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Fifty Years Of Corvette

Sparking inspiration and the imagination of sports car enthusiasts for 50 years, Corvettes have reigned as America's performance car icon. Whether they're on winding country roads, barreling down highways or powering through tight corners, the Corvette is synonymous with race car-like handling. This August, the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races pays tribute to this all-American thoroughbred.

Corvette Racing's latest addition to its stable, the Corvette C5-R, continues a decade long tradition of exciting Corvette road racers. Under the guiding hand of engineering genius Zora Arkus-Duntov, Chevrolet first thrust its sports car into competition in 1956.

In 1960 a trio of Corvettes was brought to Le Mans by team owner Brigs Cunningham. With a remarkable demonstration of endurance and speed, the #3 car, driven by John Fitch and Bob Grossman, finished eighth overall, well ahead of many of the finest sports and all-out racing cars of the era.

The third-generation Corvette, introduced in 1968, continued the winning ways of its predecessors. In fact, Corvettes were totally dominant in the late 60's and 70's, winning sixteen SCCA national A-and B-Production titles and finishing as high as third overall at both Daytona and Sebring.

In the Late 70's and early 80's Corvettes went Trans-Am racing and though the competition was formidable, Corvettes continued to finish in front. In addition to racing in production classes as it had done for decades, a more exotic Corvette-based car took to the track in the late 80's. The incredible IMSA GTP Corvettes reached speeds well in excess of 200 mph by virtue of their 1200-horsepower, turbocharged Chevrolet engines and thrilled fans from coast to coast.

In the early 90's Corvettes were again provided an opportunity to race against and defeat some of the world's most sophisticated and most expensive cars in the Bridgestone Potenza Super Car Series. Corvette once again set new marks for speed and durability.

For 2001 Chevrolet introduced the new ZO6, a production vehicle with 385-hp and 385-ft.lbs. of torque that's ready for the racetrack. Based on the former hardtop model-already the lightest, stiffest and quickest corvette- it is a car aimed directly at the diehard performance enthusiasts at the upper end of the high-performance market.

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