2017 Corvette Grand Sport Revealed

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2017 Corvette Grand Sport Revealed

2017 Corvette Grand Sport
General Motors reveals the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport. General Motors

Automotive folklore is full of stories detailing how the European road racing giants that dominated in the 1950s – Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar, Porsche – inspired Harley Earl and his team to build the first Corvette. So it’s quite fitting that Chevrolet chose the Geneva Auto Show, one of the largest European shows, to debut the latest variant of its iconic sports car: the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport. Sports car enthusiasts are already frothing to see what promises to be a top-performing Corvette. Read on to see what a Grand Sport Corvette is, when it's coming, and what it will likely cost. 

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History of the Corvette Grand Sport

1963 Corvette Grand Sport
1963 Corvette Grand Sport. General Motors

Originally known as the EX-122 concept car, when the first production run came off the assembly line in 1953, the Corvette was an instant classic. Considered by many to be the original American sports car, the Corvette was revered for its cutting edge engineering and futuristic styling. There was a consensus (among both the press and the public) that the Corvette’s power and performance didn’t match its space age package.  

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History of the Corvette Grand Sport

1960 Corvette Le Mans
Corvettes preparing to compete in Le Mans, 1960. General Motors

That all changed when legendary Zora Arkus-Duntov joined the General Motors (GM) team. A fan first, he talked his way into a job at Chevy, assigned to the Corvette engineering team. Now known as the “Father or the Corvette,” it was Duntov who convinced the suits on the top floors at GM to put a big V-8 in the popular but anemic two door coupe. It was a game changer.

But Duntov wasn’t done. During the late 50’s and early 60’s he oversaw and championed the transformation of the Corvette from a classy runabout into what it was originally intend to be: a true world-class sports car. 

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History of the Corvette Grand Sport

1963 Corvette Grand Sport
1963 Corvette Grand Sport. General Motors

With chassis, braking and suspension improvements to compliment the muscle of the V-8 engines, Corvette began dominating the race scene. The ultimate expression of Duntov’s vision came to fruition when he imagined and had built the first Corvette Grand Sport in 1962.

Designed as a lightweight track car, with its distinctive body stripes and bold stance, these machines were built for one thing: to go fast. Duntov and his team were able to get only five of a planned 125 examples built before executives at GM discontinued Corvette's participation in racing. Ultimately, those five Grand Sport prototypes made their way into the garages of private citizens and were campaigned successfully both in the U.S. and abroad.

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Corvette Grand Sport Through the Years

1996 Corvette Grand Sport
1996 Corvette Grand Sport. General Motors

Following the original clandestine model, Chevrolet suspended the Grand Sport moniker for the next three decades. It was reinstated for the first time in 1996, when 1,000 C4 Corvette Grand Sports were built. The Grand Sport was not a separate model but was offered as RPO Z16, a $3,250 package upgrade.

In 2010, Grand Sport returned again. But this time it was offered as a distinct model. The C6 Grand Sport Corvette was available as a coupe and convertible from 2010 to 2013.  

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Chevrolet Announces C7 Corvette Grand Sport

2017 Corvette Grand Sport
General Motors

While the C4 and C6 generations of the Corvette both featured variations of the Grand Sport, this latest offering from Chevrolet seems to be the most worthy of the moniker. Turnkey and ready to race, the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport is more than just an options package. It’s a unique model in the Corvette line-up – not as severe as its big brother, the fire breathing, supercharged Z06, but more purpose-built than the stock Stingray.  

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Corvette Grand Sport Mechanical and Performance Details

2017 Corvette Grand Sport
2017 Corvette Grand Sport. General Motors

Available as either a hardtop or convertible, the Grand Sport shares the chassis, suspension and cooling components with the Corvette Z06. The Grand Sport also borrows the Z06 grill and some body trim for a more aggressive and aerodynamic profile.

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Corvette Grand Sport Mechanical and Performance Details

2017 Corvette Grand Sport
2017 Corvette Grand Sport. General Motors

Those wanting to a track-worthy car should be aware of some crucial Z51 Stingray options that are standard on the Grand Sport, including dry-sump lubrication, electronically controlled rear differential and performance dual-mode exhaust. This last component boost the horsepower of the LT1 V8, the same engine powering the Stingray, to 460 horsepower.

The 7-speed rev matching manual transmission is available on the Grand Sport, as is the 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. For extra performance, the optional Z07 package is set to provide extreme stopping power via carbon ceramic-matrix brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport 2 Cup tires to keep you glued to the tarmac.

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Corvette Grand Sport Mechanical and Performance Details

2017 Corvette Grand Sport
2017 Corvette Grand Sport. General Motors

According to Chevrolet, the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport will be outfitted with the following:

  • Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tires: 285/30ZR19 (front) and 335/25ZR20 (rear)
  • Specific Grand Sport wheel design: 19x10 inches (front) and 20x12 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

While Chevrolet has not yet released official performance specs of the upcoming Grand Sport, because it is running the same LT1 engine as the base Stingray with the added dual exhaust, the Grand Sport's capabilities should be similar. You can read more about the Stingray's mechanical details and performance specs here.

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Corvette Grand Sport Paint and Body Details

2017 Corvette Grand Sport
2017 Corvette Grand Sport. General Motors

The Corvette Grand Sport comes standard with flat bottom steering wheel, carbon fiber inserts in the cabin, and magnesium seat frames. Any Stingray color combination, both interior and exterior, is available on the Grand Sport, along with many options (include RPO AE4, Competition Seats). If you opt for the Heritage Edition, your Grand Sport will come with the iconic Grand Sport fender graphics and aluminum trim accents.

Later this year Chevrolet will release the Grand Sport Collector Edition, with numbered plaques on the dashboard and a unique interior and exterior color scheme.

"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," details Chevrolet. "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.

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Price and Availability

2017 Corvette Grand Sport Reveal
General Motors

Chevrolet announced that U.S. dealers will begin receiving the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport this summer, while European customers will have to wait until the fall. Pricing has not yet been announced.

When the Grand Sport was last offered in 2013, it cost $6,400 more than the base Corvette. If Chevrolet follows this same price pattern, the Grand Sport will likely retail for around $63,000. Given the performance promised by Chevrolet, this will be a bargain for a sports car. Despite the fact that the Grand Sport shares many components with the Z06, a price tag of $63K could mean a price difference of $18,000 between the two.

Marc Stevens also contributed to this article.