Iconic 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Wins at Monterey Motorsports Reunion

Revs Institute and The Revs Program at Stanford Celebrate Corvette’s Sixty Year Anniversary

Revs Institute for Automotive Research brought number four – of only five – 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport race cars ever built to race at this year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Pre-Reunion and Reunion, with stellar results – winning the John Fitch Corvette Excellence Award, and taking the checkered flag first in the weekend’s three races! Driven to victory by John Morton on Pre-Reunion weekend and Bruce Canepa on Reunion weekend, both active historic drivers and former professional racers, chassis #004 showed spectators why the Corvette earned its iconic reputation.

“The Chevrolet team asked me which Corvette they felt John Fitch would select for the “Corvette Excellence Award” during the Monterey Historics this past weekend,” Lance Miller of Carlisle Events said. “Of course I was compelled to recommend the #004 Grand Sport. It was incredible watching that car dominate on the track again!” Lance has his father’s Cunningham corvette which John Fitch drove at lemans in 1960. He then had the fortune of taking Fitch back to Le Mans in 2010 so he could drive the #3 Cunningham corvette again.

Corvette was the featured marque of this year’s event, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Revs Institute’s 1963 Grand Sport represents Chevrolet’s ever-so-brief foray into competitive championship racing in the early 1960’s and their answer to Carroll Shelby’s Cobra. G.M. decided not to lift its ban on racing at the end of 1962, and the ax fell abruptly on their efforts, with only five cars existing at Chevrolet’s Research Center in 1963.

In the December 1963 Nassau Speed Week the Grand Sports were allowed to compete directly with the Cobras, entered by owner John Mecom, and driven by Roger Penske, Jim Hall, John Cannon, Dick Thompson and Augie Pabst. Quite conveniently, a group of Chevrolet engineers just happened to be in Nassau for a one week vacation and witnessed the long awaited match up. The Corvettes simply demolished their Cobra rivals. Even three years later, when technology had progressed significantly, an extinct Corvette was able to awe A.J. Foyt at Sebring.

“What’s in that damn dinosaur? It went by me like I was stopped,” Foyt remarked, stunned by the sheer acceleration of the Grand Sport.

Fifty years later, chassis #004, again raced to victory, but this time instrumented for research purposes by students of the Revs Program at Stanford, an academic program founded to study the automobile from a variety of disciplines and in extensive detail. The team was excited to capture specific information on driver/automobile interactions in real-life scenarios, i.e. with top speeds approaching 130+ mph, and navigating through Laguna Seca’s famous “corkscrew” turn.

“We are honored to receive the John Fitch Excellence Award,” says Scott George, of Revs Institute and also one of the Pebble Beach Concours event judges this year. “We enjoyed bringing the Grand Sport out on this special anniversary to this premier Historic Racing event for the spectators to enjoy its celebrated provenance and performance in action! We are also once again pleased to be working with Stanford students and faculty as they documented the instrumentation of the car and the drivers and look forward to examining the data gathered by the team.”

Additionally, during Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Revs Institute won a second in class award for their 1967 Porsche 911R, which won both the Tour de France and the Tour de Corse in 1969 as a Porsche factory entry piloted by Gérard Larrousse. The Porsche 911 is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year.