The Two Lives of a Monster Corvette Race Car: A Chronicle of #88 Corvette by Jan Hyde of the Registry of Corvette Race Cars
In the world of motorsport, the stories of race cars often mirror the lives of the drivers who command them – filled with triumphs, challenges, and unexpected turns. The narrative of the #88 Corvette, an iconic racing machine, unfolds as a captivating tale of resilience and transformation. It all began amidst the gleaming machines and passionate enthusiasts at Hagerty’s third annual Greenwich Concours on that memorable day on June 3, 2023. Michael Lindgren, a fellow car enthusiast, unveiled a car with a remarkable history, claiming it to be one of only two built in 1970 by Jim Hall’s legendary Chaparral team, supported by Chevrolet following Roger Penske’s departure for greener pastures. Little did anyone know that this Corvette, sporting the #88, would go on to traverse continents and eras, racing alongside legends, facing controversy at Le Mans, and experiencing rebirths that defied the odds. Join us as we dive into “The Two Lives of a Monster Corvette Race Car,” a tale that transcends time and brings to life the indomitable spirit of a racing legend, as penned by Jan Hyde of the Registry of Corvette Race Cars.
It all started when I spotted this # 88 racing Camaro on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at Hagerty’s third annual Greenwich Concours.
Michael Lindgren displayed this car, a fellow Chowderhead who claims it is one of two built in 1970 by Jim Hall’s famed Chaparral team, backed by Chevrolet in the wake of Roger Penske’s flight to AMC for more dough.
Maurice “Mo” Carter, a Canadian standout, went on to race this Camaro in Trans Am and IMSA. Carter also teamed up to drive Corvettes with legends John Greenwood and Tony DeLorenzo at Daytona and Sebring.
However, the incident that sticks out in my mind erupted during the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1980. Carter was looking after the monstrous 1978 Corvette of fellow Canadians Doug Rowe, Bill Adam, and Jacques Bienvenue, bearing his signature # 88. A mere provocation, it was not!
Word has it that during scrutineering, Carter verbally attacked an official about his German nationality, leading to the Corvette’s ouster. The record simply states that the car did not qualify.
Some thirty-four years later, the ex-Doug Rowe #88 Corvette showed up with a French team at the inaugural 2014 HSR Classic 24 at Daytona.
Car owner Eric Roturier enlisted Patrick Caldenty and his crew to manage the operation. The drivers were ex-F1 pilot Jean-Marc Gounon and his son Jules, a rising star.
This beast now sported a rear wing and other upgrades but dropped out early.
In 2015, they survived all four sessions to win their class thanks to a near miracle if you check out the chewed-up tires. Ride along here: https://www.facebook.com/HSRrace/videos/1078347249000038/
The years to follow were not so forgiving. In 2017, it was a broken half-shaft. In 2018, Pro Racer Jordan Taylor was at the wheel when the clutch failed halfway through the first session. Replacement requires an engine removal and a huge amount of work, which ended their day.
In 2019, French driver Jim Pla finished a credible fifth in the IMSA/Trans Am class at the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion at Laguna Seca Raceway.
The HSR Daytona 24, which drew teams from nineteen different countries, is only a shadow of itself since the pandemic. Now owned by IMSA, there is reason to hope for its revival.
Photos thanks to Bruce Stewart, Christian Vignon, Dave Ferguson, Larry Van Scoy, John Avery, Mike Matune
In closing, the story of the #88 Corvette takes us on a thrilling journey through the annals of motorsport history, reminding us that race cars, much like their drivers, possess unique and enduring stories. Jan Hyde’s meticulous account, shared here from the Registry of Corvette Race Cars, offers a glimpse into the heart of this remarkable Corvette’s two lives.
If you’ve enjoyed this journey through the world of Corvette racing, you’ll be delighted to know that Jan Hyde pens a monthly column titled “Keepin’ Track of Corvette Racing.” This column dives deep into the world of Corvettes that participate in various racing series, keeping you updated on the latest developments in Corvette racing. To stay connected with the pulse of Corvette racing and immerse yourself in the latest Corvette news, we encourage you to Subscribe to Vette Vues Magazine so you can enjoy Jan Hyde’s column.
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As we bring this story to a close, we invite you to continue your journey through the exciting world of Corvettes, where history and innovation meet on the race track. Subscribe and gear up with Vette Vues to make your Corvette experience even more unforgettable.