America’s sports car has come a long way over the past 64 years, going from lithe roadster to big-block quarter-mile pounder to a world-class sports car that can keep pace with the finest machines on the road.
For 2017, changes to the Corvette are limited to appearance. There are a handful of new colours – Watkins Glen Grey, Black Rose, Sterling Blue, and Admiral Blue – the availability of red seat belts, and a new satin black stripe package. Other changes include an upgrade to the infotainment system and in-car Performance Data Recorder, a suede-wrapped steering wheel on cars with the suede interior package, and a colour-keyed stitching for shift paddles.
But the big news for 2017 is the return of the Grand Sport, a model which harks back to a time when Corvettes fought toe-to-toe with other race cars on the world’s most challenging circuits.
This iteration of the Grand Sport is perhaps the most track-oriented version, borrowing much of its hardware from the Z06. The two share plenty of bodywork, plus staggered wheels, Michelin Super Sport Tires, and wider fenders. Grand Sports also get upgraded brakes with Brembo six-piston calipers, an electronically controlled rear differential, and magnetically controlled dampers. Grand Sports are available in 10 colours, with body stripes, plus signature fender hash marks available in six contrast colours.
To celebrate the return of the Grand Sport, Chevrolet has also put together a Collector Edition model which comes finished in Watkins Glen Grey with blue has fender hash marks and matte-finish black stripes. Inside, the special edition car gets Blue leather and suede upholstery, plus an embossed Grand Sport race car on the head rests.
The Corvette use a 6.2-litre V8 engine that drives the rear wheels through a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. The pushrod engine develops 455 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. The Grand Sport and standard Corvettes with the optional dual-mode exhaust system free up another five ponies for a total of 460 hp. Grand Sports are capable of accelerating from 0-96 km/h in 3.6 seconds.
While a 460-horsepower Corvette is quick enough to dust off Porsche 911s and Jaguar F-Types, Ferrari-smiting power is available on the supercar-challenging Z06. Its 6.2 litres are supercharged, and produce 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque making it not only the quickest and fastest, but wildest Corvette ever produced. Unlike previous Z06s, this iteration can be had in Coupe and Convertible body styles, and with either a manual transmission or an automatic.
Buyers intending to venture onto the track may find the Z51 package worthwhile; it adds choice upgraded components including a dry-sump lubrication system for the engine. A special Z07 package offered on the Grand Sport and Corvette Z06, adds Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires, carbon ceramic brakes, and adjustable aerodynamics.