Chevrolet has only made the Grand Sport option available two other times in the Corvette’s history. The original Grand Sport was a track-only special with a 550 HP V8, and the 1996 version was the only Corvette to use the more powerful LT4 engine. So our biggest concern when we heard rumors of the return of the Corvette Grand Sport was that Chevrolet was not going to be able to deliver a car that lived up to the historic name.
For the third edition Chevrolet reached into the Corvette part’s bin and pulled out sort of a “best of” package for the standard Corvette. Even though there is no new engineering on the latest Grand Sport, we are now happy to report that it is still an intriguing option.
The standard 430 hp 6.2 Liter V8 is untouched, making 436 HP with the two mode exhaust system. What was added includes parts like the Z51 performance suspension (the GS replaces this option package), wider fenders, wider tires (18-in front, 19-in rear), and larger brakes. It also borrows elements from the Z06 like the front bumper, rear spoiler and rear brake ducts.
The 2010 Grand Sport can be ordered with 1LT, 2LT, 3LT and 4LT trim packages and in four exterior colors, as well as two-tone seats with Grand Sport embroidery. It can be had as a coupe or convertible. Prices for the Corvette GS rage from $54,770 to $62,475.
Press release after the jump.
Grand Sport. It’s one of the most storied monikers in Corvette’s illustrious racing heritage and it is returning the lineup. Chevrolet announced the new, 2010 Corvette Grand Sport at the 12th annunal C5/C6 Corvette Birthday Bash, held at the National Corvette Museum, in Bowling Green, Ky.
LS3 6.2-liter V8 engine; 430 hp and 424 lb.-ft. of torque
The new Grand Sport model combines the Corvette’s LS3-based powertrain with unique, wide-body styling and a racetrack-bred suspension for a distinctive, starting grid-ready performer. It is offered in both coupe and convertible body styles, with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The LS3 6.2L engine is rated at 430 horsepower (321 kW)* and 424 lb.-ft. of torque (575 Nm)* with the standard exhaust system. An optional two-mode exhaust system elevates the power ratings to 436 horses (325 kW) and 428 lb.-ft. (580 Nm).
The Grand Sport replaces the Corvette’s previous Z51 package and brings a greater degree of handling performance, with wider wheels and tires; revised shock, stabilizer bar and spring specifications and specific gearing. The equipment enables cornering capability of 1.0 g, as well as a 0.2-second improvement in 0-60 acceleration vs. standard LS3-powered models.
Grand Sport coupe models equipped with the manual transmission are uniquely outfitted for racetrack competition, too, with a dry-sump oiling system, differential cooler and a rear-mounted battery.
The complete list of content and special features for the Grand Sport includes
Wider front and rear fenders – including specific front fenders with integrated Grand Sport badges
Z06-style front splitter and tall rear spoiler
Functional brake ducts and extra cooling
Unique 18-inch front and 19-inch wheels; painted finish standard and chrome finish optional
Large 275/35ZR18 tires in front and 325/30ZR19 tires in the rear
Z06-size brakes, including 14-inch (355 mm) front rotors with six-piston calipers and 13.4-inch (340 mm) rear rotors with four-piston calipers
Specific manual transmission gear ratios
Specific rear axle ratio on automatic-equipped modles
With its special equipment, the Grand Sport offers a unique blend of performance and amenities. Its suspension package approaches that of the Z06, but includes a removable roof on coupes (Z06 has a fixed roof) and, of course, the availability of a convertible body style. Also, the paddle-shift six-speed automatic transmission is offered, while a manual transmission is the only choice with the Z06.
All of Corvette’s exterior colors are offered on the Grand Sport and an available Heritage package adds iconic front fender hash marks offered in four colors, as well as two-tone seats with Grand Sport embroidery. The Grand Sport can be ordered with 1LT, 2LT, 3LT and 4LT trim packages, too.
Grand Sport history
Envisioned by legendary Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov as a factory-built, lightweight and race-ready production model that would trump domestic and foreign road-racing competitors, the original Corvette Grand Sport was a promising idea stymied by GM’s agreement to stay out of manufacturer-backed motorsports.
The planned 125 production models required for racing-class homologation were never built, but five prototypes based on the styling of the 1963 Corvette were hand-assembled under Duntov’s watchful eye. And while they looked like production models, the prototypes were purpose-built racecars that shared little with their assembly-line cousins. Duntov also oversaw the Grand Sport engine program that featured a special, 377-cubic-inch small-block V-8 and used side-draft carburetors.
Although never officially sanctioned by General Motors, the five Grand Sport prototypes saw extensive racing experience throughout the 1960s in the hands of “private” racers who had strong contacts within Duntov’s engineering circle. All five original cars are accounted for today and are among the most valuable in the collector market.
Chevrolet offered a limited-edition Grand Sport production model in 1996, commemorating the original racing cars and marking the end of the C4 era in Corvette production. All of the 1,000 examples were painted Admiral Blue and featured a white center stripe and red “hash mark” graphics on the left front fender, a graphic scheme that mimicked the look of some of the original racecars.
"After getting the lowdown on the Grand Sport, it was time to drive. The MRC is a three-mile long, 17-turn road course where, according to test driver and track designer Jim Mero, 97% of every lap is spent under lateral acceleration. To keep things under control, GM had us come into the pits every lap so they could set up a cone chicane on the back straight. The course is designed as an engineering test facility rather than a racetrack and includes two off-camber turns, increasing and decreasing radius turns and even two "jumps" to unload the suspension." (AutoBlog)
"Every 2010 Corvette equipped with a manual transmission, including Grand Sport models, comes standard with a nearly foolproof launch-control program. Put the traction and stability control system in Competitive mode, depress the clutch, put the right pedal on the floor mat, and sidestep the clutch. Chevy says it has no worries about the durability of its driveline while using launch control, a little needle-poke to the folks at Nissan. A guy whose job it is to track-test cars can squeeze a slightly better acceleration figure than the launch control can. But he can’t be as consistent. And while using it, even the lamest Corvette driver never need worry about performance anxiety and/or clumsiness resulting in stoplight humiliation." (InsideLine)
"The payoff is far greater handling precision. On GM’s sinewy road course, the Grand Sport cornered flat. The standard Vette’s normal body motions are all but gone. The Grand Sport stays commendably poised, even under hard, racetrack threshold braking. The Grand Sport is much easier to drive than a Z06 or even a ZR1. Where the two higher-powered cars so effortlessly break traction when exiting a corner, the Grand Sport stays hooked up. After a few laps, the driver’s confidence grows to the point where we were hustling the Grand Sport around as hard as we would in, say, a Mazda Miata." (PopularMechanics)
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The Chevrolet Corvette GS is for sure a car that worth to be bought. First, if you take a quick look at the pricing list it is the cheapest in its class. And with a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.95 seconds it is also quicker. In fact the Corvette Grand Sport looks more like a track machine, but is perfectly legal for every day use.
And on the road it is a real beast and most importantly you don’t need to be a professional driver to control it. The car will easily respond to any of your command, and will be a pleasure to drive. There are people out there who might think that the interior of the car needs lots of improvements. True, but you have to remember this is a sports car, not a luxury one. So, just sit back and enjoy!