History: The Chevrolet Corvette SS makes its 1957 Sebring debut
The 12 Hours of Sebring opened its track to automakers worldwide in 1950, but it wasn’t until seven years later that an American brand, Chevrolet, took its place among its European counterparts. Brands such as Porsche, Jaguar, Ferrari, Maserati, Austin-Healey, Alfa Romeo, and Lotus, among others, all had their prized racers at the line, but this new vehicle would catch everyone off guard.
The Chevrolet Corvette SS (Super Sport) was powered by a fuel-injected small block V8 that could push out 307hp at 6,400rpm. This power was used to propel the 1,850 pound vehicle consisting of a lightweight magnesium body and a tubular steel space frame. Altogether three models of the car were brought to the 12 Hours of Sebring; a production model, the prototype C1 SS (Super Sport), and a test mule. The mule ended up in the hands of Juan Fangio - a race car driver from Argentina -, who took it for a few laps and successfully broke the previous year’s record for the fastest lap, a remarkable feat considering this was his first time in the vehicle. Not wanting to let the opportunity pass him by, Stirling Moss also jumped in the Corvette’s driving seat to test the car for himself. It seemed as if the Corvette’s grand appearance was indeed successful.
But, sadly, the Corvette’s debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring was short-lived as its driver, John Fitch, experienced some damage in the rear suspension that forced him to pull out after the 23rd lap. Juan Fangio and his teammate, Jean Behra, ended up taking the win that year in a Maserati 450S, with Stirling Moss and Harry Schell following close behind in the Maserati 300S. After all was said and done, only 38 out of the 65 racers were able to finish the race, illustrating just how difficult this event was at the time.
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Source: Terra Autos