‘The first time I drove it, I hated it’ former BTCC champion Jason Plato says of the big-block Corvette he drove at the 73rd Goodwood Members’ Meeting. ‘But… then I learned how to drive it and now it’s great fun!
The Corvette in question is the property of Craig Davies. Unlike the other, silver coloured Corvette in the Graham Hill Trophy race with the much-admired 5.4 litre motor, this one makes use of Chevrolet’s legendary 7.0 litre V8. As such, it produces ‘something like 600bhp’ according to Mr Plato and was probably the most powerful car in the race.
‘It’s such a brute! He exclaims. ‘Just the smallest amount of throttle and it shouts at you. Speed? Steering input? Doesn’t matter… It just wants to snap sideways. This ain’t no place for puppies!’ So how does one go about setting up such a machine? ‘You don’t bother, really’ he confesses. ‘It’s so bendy and stretchy, although to be fair the (Dunlop Historical) tyres are a big issue; they’re very tall and there’s lots of movement which causes a delay between inputs and reactions. It’s a big challenge.’
Despite having enough power to make an aircraft carrier blush, Jason reckoned the Corvette had zero chance of winning. ‘The cars I’m up against are lightweight, powerful sports cars like lightweight E-Types and Cobras. They handle far better. The Corvette was built more with comfort in mind…’
Prophetic words, indeed. In the race Jason finished 8th out of thirty cars, with Cobras and E-Types (and an Iso A3/C) ahead of him. But, did he enjoy the experience? ‘I just feel very lucky to be involved in a unique event like this; there’s nothing else like it anywhere. As for the Corvette; it’s not easy to drive, but it has to be one of the great fun cars. I love it!’