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วันศุกร์ที่ 22 พฤศจิกายน พ.ศ. 2556

Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport No limits for the new midline Vette.

 MILFORD, MICHIGAN
In 1962, Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov initiated a
program to develop a lightweight racer to compete against
Carroll Shelby’s Cobras on the track. The Grand Sport
Corvettes would weigh about 2000 pounds and draw power from a
377-cubic-inch V-8 with aluminum-block-and-head construction. A
1963 General Motors edict to end all racing involvement derailed the
plan, but not before a handful of the Grand Sports were built. The
prototype Vettes were delivered to private parties, who raced the cars
with mixed success until 1967, but plans to homologate the car with
a total production run of 125 copies were abandoned.
Factory Grand Sports fi nally rolled off a GM assembly line in
1996 to commemorate the retirement of the fourth-generation
Corvette. Chevy built a total of 1000 coupes and convertibles
featuring the 330-hp LT4 V-8 engine, a six-speed manual
transmission, and black ZR-1 wheels. All C4 Grand Sports were
dressed in the same outfi t: deep blue paint, a fat white stripe, and
two red hash marks on the driver’s-side fender.
The Grand Sport is back for 2010, again as a
coupe or a convertible, only this time there’s no
team uniform. Cars can be ordered in any of
eight colors, and fender hash marks are merely
an option, offered in four hues. Buyers looking
for the wide stripe down the center will have to
turn to the aftermarket.
Mechanically, the Grand Sport model
replaces the Z51 package and bridges the gap between the base and
Z06 Corvettes. The brakes are cross-drilled and upsized to 14.0
inches at the front and 13.4 inches in the rear, with six- and four-pot


clampers, respectively. The suspension is stiffened with a mix of
Z06 parts and Grand Sport–specifi c hardware. Power comes from
the same 430-hp LS3 found in base cars, but manual transmissions
are geared differently and automatic cars use a shorter fi nal-drive
ratio. Coupes equipped with a manual transmission also receive a
rear-mounted battery, a dry-sump oil system, and a differential
cooler. All stick-shift Corvettes have a launch-control program in
2010 for quick, consistent acceleration performance.
The Grand Sport’s body panels, which are borrowed from the
Z06, add the front nostril, rear brake-cooling ducts, and a taller
spoiler versus the base car. The Z06’s larger fenders also allow for
wider wheels and tires. Unless optioned with the hash-mark decals,
the Grand Sport’s only distinguishing cues are unique wheels,
fender badging, and two additional slits incorporated into the
fender vents.
We love the Corvette for its balance and capability, and the
Grand Sport is no exception. We especially appreciated its tauter
suspension and larger brakes when we hammered our way around
the Milford Road Course at GM’s proving ground. The most
appreciable change, though, comes from the wider Goodyear Eagle
F1 Supercar run-fl at rubber. With more stick, the LS3-engined
Corvette can now pull more than 1 g in lateral acceleration,
according to GM.
There are no plans to limit production this time around.
Instead, Chevy will build as many Grand Sports as buyers demand,
at a $6000 premium over base models. Chevrolet suspects—as do
we—that plenty of people will be clamoring for the Grand Sport’s
style and hardware. — eric tingwall
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