24 Hours of LeMans Commemorative Edition
One of the world’s greatest endurance tests of man and machine began May 26, 1923. A century later, the 24 hours of LeMans is still considered the Holy Grail of racing. The flagship race of the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship (since 2012) celebrates its 100-year anniversary this June. Revered around the globe, the 24 hours of LeMans is one of the world’s oldest motor races. The legendary track in Northern France has served as hallowed testing ground for a multitude of technological advancements in the motor industry. This ultimate test of physical and mechanical fortitude has created legendary cars as well as drivers.
The road to LeMans wins proved quite difficult for Corvette in the beginning. Endurance racing is a whole other beast that can intimidate even the greatest competitors. For Corvette Racing, the journey included multiple failures before a win was achieved. Keeping a car competitive for 24 hours straight is an absolute test of machine, drivers, and crew. The C5 was just the solution Corvette Racing needed to capture the checkered flag.
The Corvette Z06 was designed to be a racing machine. Without a roaring introduction, the Regular Production Option Z06 was sold covertly to customers as an option package for the C2 1963 and 1964 coupes. During the 1950s, the Automobile Manufacturers Association prohibited companies from participating in racing activities. General Motors was a stickler to the rule, but they still wanted to keep their racing customers happy.
The Regular Production Option Z06 offered enhanced handling and braking that could only be ordered on a C2 coupe equipped with a fuel-injected engine, four-speed transmission and Positraction. The public was unaware the package existed but through word-of-mouth, serious racers spread the word and started transitioning their Corvettes. This new package kept Corvette competitive against the newly introduced Shelby Cobra.
The Z06 didn’t receive its own model until 2001. The Fixed Roof Coupe had been introduced in 1999 and sales were not as stellar as Corvette hoped. The FRC was 12 percent stiffer than its targa sibling and almost 80 pounds lighter without the trimmings of the Coupe and Corvette. The Fixed Roof Coupe’s destiny was ultimately the racetrack.
Therefore, in 2001, the Z06 model was introduced with a roaring LS6 - 385 horsepower V8, thinner front/rear glass, titanium mufflers and weighed in at a lightweight 3126 pounds. The new Fixed Roof Coupe body style was exactly what Corvette needed to boost sales. In fact, the re-styling was so successful, sales jumped from 2,090 units in 2000 to 8,297 units in 2001. The racing legend was re-born.
Now you can own a part of Corvette racing history. For the C5 Corvette’s grand exit, Chevrolet offered an optional Commemorative Edition to celebrate Corvette Racing’s back-to-back class victories at the 24 Hours of Lemans. The C5-R won its LeMan’s class in 2001, 2002 and again in 2004.
Our St. Louis showroom offers #90 of the 2,025 LeMans special edition Z06s that were released. This highly collectible corvette features the special LeMans Blue Metallic paint complete with the optional wide silver and red stripes. The owner added custom light blue airbrushed flames over the stripes and renamed the Z06 the Blue Devil.
The hood is the original commemorative edition carbon fiber and the interior is limited color - shale leather with commemorative badging sewn on the upholstery. The owner customized the Blue Devil Z06 with custom Asanti rims and Lamborghini doors. This devilish beauty was featured on the front cover of the April 2017 Regional Rides Magazine-Northwest Indiana.
Powering this demon is a 5.7 liter, LS1 V8 engine capable of putting out 405 horsepower with 405 lb-ft of torque pair
ed with a 6-speed manual transmission. The Z06 also features a larger air intake, modified mass airflow sensor, lighter (sodium filled) valves and a camshaft with higher lift and duration. Still impressive today, the Blue Devil Z06 can go an impressive 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds or a quarter mile in 12.4 seconds at 116 mph. Not bad for a street legal car with the heart of a racecar.
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