The C4 Corvette, also known as the fourth generation Corvette, as we all know, was introduced in 1984 and produced until 1996. It was a significant departure from the third-generation Corvette, with a new body design, modernized suspension, and new engine options. See more info on that information here. The C4 Corvette became a popular platform for racing, particularly in endurance events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
24 Hours of Le Mans
One of the most significant early successes for the C4 Corvette in racing was at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1984. A pair of C4 Corvettes, entered by John Greenwood and driven by a team including Corvette engineer John Heinrich, finished 11th and 13th overall. This marked the first time that American cars had finished in the top 20 at Le Mans in a decade.
In the years that followed, the C4 Corvette became a regular competitor in endurance racing, including events like the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and as mentioned above, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car was particularly successful in the IMSA GT Championship in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1988, a C4 Corvette driven by Tommy Morrison and Doug Rippie won the GT1 class at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
Th C4 Corvette competed in the SCCA World Challenge series, where it won multiple championships in the GTS class.
One of the most notable achievements was its domination of the SCCA Escort World Challenge in the early 1990s. The Corvette won the championship for four consecutive years, from 1990 to 1993, with drivers such as Tommy Morrison, John Heinrich, and Stu Hayner behind the wheel.
In the IMSA GTO class, the C4 Corvette also achieved significant success. In 1985, the car won the GTO Manufacturers Championship, and in 1988, the C4 Corvette driven by Tommy Kendall won the GTO Drivers Championship.
Drag racing history
Here are some notable moments in C4 Corvette drag racing history:
- In 1988, a specially-prepared C4 Corvette named the “Callaway Sledgehammer” set a new top speed record for a street-legal car by reaching 254.76 mph on a test track in Ohio. The car was powered by a twin-turbocharged 5.7-liter V8 engine that produced 898 horsepower.
- In 1990, a C4 Corvette ZR-1 set a new world record for the standing mile by reaching a speed of 176.884 mph. The car was modified by tuner John Lingenfelter, who increased the engine’s output to over 700 horsepower.
- In the early 1990s, the C4 Corvette was a popular choice for drag racers in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro Stock class. Notable drivers included Warren Johnson, who won multiple championships with a C4 Corvette, and Jerry Eckman, who set a national record in 1992 with a C4 Corvette that ran the quarter-mile in 7.347 seconds at 187.21 mph.
- In 1994, a C4 Corvette driven by John Lingenfelter set a new world record for the quarter-mile by running a time of 7.45 seconds at 187.23 mph. The car was powered by a modified version of the Corvette’s LT1 engine that produced over 1,000 horsepower.
- In the late 1990s, the C4 Corvette remained a popular choice for drag racers in various classes. Notable drivers included Jim Yates, who won multiple NHRA Pro Stock championships with a C4 Corvette, and Doug Mangrum, who set a world record for the quarter-mile in 1999 with a C4 Corvette that ran 6.914 seconds at 198.90 mph.
Overall, the C4 Corvette’s racing history is a testament to the car’s performance capabilities and versatility. From endurance racing to drag racing, the C4 Corvette proved itself to be a competitive and capable platform in a variety of motor sport disciplines.
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