Known to many as "Mr. Corvette," Dick Guldstrand won three consecutive SCCA Pacific Coast championships from 1963 to 1965, and he was named California Sports Car Club driver of the year in 1964. He was Roger Penske's first hired professional driver (for the '66 Daytona race.) In the early '70s, his company, Guldstrand Engineering, was estimated to have built more than 70 percent of all competition Corvettes on the West Coast. In addition to his engineering and development work, he continued to set records as a Corvette driver through the '80s. His most recent creation, the Guldstrand GSRT, was the cover feature of our Dec. '08 issue.
Scooter Patrick was a Pacific Coast champion and a popular California racer. In his only Corvette drive (with partner Davey Jordan), he qualified the second-fastest in GT at Daytona in 1968.
Tony DeLorenzo (shown here with Fitch) had the good fortune to be born to a GM executive. He special-ordered his father's company car, a '64 Sting Ray, with which he planned to get his competition license. A call from Zora Arkus-Duntov followed, during which the Corvette godfather asked DeLorenzo exactly what he was going to do with the high-powered Corvette. When the young enthusiast answered that he was planning to attend a driving school, Duntov gave his blessing. DeLorenzo partnered with Jerry Thompson, and the two scored a class victory in their Owens Corning Corvette at Sebring. He went on to win two consecutive SCCA A Production Divisional championships, and from May 1969 through the '71 24 Hours of Daytona, his team won 23 straight races, including two class victories at Daytona and one at Sebring. (Photo by Bob Sirna.)
Wanting as much competitive advantage as possible, legendary Corvette driver Paul Reinhart delayed purchasing a Corvette to race until the four-speed manual transmission was made available for the '57 model year. While he opted not to order the other widely touted, new-for-'57 feature-fuel injection-the car was factory equipped with Positraction, a heater, and a 270-horse engine with dual four-barrel carburetors. After taking delivery, Reinhart made only a few additional modifications, such as changing the shock absorbers and fitting the car with finned backing plates and drums. Reinhart drove the Corvette to victory in the SCCA Pacific Coast B-Production championship in 1960 and 1961.
Bob Bondurant's racing career gained a great deal of momentum after he won the West Coast B-Production championship and Corvette Driver of the Year award in 1959. Just two years later, Shelly Washburn of Washburn Chevrolet in Santa Barbara hired him to drive. Bondurant captured First Place in Saturday's race during the '61 Labor Day Weekend event held at the Santa Barbara Airport circuit, beating both the Corvette driven by Paul Reinhart and the newly debuted Jaguar XKE driven by Bill Krause. After Cal Club officials protested the Corvette's aluminum flywheel, Bondurant was moved into the Modified class for the Sunday race, in which he finished Fourth overall.
One of only two high-fin SR-2s built, this roadster was special ordered by Jerry Earl, son of renowned GM styling boss Harley Earl. Earl raced the car for two seasons before selling it in 1958 to Jim Jeffords who, along with dealer Nickey Chevrolet, transformed it into the first "Purple People Eater." It raced under this guise until 1960, when it was sold into private hands. The Vette is powered by a 333ci V-8 fitted with a special fuel-injection system. Other performance equipment includes a prototype four-speed manual transmission, Halibrand axles, and magnesium knock-off wheels. Still actively raced, this SR-2 is annually campaigned in vintage events and won the prestigious Monterey Cup in the '87 Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca.
International auto racing enthusiasts Lloyd "Lucky" Casner and Fred Gamble founded the Casner Motor Racing Division (aka Camoradi) team during the '60s. Jim Jeffords drove the team's Corvette to victory in Cuba's Grand Touring Sprint race, then went on to finish First in class (Eighth overall) in the Grand Prix of Havana a few days later. The Camoradi Corvette was also prepared for the '60 LeMans, the same year that Briggs Cunningham entered three Vettes. Although they finished 10th in the GT class and 21st overall, drivers Leon Lilley and Fred Gamble didn't cover a sufficient distance to qualify as an official finisher.