past, the team did not disappoint!

Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia won their second straight IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) Driver title at the event as well as the GTLM Team Title Championship.  This momentous win marked the 12th Driver Championship and 13th Team title in the program’s 20-year history!

15.) Motor Authority Names ZR1 “Best Car to Buy 2019!

Each year, the editors at Motor Authority whittle down a selection of just a handful of top-performing automobiles from a multitude of new luxury and performance vehicles.  They drive them hard, both on the track and the open road.  In 2018the team shortlisted their finalists from dozens of worthy contenders down to just five vehicles: the Audi RS 5, the BMW M5, the Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2, the Jaguar I-Pace and, of course, the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

Once the field was narrowed down to the five finalists, the team from Motor Authority spent a day testing each of the cars at the 2.0-mile Atlanta Motorsports Park road course and on the open roads surrounding the track.  They all drove each of the 5 cars on both the track and the open road, then they came back together and “compared notes, made bold claims, told each other to quiet down (and) drank a few beverages” before making their final decision.

In the end though, they whittled the finalists down to a single car – the 2019 Corvette ZR1!

16.) The 800HP GXE Electric Corvette Has Arrived

Since its introduction at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, 2018, the GXE has proven itself a force to reckon with.  It earned a Guinness Book of World Records title by achieving a top speed of 190.48 mph (306.5 km/h) in the standing mile – the fastest standing mile of any street legal electric car.  The GXE was also the first electric car to reach a top speed of 209 mph (336 km/h),another record that it still holds today.  While this top speed is already momentous, Genovation Cars claims that the car can actually reach a top speed of 220 mph (354 km/h).   The car can also accelerate from 0-60 mph (96 km/h) in under 3 seconds.

Genovation Cars states that the GXE will cover 175 miles (281 km) on a single charge.  However, they also acknowledge that this distance can only be achieved during conventional driving conditions.  The range is much shorter when being driven aggressively.  But isn’t that kind of the point?  Having an electric-powered Corvette with the type of horsepower and torque that this car produces is bound to encourage drivers to mash the accelerator pedal to the floorboard from time to time….and only time will tell just how durable the GXE’s battery packs really are.

What Can We Expect Next Year?

As you can see from the above, there’s been a lot to talk about over the past year.  Of course one of the biggest news item that everyone is waiting for now is when GM will formally introduce the world to the mid-engine Corvette.  While we continue to wait (along with the rest of the automotive community), we will continue to provide you with each and every update as they become available.  

We expect that 2019 will be full of new milestones for the Corvette – both on and off the track.  From the probable introduction of the mid-engine Corvette to another year of following the Corvette Racing team as they compete in competitions around the world, we can’t wait to share each new story with you as they unfold.  More than that, we look forward to getting more engaged with you.  As our Facebook community continues to grow, and as we continue to get out into the Corvette community via IMSA races, car shows, Corvette-sanctioned events at the National Corvette Museum and beyond, we hope that 2019 will give us the opportunity to connect with many of our loyal readers so that we can continue to grow Corvsport.com into a website that is most beneficial to those that visit it the most – YOU!

From all of us at Corvsport.comHAPPY NEW YEAR!  Here’s looking forward to a great 2019!!!

 

 

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