In the early 1960s, the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport stalked racetracks across the U.S. and Europe and was a constant nightmare for many European sports car manufacturers. The Grand Sport moniker was dormant until 1996 when it was revived during the final year of the fourth-generation Corvette.
The recipe for creating a Corvette Grand Sport is very simple: all one needs to do is add the Corvette Z06’s wider body panels, tires, and suspension components to the regular Corvette Stingray’s power plant.
The sixth-generation Corvette got the Grand Sport variant in 2010 and the seventh-generation Corvette gains the Grand Sport variant this summer as a 2017 model.
The 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport get’s the Z06’s cooling system, wider rear fenders, a similar grille, and front 19 inch and rear 20 inch alloy rims, wrapped in 285/30 and 335/25 Michelin Pilot Sport tires. The optional Magnetic Ride Control (adjustable dampers) from the standard Corvette Stingray comes on the Corvette Grand Sport. It gets the Z06’s specially tuned anti-roll bars and front and rear transverse composite leaf springs.
The Grand Sport’s trademark side fender stripes are optional and come in six colors. The full-length stripes are also available.
The 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport is powered by the same LT 1 6.2 L V8 found in the standard Corvette Stingray, but produces 460 horsepower, a gain of five over the standard Stingray thanks to the dual-mode exhaust, fitted to every Grand Sport model.
Chevrolet will offer the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport in both coupe and convertible variants with the seven-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions.
Brakes on the Corvette Grand Sport are 14 inch rotors up front and 13.4 inch rotors out back. These brakes are larger than the ones offered on the regular Corvette Stingray (even with the optional Z51 package), but are smaller than the units offered on the Z06. Front rotors are clamped by Brembo six-piston calipers, while the rear rotors are clamped by four-piston units.
The Stingray Z51’s electronically controlled rear differential is standard on the Corvette Grand Sport.
Life at the Race Track
Like the 650 horsepower Corvette Z06, the 2017 Grand Sport will definitely spend a lot of time on the race track. To deal with the additional stress at the track, the 6.2 L V8 in the Grand Sport is fitted with a dry sump lubrication system from the Z51 packaged Stingray.
Chevrolet estimates the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport can pull up to 1.05 g of lateral grip on the skid pad with standard Michelin tires. The dry sump lubrication setup is well equipped to handle engine oiling during high-g cornering. The optional Z07 package (similar to the one offered on the Z06) includes Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, carbon ceramic brakes, and various bits of functional carbon-fiber components for better aerodynamics.
When compared to its European counterparts, the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is already an exceptional performance bargain with a starting price around $80,000. However, official pricing has not been announced for the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport. But when it goes on sale during the summer, like its sixth-generation predecessor, expect the Grand Sport to cost few thousand dollars more than the standard Corvette Stingray.
*Rahul Raman is the Founder of CARS 360 Mke, an automotive news outlet. He is a regular contributor to Automoblog and the author of our First Look series.