There are rare occasions where less really is more. After our stint in the C7 Z06 last year, we concluded that while the supercharged ‘Vette offered incredible performance for the money, a Z51 Stingray offered nearly as many thrills on the street and while not quite as quick on the track, its 460 horsepower LT1 felt more manageable, put less weight over the front end, and had less trouble dispatching heat under the hood.
It seems like the engineers at Chevrolet agreed with us on some level, as they’ve unveiled the Corvette Grand Sport at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, and the package is comprised of our favorite elements of both the Stingray and the Z06.
In the simplest terms, the Grand Sport is essentially a Z06 with the naturally aspirated, 460 horsepower LT1 from the Stingray, rather than the supercharged, 650 horsepower LT4 from the top-spec model.
So what does that equate to? A naturally aspirated Corvette that’s capable of 1.2 lateral G, and lap times that GM says are within a second of the 638 horsepower C6 ZR1 around their Milford Proving Ground. Count us in.
Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tires – 285/30ZR19 up front and 335/25ZR20 at the rear – come as standard on the Grand Sport, along with bigger Brembo brakes versus the Stingray. A uniquely tuned suspension package, which includes new stabilizer bars and springs, dials in the handling for the GS’s Z06-sized track and the change in weight (and weight balance) versus the Z06.
But the most compelling aspect of the Grand Sport is the availability of the Z06’s hardcore Z07 package. That upgrades the rubber to Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, swaps in carbon ceramic brakes, and adds enhanced aero to the mix as well. With that package installed, GM says the 8-speed automatic Grand Sport will do 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, leaving little doubt as to whether or not the power will be adequate. A seven-speed manual gearbox will also be available with the Grand Sport.
Visually, the Grand Sport mixes elements from both the Stingray and the Z06, with the wider stance and aero elements of the latter, while maintaining the hood, tail lights and interior of the former. The Grand Sport’s traditional hash marks on the front fenders make a return and provide the most obvious identifier of the model from a glance, while a unique set of wheels, available in five different finishes, are also on hand. Collector’s Edition GS due later will provide some additional visual signifiers as well.
The Grand Sport will be available in both coupe and convertible configuration this summer, with the Collector’s Edition due further down the line. Pricing has not been announced, but expect it to fall somewhere between the Stingray’s $56,000 price tag and the Z06’s $81,000 base price. Check out the press release below for additional details.
2017 CORVETTE GRAND SPORT HAS RACING ROOTS
A ‘purist’ model that leverages a half-century legacy of motorsports success
– Lightweight architecture and track-honed aerodynamics
– An engine offering an estimated 1.05g in cornering capability and up to 1.2g with the available Z07 package
– Coupe and convertible available this summer in U.S. and fall in Europe
– Grand Sport Collector Edition available later in model year
GENEVA – With Corvette Racing in its DNA, the all-new 2017 Corvette Grand Sport is a pure expression of the car’s motorsports-bred pedigree. It was introduced today at the Geneva International Motor Show.
Like the 2015 Le Mans-winning Corvette C7.R GTE Pro race car, the new Grand Sport combines a lightweight architecture, a track-honed aerodynamics package, Michelin tires and a naturally aspirated engine.
The 2017 Corvette Grand Sport offers an estimated 1.05g in cornering capability – and up to 1.2g with the available Z07 package.
Heritage-inspired design cues and exclusive features acknowledge the historic Grand Sport legacy, established in 1963 to take on the world’s best sports cars. Only five were built before a corporate decision suspending direct motorsports involvement ended the project.
"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 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."
The Corvette Grand Sport coupe and convertible go on sale this summer in the U.S. and in the fall in Europe.
No holding back
Engineers adapted the chassis tuning, upgraded cooling systems, and performance technologies of the Corvette Z06 to give the new Grand Sport capability commensurate with its racing-derived history.
"We didn’t hold back with the new Grand Sport," said Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. "For the first time, buyers can equip the Grand Sport with a Z07 performance package – which adds carbon-ceramic brakes, Michelin Sport Cup 2 summer tires, and carbon-fiber aero package that delivers true downforce."
The result is a potent track car. In fact, the Grand Sport with the Z07 package is less than one second off the track record for the previous-generation Corvette ZR1 on the road course at GM’s Milford Proving Ground.
Content highlights for Grand Sport include:
– Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tires: 285/30ZR19 (front) and 335/25ZR20 (rear)
– Specific Grand Sport wheel design: 19×10 inches (front) and 20×12 inches (rear)
– Brembo brake system with (355 mm) 14-inch rotors and six-piston calipers in front and (340 mm) 13.4 inch rotors and four-piston calipers in the rear
– Standard magnetic ride control, specific stabilizer bars and unique springs
– Standard electronic limited-slip differential
– LT1 V8 engine rated at (343 kW) 460 hp, with dry-sump oiling system and active exhaust
– Seven-speed manual transmission with active rev match and available eight-speed paddle-shift automatic with specific performance calibration
– Available Z07 package adds carbon ceramic-matrix brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport 2 Cup tires.
In addition to track-focused aero elements, the Grand Sport also features specific front fender inserts, a Z06-style grille and wider rear fenders – a distinctive design package that gives the car a track-ready attitude.
Grand Sport models are offered with the Stingray’s full exterior and interior color palette. An available Heritage package includes hash-mark fender graphics in six colors, with the hash-mark detail carried onto the interior’s brushed aluminum trim. Full-length stripes are also offered.
"The choices are almost endless," said Harlan Charles, Corvette product marketing manager. "The packages take personalization to an unprecedented level, enabling customers to create their own Corvette Grand Sport statement like no other."
Grand Sport Collector Edition
The Grand Sport Collector Edition features an exclusive Watkins Glen Gray Metallic exterior with Tension Blue hash-mark graphics, satin black full-length stripes, black wheels and a unique Tension Blue full leather and suede-wrapped interior.
The Tension Blue color is a bold, modern take on the hue historically associated with the Grand Sport. Inside, a three-dimensional representation of an original Grand Sport race car is embossed in the headrests and that shape is also used on an instrument panel plaque that carries a unique build sequence number.
The Collector Edition will be offered later in the model year in the U.S. and Europe.