Total Production: 7 1984 - 1989
The Chevrolet Corvette GTP participated in the IMSA GT Championship from 1984 until 1989. The cars were developed in conjunction with Lola Cars International of the United Kingdom, and given the famous 'Corvette' nameplate, though is shared nearly nothing mechanically with the Corvette and only very little of its styling. The GTP was slightly similar to the C4 at the front, with a long pontoon-style tail featuring Corvette tail lights. On the side were large side intakes would feed air into the radiators.
The Corvette GTP made its racing debut in 1984 at the Grand Prix of Miami running under the Racing Systems team name and wearing a mostly all-white paint scheme. The car started in 29th place and finished in 13th overall. The car raced only two more times that season, failing to finish at Riverside and taking another 13th place at Sears Point.
The second car was given to Lee Racing for the 1985 season and made its racing debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona. After suffering gearbox problems, the car was forced to retire. Its next race was at Miami where it finished seventh, following by another failure to finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring. This was following by DNF's at Charlotte, Mid-Ohio, and Watkins Glen. The NASCAR team of Hendrick Motorsports took over the former Racing Systems car for the Road America race and became the factory-backed team with GM Goodwrench sponsorship. Their driver was David Hoobs. Unfortunately, the team was not able to finish any races by the end of the season. Lee Racing did manage to score an eight place finish at the second race at Watkins Glen and then tenth at the Daytona season finale.
Lee Racing and Henrick Motorsports entered the 1986 season with mixed results. Both teams failed to finish the first three races of the season. The first victory came at Road Atlanta for Doc Bundy and Sarel van der Merwe. By this point, Lee racing had abandoned their racing effort, leaving Hendrick to continue on as the sold Corvette GTP team. Hendrick racing finished seventh at Lime Rock and a third at Mid-Ohio. Another victory was scored on the streets of Palm Beach, outpacing a Porsche 962 by less than a second. At Watkins Glen, the car failed to finish. The next race was at Portland where it finished in eight.
By the Sears Point race, Hendrick Motorsports had purchased Lee Racing's former chassis and began a two-car campaign. By the end of the season, Hendrick was in third place in the constructors championship.
For the 1987 season, Hendrick failed to finish the first three races. The first race they were able to finish was at Laguna Seca, the sixth round of the season, earning a second place finish. A third and eleventh for the two car team was earned at Mid-Ohio. They finished fourth and seventh at Portland, followed by a third place finish at Sears Point. Another third place was earned at San Antonio before Hendrick closed the season with a series of problems. The team would finish the season in second place.
By 1988, the team had worked out most of its mechanical issues and the teething problems had made the Corvette GTP cars a more consistent competitor. An eight place finish at Road Atlanta was followed by a seventh at Lime Rock and Mid-Ohio. This was followed by a third at Watkins Glen, a tenth at Road American, ad a ninth at Sears Point, before the Hendrick team joined the new Peerless racing squad, using the newest Corvette GTP chassis. Peerless took a fourth place at Columbus, followed closely behind by Hendrick in fifth. Hendrick finished the season with a fifth at Del Mar. Chevrolet managed to finish fourth in championship.
After the 1988 season, Chevrolet canceled their funding and Hendrick Motorsports left the IMSA GT competition. Peerless Racing attempt to continue for 1989, but a series of accidents meant they failed to finish any of the races they entered.By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2011