A Historic Breed
The “Grand Sport” name has a long association with the Corvette, dating back to its birth in 1963. As the story goes, Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov hatched a clandestine plan to rival the speedy Shelby Cobras on track by crafting 125 lightweight Corvette Grand Sport GT race cars. The scheme was eventually shuttered by GM upper management after only five were built, but the name stuck and it has reappeared in both the C4, C6, and now C7 ‘Vettes.
It’s Properly Fast
When your measuring stick for performance is the late-great C6 Corvette ZR1… you can expect big things. According to the Detroit firm, the new 2017 Corvette Grand Sport completes GM’s Milford Proving Ground road course less than a second behind its heady ancestor (a car with 178 more horsepower).
Beneath the Grand Sport’s snout beats a naturally-aspirated LT1 6.2-liter V8, which tacks on dry-sump lubrication and summons 460 horsepower. Speed comes courtesy of either a seven-speed manual with shift rev-matching, or by way of a tuned eight-speed paddle-shift automatic.
Designed to Grip
The Grand Sport stakes its claim as a lighter, purist choice for Corvette fans, and it aims to deliver by adding grip in the twists. Chevrolet notes the Grand Sport offers 1.05g of cornering capability, which is cranked up to 1.2g with the car’s optional Z07 upgrade (stickier Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires, a carbon fiber aero package, and carbon ceramic brakes).
As standard, the car comes shod in Michelin Super Sport tires on Grand Sport specific wheels, and this footwear hides massive 14- and 13.4-inch Brembo brakes, new springs, and stabilizer bars. Magnetic ride control and an electronic limited-slip differential carry over as well. “We didn’t hold back with the new Grand Sport,” says Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer.
Crisp Styling and a Collector Edition
The C7 generation’s body lines continue to age well, and the new Grand Sport certainly doesn’t break that trend. Chevrolet has subtly pumped up its rear fenders and added a Z06-style front grille, not to mention the Z07 carbon elements at both ends. The new GS’s share the Stingray’s exterior color palate, but offer unique hash-mark fender graphics as part of a “Heritage” styling package.
Inside things are pretty slick as well, and the hash-marks outside match the interior colors within. Chevrolet offers an exclusive Watkins Glen Grey Metallic interior if you buy the new Grand Sport Collector Edition, which also carries a unique build-number plaque, and sports an image of the original Corvette Grand Sport embossed in the headrests.
When Can You Buy One?
That will depend on which continent you call home. The 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport arrives in both coupe and convertible guises and goes on sale in the US this summer, and in Europe later this fall. As of yet, pricing has not been released.