by Rick Tavel 2-27-13
As you probably know by now, Peterson Automotive Museum is hosting a terrific tribute to the Corvette this weekend in honor of America’s sports car’s 60th Anniversary. Hundreds of Corvettes, several distinctive and historically important, will be exhibited at arguably the finest automobile museum in the country. The West Coast unveiling of the new C7 which will take place on Friday and Saturday surrounded by historic examples from every generation, like the 1953 ?world’s oldest Corvette?, a beautiful 1963 Grand Sport, the world’s fastest production car in the early 1980′s – the legendary C3 ?Sundowner? Stingray, and C4 Callaway Corvettes.
But if you have a severe ?need for speed? and competition Corvettes gets your adrenaline flowing, you need to put it in gear and get to the Peterson Museum this weekend where you can hear a panel discussion by legendary race car drivers Dick Guldstand, Tony DeLorenzo, Doug Hooper, Bill Krause and Paul Reinhart on Saturday at 2 PM. Attendees will also be able to inspect the winning American LeMans Series C6R Corvette and meet Tommy Milner, winner of the GT Drivers Championship.
Known as the ?Corvette Wizzard? Doug Hooper won several races at the wheel of the Corvette, perhaps none more exciting than the ?Times Grand Prix? when he drove Mickey Thompson’s new Z06 Sting Ray to victory at Riverside in 1962 and showcased the Corvette as a world class race car. Zora Arkus-Duntov selected Hooper and Bill Krause to test and co-drive his new Grand Sport Corvette at LeMans in June of 1963. Hooper is also a member of the National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame.
Most Corvette enthusiasts will recognize Corvette Hall of Famer Tony DeLorenzo as the driver of the number 12 Owens-Corning 1968 Corvette the ?winningest Corvette in history?. DeLorenzo and Jerry Thompson were the primary team drivers of the Owens-Corning L88 Corvette that won 22 of 22 SCCA/FIA National Events during 1969-1971. Recently the car was purchased for $1 million by Rick Hendricks at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction.
Perhaps none are more legendary than ?Mr. Corvette? Dick Guldstrand. Though Guldstrand has now retired from actively competing he spends his time promoting the car that led to his nickname of ?Mr. Corvette?. A member of the National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame, Guldstrand managed to parlay his ability as a race driver into a career focused on development and racing the Corvette. His impressive racing career included several SCCA championships, three consecutive Pacific Coast championships (1963-1965), winning the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona GT class division for Roger Penske in a C3 powered by the awesome L88 engine, and winning the 1967 24 hours of LeMans GT class. As owner of Guldstrand Engineering, Inc. his performance engineering abilities resulted in several C3 and C4 race wins and in the mid 1980′s he set track records at Mid-Ohio at Willow Springs. With the introduction of the C5 and C6 generations, Guldstrand has continued to enhance, refine and promote the Corvette.
Paul Reinhart began racing Corvettes in Northern California in the late ’50s. By the early part of the decade he was one of the top Corvette drivers. 1962, he won the Pacific Coast B-Production championship. He restored, and continues to vintage-race, his Union Oil 76 ’57 Corvette.
Bill Krause was a successful west coast modified racer and had racked up several victories in European sports cars like the Jaguar and Maserati. He was the first driver to race a factory Cobra for Carroll Shelby. In the 1962 Riverside Grand Prix his performance in the only Cobra on the track so impressed Zora Arkus-Duntov that he selected him to co-drive his new Corvette Grand Sport at LeMans in 1963.
Visitors to the museum will also get the chance to view the famous yellow C6.R racing Corvette and meet Tommy Milner the driver. As most Corvette enthusiasts know, Chevrolet’s Corvette Racing team won the production-based GT class in the 2012 American Le Mans Series with four victories and twelve podium finishes. During the season the Corvette also achieved two pole positions and five fastest race laps. In addition Corvette Racing also captured the team title and Chevrolet capturing the manufacturer championship.
The Peterson Museum will exhibit the impressive, race-winning Corvette C6.R race car, the most technically innovative sports car ever developed by GM. The car features a state of the art chassis engine and styling. Though a completely developed race car, the C6.R shares a strong resemblance to the production C6 Corvette Z06 and ZR1 which is required by the ALMS and Le Mans rules that stipulate close adherence to production specifications. The race-prepared LS5.5R engine shares its architecture with the production 505-horsepower LS7 small-block V-8 that powers the Corvette Z06.
Along with the championship car, Tommy Milner, driver, will be present. Milner and co-driver Oliver Gavin won the GT Drivers Championship in the number 4 C6.R Corvette. Milner joined Corvette Racing in 2011 as a full-season driver in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R. He won the GTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with co-drivers Olivier Beretta and Antonio Garcia. The son of team owner Tom Milner, he has competed in both formula and sports car series.
So if you love Corvettes, plan on spending a day or two at Peterson’s Automotive Museum this Friday and Saturday and treat yourself to immersing yourself in ?everything Corvette?. The museum is located in Los Angeles at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard.