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2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Preview

2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2009

2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
Critical Knowledge:
  • New, performance-oriented Corvette model
  • Grand Sport moniker pays homage to early 1960s Corvette race cars
  • Replaces Z51 package on current base model
  • Available in coupe or convertible body styles, with 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Specific gear (manual transmission) and rear axle (automatic transmission) ratios
  • 430-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 engine; optional exhaust system boosts horsepower to 436
  • Wider fenders, Z06-style front splitter and tall rear spoiler
  • Larger brakes with functional brake ducts and extra cooling
  • Unique 18- and 19-inch wheels
  • Built in Bowling Green, Kentucky
Introduction
First applied to a handful of purpose-built, lightweight, race-ready prototypes in the early 1960s, the Grand Sport moniker has become synonymous with racing among Corvette enthusiasts. And although corporate politics kept the original, 1960s-era Grand Sport from becoming a production model, there is no denying the Grand Sport's influence on the Corvette over the years. In fact, as recently as 1996, Chevrolet offered a limited-edition Corvette Grand Sport production model, commemorating the original race cars and marking the end of the fourth-generation Corvette (known as the C4). All 1,000 of those 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.

For 2010, Chevrolet has once again resurrected the Grand Sport name, introducing a new Corvette Grand Sport production model at the 12th annual C5/C6 Corvette Birthday Bash, held at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Available in coupe or convertible body styles and with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, the new Grand Sport model offers a host of performance upgrades and replaces the former Z51 handling and performance package available on previous base Corvette models. The Corvette Grand Sport includes larger wheels, tires and brakes; wider front and rear fenders-including specific front fenders with integrated Grand Sport badges; a Z06-style front splitter and tall rear spoiler; and functional brake ducts that provide extra cooling, all contributing to the Grand Sport's enhanced handling capabilities.

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2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand SportModel Lineup
With the addition of the Grand Sport, the 2010 Corvette lineup will include no fewer than four models-base, Grand Sport, Z06 and ZR-1-each representing a step up the performance ladder (the new Grand Sport replaces the Z51 performance package that was available on base Corvette models up through and including the 2009 model year). The new Grand Sport will be available in coupe or convertible body styles; coupe models feature a removable roof panel. The Grand Sport comes with a 430-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine and a choice of 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions, the latter with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

While Chevrolet hasn't announced a full listing of standard and optional features for the new Grand Sport, buyers can expect the special-edition model to be equipped similarly to the base Corvette with regard to comfort and convenience features. That means power-adjustable leather seats; a leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant audio controls; variable-ratio steering; heated power mirrors; auto-dimming exterior mirrors; one-touch power windows; and remote power door locks. The Grand Sport can also be ordered with 1LT, 2LT, 3LT and 4LT trim packages. All of the base Corvette's exterior colors are offered on the Grand Sport, and an available Heritage package adds front fender hash marks offered in four colors, as well as two-tone seats with Grand Sport embroidery.


2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand SportHardware
The new 2010 Corvette Grand Sport shares the same powertrain found in base-model Corvettes, but ups the ante significantly in terms of its suspension components, which, according to Chevrolet, greatly enhances the car's performance and handling capability.

The standard engine in the new Corvette Grand Sport is a 6.2-liter V-8 (codename LS3), producing 430 hp at 5900 rpm and 424 lb.-ft. of torque at 4600 rpm. An optional 2-mode exhaust system elevates the power ratings to 436 horses and 428 lb.-ft. Buyers can choose between a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic transmission, the former featuring specific gear ratios, the latter having a specific rear axle ratio. Also, Grand Sport coupe models equipped with the manual transmission are uniquely outfitted for racetrack competition, with a dry-sump oiling system, differential cooler and a rear-mounted battery.

In terms of chassis and suspension upgrades, the new Corvette Grand Sport features unique 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels with painted (standard) or chrome (optional) finish; large 275/35ZR18 tires in front and 325/30ZR19 tires in the rear; Z06-size brakes, including 14-inch front rotors with 6-piston calipers and 13.4-inch rear rotors with 4-piston calipers; and revised shock, stabilizer bar and spring specifications. According to Chevrolet, the equipment enables cornering capability of 1.0 g, as well as a 0.2-second improvement in 0-60 mph acceleration compared to standard LS3-powered models.

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