The first Corvette Grand Sport was built out of necessity — the necessity for Chevrolet to beat the Ford-backed Shelby Cobra.
Only five cars were built before company execs put the kibosh on the program, but a legend was born nonetheless, one of an automotive pissing contest that ended before it truly had a chance to get started.
More than 50 years later, standing in the pit lane at Atlanta Motorsports Park, the Georgia sun beating down mercilessly, heat rising dizzily from the asphalt, the latest in a short list of cars with a lineage that traces back loosely to those famous five awaits.
I slip into the driver’s seat of the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, helmet pressed firmly, if not a tad uncomfortably, into the headliner, hands clammy from a combination of humidity and adrenaline. Clutch in, I start the car and a throaty growl emanates from the exhaust
. I roll out of the pit box, right foot gently feathering the throttle, and the exhaust note transforms into a dull rumble, the calm before the storm. Exiting the pit lane, I pin the throttle and listen as the rumble transforms into an all-out roar, the thunder of the exhaust
preceded only by the lightning of the car scorching the earth beneath it.