Corvette Racing is warming up tires and engines around the famed Daytona speedway in preparation for the up-coming season-opener 24-hour race. We thought a look back at Corvette’s initial foray into the international race circuit might be a fitting hold-over until the flag drops on the last weekend in January.
With a string of championships under their belt, it’s easy to forget the hard-fought battles that surrounded Corvette at the very beginning of its global climb to stardom. Each of the four Corvettes and their drivers that were entered in the 1960 running of the 24-hours of Le Mans fought against some of the best, and most well-equipped teams the world has to offer.
Four Corvettes were entered, three were assembled at the hands of Briggs Cunningham with the fourth being entered under the Camoradi U.S.A. Team. Cunningham and Kimberley would handle the driving of car number 1, Our narrator, Dick Thompson and Windridge were in car 2. John Fitch would be partnered with Bob Grossman in the class-winning car number 3. Lilley and Gambles would be driving the “Camoradi Corvette”, number 4.
After the race, Briggs Cunningham returned the cars to street trim and they were divested through a Chevrolet dealer to unknowing civilians. That’s right, the class-winning Corvette and its stable-mates, estimated to be valued in the millions today, were all handed over to unsuspecting owners for street duty. All three Cunningham cars are now accounted for and the last of the three is still embattled in a race among lawyers that has lasted much longer than any race held at the Circuit de La Sarthe.
We beat out, and out-raced, cars that cost two, to three times more money! – Dr. Dick Thompson, Corvette Racer
On a lighter note, this gem, direct from the marketing department inside GM has famed Corvette racer Dr. Dick Thompson narrating about the prep-work, as well as the highlights of the race itself. He explains the trials that each of the cars experience during the battle and the video shows up-close, how team Corvette uses their problem solving skills to overcome obstacles.
While slightly longer than most, this video is a must-see for any enthusiasts interested in vintage Corvettes and especially vintage Corvette racing. It’s a treasure trove of Corvette goodness with footage of Zora Duntov, John Fitch, Bob Grossman and of course, Dr. Dick Thompson himself. Turn up the volume and tune out the rest of the world to immerse yourself in the excitement, the drama, the passion to win that is Le Mans in 1960!