In 1999, GM got serious about a factory-backed Corvette racing team. After two seasons of sorting out the new car, the C5-R became a dominant force in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The team took the GTS class at Le Mans in 2001 and 2002, with a runner-up finish in 2003. In total, the C5-Rs won First Place in 8 out of 10 races in 2001, 10 out of 11 races in 2002, and 5 out of 10 races in 2003.
The '04 Commemorative Edition Corvette was designed to celebrate the C5-R's success. Unlike the '03 50th Anniversary Edition, this package was available on all '04 Vettes, and it accounted for 20 percent of all sales that year. The price for the coupe and con-vertible package was $3,700, or $4,335 for the Z06. Included was dedicated Le Mans blue paint with silver and red stripes on the hood, roof, and rear deck. Special badges and wheel centers were also included, and the standard Z06 wheels were polished. The Z06 version was the first American production car to use an exterior carbon-fiber body part. Coupes and roadsters received special two-tone shale interiors, while Z06s had all-black interiors. The package included a heads-up display, a power telescoping steering column, auto dimmer mirrors, a memory package, and a twilight sentinel system.
Thanks to the success of the C5-Rs and, later, the C6.Rs, Ron Fellows became a Corvette racing legend. The Canadian driver took two class wins at Le Mans, three ALMS championships, and was voted most popular driver every year from 2004 through 2007. To celebrate Fellows' success, Chevrolet created the '07 Ron Fellows Z06 Special Edition. Only 498 units were built-399 for domestic sales, 33 for Canada, and 66 for the rest of the world. Priced at $77,500 ($11,035 more than the base Z06), this was the most expensive Vette since the '95 ZR-1. Unique to the car were the Arctic White paint and Grand Sport-inspired red front-fender hash marks with subtle Canadian maple-leaf graphics. Sporting a full-width rear spoiler and a unique windshield banner, the car was a real head-turner. Fellows signed every unit, making this the first "signature series" production Corvette ever offered.
For 2008, Chevy offered the 427 Limited Edition Z06. Most obvious with this special edition were its brilliant Crystal Red Tintcoat paint with contrasting, Stinger-inspired black hood stripes; classic 427 badges; and new, "Spider"-styled chrome wheels. Inside the Dark Titanium interior, every console armrest was signed and numbered by retiring Bowling Green plant manager Wil Cooksey. The 3LZ option package included everything but the Bose Navigation System. This car had the brute force to back up its stunning good looks.
Another '08 special-edition Vette could only be rented, albeit for a cost of around $150 per day. A total of 500 ZHZ coupes and roadsters were built that year as part of the Hertz Fun Collection. Thanks to its Velocity Yellow paint; bold, black stripes; rear deck spoiler; and seven-spoke chrome wheels, this car was impossible to miss. Each one came with the paddle-shift six-speed automatic, Magnetic Selective Ride Control System, and Sirius Satellite Radio. Today, used ZHZ cars are not easy to come by.