2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
By Veeno Dewan
The original Corvette Grand Sport first appeared as a race-car influenced, high-performance variant in the 1960’s and did very well on the racetrack. It later reappeared in 1996 and 2010 as extra powerful Corvette models with wider wheels and tires, suspension upgrades and the distinctive “hashmark” graphics on the front fenders. For the 2017 model year, Chevrolet has a new Corvette Grand Sport that takes parts from the high-performance Z06 upgrades and equipment to make this a coveted All-American sports car. Experts will, of course, know the C7 Grand Sport is based mostly on the high-performance Corvette Z06. Chevrolet offers the new Grand Sport in some available Heritage package, which adds hash-mark fender graphics in one of six colors. Full-length stripes in the same colors are also offered. The hash mark and the stripes can be paired with any exterior color from the Corvette palette, which includes four standard paints, two premium tint coat hues, the new-for-2016 Admiral Blue Metallic, and new-for-2017 Watkins Glen Gray Metallic, Black Rose Metallic, and Sterling Blue Metallic.
Power for the Grand Sport comes from the same LT1 6.2-liter V-8 engine used by typical Corvette Stingrays. But with an optional dual-mode exhaust upping the rumbling exhaust and an increase of horsepower by five to the Corvette’s V-8, for a total of 460 horsepower, (the standard Corvette comes with 455 horses and 460 pound-feet).Transmission for the Grand Sport is either: a seven-speed manual transmission with specially optimized active rev match ability or an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Tops speed for the Grand Sport has estimated at least 187 mph and is available in both coupe and convertible body styles. The iconic fender hash stripes are optional. Grand Sport models also look unique thanks to specific front fender inserts and a custom wheel design. Taking parts from the hot Corvette Z06; the Grand Sport has the current Z06’s cooling systems, wider rear fenders, and Z06 grille. Rubber is courtesy of 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels with high-performance Z06-kitted 285/30 and 335/25 Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber.
The interior of the Grand Sport is also based on the Z06’s. Unique touches include more premium materials, extra carbon-fiber inserts, magnesium seat frame structures, and a flat-bottom steering wheel with the “Grand Sport” logo on the lower spoke. The cabin can be had with either the GT or Competition sport seats and in any of the color combinations available with the standard Corvette. Models selected with the Heritage package will also get brushed aluminum trim with hash-marks.
The Grand Sport Collector Edition will feature a Tension Blue full leather and suede interior and the original Grand Sport race car embossed in the headrests. The same shape is used on the instrument panel plaque with build sequence number from “0001” to “1000,” though Chevrolet has no plans of limiting production numbers.
Standard features include magnetic ride control, revised stabilizer bars, bespoke springs, and an electronic limited-slip differential. As mentioned before, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires and Brembo six piston 14-inch front rotors and four-piston brakes deliver superb grip and braking ability. With the optional Z07 pack, you can add more powerful ceramic brakes and stickier Michelin Pilot Sport 2 Cup rubber. The chassis and cooling systems of the Z06 have been specially tuned for the Grand Sport to cope with the prodigious power and heat buildup.
On the suspension front, the regular Corvette’s optional Magnetic Ride Control adjustable dampers are enhanced with specially tuned anti-roll bars, and front and rear transverse composite leaf springs. The Stingray Z51’s electronically controlled rear differential is standard. These upgrades mean the Grand Sport has improved high-g cornering, with Chevrolet claiming that this newest Vette can pull 1.05 g of lateral grip on the standard Michelin tires. The Grand Sport Collector Edition, set to be launched later in 2016, will feature an exclusive Watkins Glen Gray Metallic exterior with Tension Blue hash-mark graphics, satin black full-length stripes, and black wheels. Whichever way you look at it, the Corvette Grand Sport is a bargain; performance compares to super cars costing double or triple the price. The Corvette Grand Sport is a covetable and future collector classics.
Pricing for the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport Coupe is projected to start from $69,795. (To be confirmed.)