This Corvette is America's original Le Mans racer

09th September 2016
Ethan Jupp

Imagine a racing Corvette. Images of the be-winged C6/C7 R endurance monsters immediately spring to mind. Maybe the old Grand Sports and Z06 club racers from way back when, or the thunderous wide body C2 'Rays we see toiling it out in the TT. You don’t really think of the grandaddy: The C1. 


Often imagined as the open-top, soft-nosed cruiser that preceded the jagged Sting Rays, the first Corvette naturally hadn’t fully fledged into the world renowned sportscar we know today. Yet here we are at Revival getting stoked for the Kinrara Trophy, and amongst the ranks of Cobra 289s, E-Types and 250 Ferraris, there is a hard top, caged, liveried up C1. We had to investigate. Owner and driver Charles is very passionate about his little sports car. So, what of the details…

This C1 is a 1962 that Charles purchased roughly a year and a half ago from an employee of Tesla was headhunted for a position in California. He took it on as a half-finished project car and turned it into the machine we see here. That is a nut for bolt replica of the Scuderia Scirocco C1 that took the Corvette name to Le Mans for the first time in 1962.


Charles’ car is furnished, as per the original, with a red interior, drum brakes all round, a 5.4-litre V8 and the stunning blue and white livery. He’s taken it to Le Mans Classic, Silverstone Classic and now Goodwood. The car needs a bit of work, with more power achievable from that V8 with a bit of tinkering and braking issues to amend – as exhibited in the smokey qualifying session for the Kinrara Trophy this Friday morning. As for the race itself, the C1 was caught in a bit of a tussle with an Aston Martin mid-Chicane. Two cars vying for space enough for one. Significant amounts of paint traded. It was nevertheless spectacular to see the C1 racing into the dark. 

Charles confesses it’s not the ideal racing machine, but as a celebration and an homage to the first Corvette to race, its presence here is fully welcomed. Those thunderous C6s and C7s can find a faithful tribute to their oldest ancestor amid the Kinrara paddocks at Revival. 

Photography by Tom Shaxson

  • Revival

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