Amid all the financial chaos and apocalyptic overtones at General Motors, Chevy has decided to revive the Corvette Grand Sport. Once a fabled Corvette racecar from the early 1960s briefly revived in the 90s, the Grand Sport adds another high performance option to the Corvette spectrum alongside the ZO6 and the damn impressive ZR1.
The new Grand Sport seems to be a real performer and a much bigger deal that Chevy’s 1996 Grand Sport, which was little more than special paint and trim (although I did auto-X against a guy that had a ’96 GS, and he sure was tough to keep up with).
The new Grand Sport package replaces the Z51 handling package option, and aims to give the standard Vette more of a handling advantage, bringing performance closer to the Z06. The car is ready for the track, Chevy claims, with goodies like a dry sump oiling system, differential cooler, Z06-sized brakes and a rear mounted battery. Curiously, or one might say troubling for a track oriented car, the GS is available with either a manual or automatic tranny. Then again, is there a car that GM WON’T put a slush box in? I swear, Americans … anyway, on manual tranny Grand Sports, there are revised gear ratios, and automatic cars get a revised rear axle ratio. Chevy says that a Grand Sport can corner at 1.0 g\’s, and is 0.2 seconds quicker to 60 mph than a standard Vette. Both of which are quite believable … Vettes have been pulling g’s like that since the Gen 4 cars.
The Grand Sport visually stands out from other, run of the mill Corvettes, with wider front and rear fenders, housing wider rubber wrapped around unique 18 inch front, and 19 inch rear wheels. Other tip offs are the Z06-style front splitter, rear spoiler and functional brake ducts. Another neat feature will be two racing chevron stripes on the left front fender. This was a feature on the 1960 vintage GSs, and something that I’ve always found pretty cool.
Basically speaking, the Grand Sport package keeps the more aggressive suspension feel and performance of the Z51 package, but also gives you a name that is dear to Corvette fans as well as a defined, and pretty bitchin’ appearance. The Grand Sport is available in convertible or coupe with the nifty removable roof. The Z06, you’ll recall, is only available with a fixed roof car, and is only available with a manual transmission. If the Z06 is just too much, and the standard Vette is a little too little, then the Grand Sport is your car.