Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back. Once again Chevrolet will be bridging the gap between the Corvette Stingray and the Z06 model with a race-inspired Grand Sport. For those that have criticized the Z06 as being not “track friendly” with its supercharged LT4 engine, the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport could be the answer to their prayers. It combines the finest available parts from the Corvette Stingray and Z06 in a mash-up that inspires 1.05g cornering at its most modest level, and 1.2g with the optional Z07 package. That’s right, you can get a Z07 package on the Grand Sport – adding carbon ceramic-matrix brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport 2 Cup tires. Chevrolet says a Z07-equipped Grand Sport is less than a second off from the track record at Milford, set by the C6 ZR1.
Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter unveiled the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at the Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland. Given its ties to the Corvette C7.R race car, it was only fitting that he had the help of Oliver Gavin, driver of the #4 Corvette Racing C7.R.
The formula for the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport is very similar to the C6 version. It uses a Z06-style grille and wider rear fenders with Grand Sport specific front fender inserts. The wider fenders allow for a unique set of 19x10 front and 20x12-inch rear wheels that mount Michelin Pilot Super Sport 285/30ZR19 and 335/25/ZR20 summer tires like the Z06. The standard brakes have unique 14-inch rotors and 6-piston calipers up front, 13.4-inches and 4-pistons in the rear. Magnetic Ride Control is standard, as is an electronic limited-slip differential. The Grand Sport gets a specific set of stabilizer bars and springs to balance its handling. Despite all these Z06-like parts, it has a 460hp LT1 with dry-sump oiling and active exhaust (NPP), matched by either the 7-speed manual trans or 8-speed automatic. As such, it is more in tune with the 2015 Le Mans-winning Corvette C7.R GTE Pro race car that has a similar naturally aspirated engine.
“Racing has been part of Corvette’s essence for more than 50 years and that track experience has helped us build better, more capable cars,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development and Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. The 2017 Corvette Grand Sport was unveiled at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show on March 1. “The global acclaim for the seventh-generation Corvette validates that direct link and the 2017 Grand Sport takes its track-bred technology to a new, exciting threshold.”
Although the Grand Sport is track-ready, don’t get the impression that it isn’t a looker. The entire palette of exterior and interior colors will be available, as well as a Heritage package with those familiar hash-mark fender graphics (in six colors) that is carried into the interior’s brushed aluminum trim. There is even a Grand Sport Collector Edition (pictured) that comes in Watkins Glen Gray metallic paint with Tension Blue hash-marks, satin black full-length stripes, black wheels, and Tension Blue leather and suede-wrapped interior. The 2017 Corvette Grand Sport coupe and convertible will be available for sale this summer in the US, while the Collector Edition will be offered later in the model year.