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Corvette C2 Racing at Le Mans 1960

Corvette has been a serious contender in American racing events from the beginning. It was only in 1960, with the second generation Corvette, that the American sports car was entered at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.

It was Briggs Cunningham, a wealthy sportsman racer, aspiring automobile manufacturer and defender of America’s Cup, who first fulfilled Zora Arkus-Duntov’s dream of seeing Corvettes competing at Le Mans. Cunningham fielded a trio of Corvettes at the French classic in 1960. Wearing the blue and white colors that traditionally identified American entries in international racing, the Team Cunningham Corvettes were driven by three pairs of racers: Cunningham and Bill Kimberly, Dick Thompson and Fred Windridge, and John Fitch and Bob Grossman. Duntov was listed as a reserve driver (he had previously posted class victories at Le Mans in a Porsche), but Zora did not drive a Corvette in his beloved race. A fourth Corvette entered by airline pilot Lucky Casner under the Camoradi USA banner rounded out the Corvette quartet. Team Camoradi’s sponsors were chiefly race fans who yearned to see an American entry in the French classic.
When the 55 entries were lined up for the traditional Le Mans start according to engine size, the three Cunningham Corvettes occupied the first three spots with their 283-cubic-inch fuel-injected small-block V8s. The cars were in near-stock trim, with larger gas tanks, quick-fill gas caps, magnesium wheels, oil coolers, driving lights, racing seats and heavy-duty suspension components among their limited modifications an expression of Duntov’s philosophy of using racing to develop high-performance components for future production vehicles.
Corvette No. 1 crashed during a heavy rainstorm at the three-hour mark; the car was destroyed, but the driver escaped injury. Corvette No. 2 lost time when Thompson had to dig it out of one of the numerous sandpits that lined the circuit, and then the overtaxed engine expired in the 20th hour. Meanwhile, Fitch and Grossman continued to circle the immense course, running as high as seventh during a cold and rainy night of racing
In the waning hours of the race, the engine overheated and lost coolant, but regulations prohibited the team from refilling the radiator. Yankee ingenuity triumphed when team manager Alfred Momo ordered the crew to pack the engine with ice from the team’s catering tent. Driving at reduced speed, the ice-cooled small-block V-8 powered the Cunningham team to an eighth-place finish overall and first in the big-bore GT-5000 class.
The four Corvette C 2 for 1960 Le Mans race had 4.639 cc V8 engines producing an estimated 300 hp. Overal weight was 1350 kg.
On May 2010 at Monterey California, Chevrolet saluted the men and machines that laid the foundation for Corvette Racing’s success in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a special Corvette Legends of Le Mans program at the American Le Mans Series at Monterey Laguna Seca circuit. Wallpapers illustrates restored 1960 Cunningham’s N°2 Corvette with Dr. Dick Thompson, the 1967 Dana Chevrolet Corvette with Dick Gulfstrand and the modern 2010 Corvette C6R GT2 race car with driver Ron Fellows. Chevrolet designers created a special 2011 Corvette Z06 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Corvette's first participation at Le Mans. This one-of-a-kind Corvette (VIN 0001) features the same blue and white color scheme as the 1960 Corvette which won its class at Le Mans 50 years ago, and will be sold at auction later this year to benefit the National Corvette Museum.

Wallpapers : Corvette C2 Racing Le Mans 1960

Corvette Le Mans 1960 Corvette Le Mans 1960 Corvette C2 Racing Le Mans 1960 Corvette C2 Racing Le Mans 1960 Corvette C2 Racing Le Mans 1960

 

 

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