Bill Tower’s Sebring 2019 Corvette Racing Seminar, Pt 2

In the summer of 2018 a camouflaged C8.R was seen after the IMSA race at Wisconsin’s Road America. There was some speculation that this was an indication that the C8 would be debuted soon as a 2019 model and that we would see the C8.R for the 2019 racing season.

Tantalizing indeed, but it never happened. Instead, we are seeing the allegedly aging C7.R holding 2nd place, despite IMSA’s onerous Balance of Power (BoP) restrictions. Is IMSA trying to make sure the Corvette Racing Team doesn’t win another championship? Of course, they would deny that, but it sure looks that way.

This is what Gary and Robin Pratt, and the rest of the Corvette Racing Team are up against. Let’s continue our conversation from Bill Tower’s 2019 Corvette Racing Seminar at Sebring International Raceway on Friday March 15, 2019. Read More

Bill Tower’s Sebring 2019 Corvette Racing Seminar, Pt 1

An extraordinary thing happened last year for the Corvette Racing Team. Road Atlanta was the final race of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship season and it was a real nail-biter. Antonio Garcia is an outstanding team driver, very methodical, technical, and rarely makes mistakes. But mistakes happen. The team and spectators were shocked when Garcia’s No. 3 C7.R smacked the wall. It wasn’t a bad crash and Garcia was able to drive into the pits.

The Corvette Racing pit team is arguably the best. In five-minutes and 36-seconds the pit crew replaced the front fender, nose, and engine floor; and sent Garcia back out on the track in the hunt for another championship. When the checkered flag came down, the Corvette Racing Team won its 13th IMSA Team Championship and 12th Driver Championship in 20 years of racing! And here’s the kicker; for the 2018 racing season, the Corvette Racing Team did not come in 1st place in a single race.

How could that happen? Modern factory-backed racing is a team sport; it’s all about teamwork; as tight, efficient, and professional as any other team professional sports team. In October 2018 in the days after the Road Atlanta success, Bill Tower and I were talking about a theme for his 2019 Corvette Racing History Seminar on the Friday of the 2019 12 Hours of Sebring event. I said, “Bill, the Corvette Racing Team just won its 13 Championship in 20 years without winning a single race. Do you know anyone at Pratt & Miller that would be willing to talk about the team’s amazing 20 years of racing?” Bill responded, “Sure, I know Gary Pratt, I’ll call him to see if he’d like to be our guest.” And that’s how the event got started. But it got even better. Not only was Gary Pratt willing to be a guest speaker, Bill got Gary’s wife Robin Pratt (the Mama Bear of the team) and Ron Fellows. What’a score! Read More

Bill Tower’s 40th Anniversary of Grand Sport #005 Ownership Celebration – VIDEOS

Milestone dates only happen once. In September 2018 I was talking with former Corvette development engineers Bill Tower and said to him, “Bill, do you realize that this December it will be 40 years since you bought your Grand Sport?” Bill sputtered a little and said, “Oh man, now you’re really making me feel old!” I said, “Ain’t we all, Bill!” and we both had a good laugh. Then I said, “You should have a party, or something, Bill.”

Bill thought about it and contacted his friend, Steve Hurley, owner of Stingray Chevrolet (a GREAT name for a Chevy dealership!), and Steve said, “Let’s do it here at the dealership. The 25-foot Christmas tree will be up and we’ll make it great!” Read More


1963 Grand Sport Corvette #005 Bench Racing With Corvette Engineer Bill Tower – VIDEO

Bill is a living encyclopedia of Chevrolet and Corvette R&D experience and can keep an audience enthralled with insider stories about the early days of secret performance Corvette design and development. After attending General Motors Institute (GMI) in the early 1960s, Bill was hired by Chevrolet and landed a peach of a job (abet a LOT of work!) as a Development Engineer in the Corvette Design Group.

Tower worked with, and, or knew all of the key people within the world of Corvette R&D. Needless to say, Bill has stacks of stories, insights, and understandings into what went down during the wild days with Duntov and the team. Tower was also pals with race car driver/engineer, Mark Donohue and NASCAR legend, Smokey Yunick. Read More


Vintage Grand Sport Corvette Films from 1962 and 1963 – 2 VIDEOS

Last week while finishing up a story about Bill Tower’s Grand Sport #005 Corvette for Vette Magazine, I came across two YouTube videos posted by GM Heritage Center. The videos are silent and were probably shot with an 8mm camera that someone brought along to the events. The film looks like hand-held and amateurish and not at all the same quality of the Jam Handy films from that era. But, you do get to see the Grand Sports in action. Read More


John & Patti Hutchinson’s 1996 & 2017 Grand Sport Twins

Question: What’s better than a Grand Sport? Answer: TWO Grand Sports Special Edition Corvettes are a fun part of the Corvette hobby. Production numbers for this group vary widely from as low as 20, 2009 Competition Edition Z06 cars to a staggering 11,632, 2004 Commemorative Edition coupes, convertibles, and Z06 cars. Chevrolet only made 1,000… Read More


The December 2017 Vette of the Month Contest Winner is…

John and Patti Hutchinson, of Orlando, Florida, and owners of The Grand Sport Registry (www.GrandSportRegistry.com), are the winners of Corvette Report’s first “Vette of the Month” photo contest with their Grand Sport Twins!

Since John and Patti Hutchinson already owned a 1996 Grand Sport, it was just too tempting! They HAD TO get a a 2017 Grand Sport Convertible, in Admiral Blue with red fender hash marks! What’a pair of Grand Sports! BRAVISSIMO to the Hutchinsons! More to come in the March issue of Vette Vues Magazine. Read More


Corvette “Timeline Tales” Nov. 16, 1956: One magnesium-bodied XP-64 (Corvette SS) would be built for the 1957 12 Hours of Sebring race

The 1957 Corvette SS Racer’s exotic body turned out to be the hot ticket to failure! Dateline: 11.16.17 (VIDEO BELOW!) – This was such a heady time! Corvettes were starting to do well in racing and the Fuelie was about to go into production. Chevy general manager Ed Cole gave Duntov the green light to… Read More

A Scale Visions Birthday Tribute to Zora Arkus Duntov

Zora Arkus-Duntov was born on December 25, 1909 and would have been 103. Zora often joked that he had the birthday curse being born on Christmas Day. When you are a kid and your birthday is on Christmas you tend to not get double gifts. But Duntov made up for any toy deficiency as a child after he took over the Corvette program. Arguably, no one had more fun playing with Corvettes inside Chevrolet than Duntov. Not only did he design and develop the go-fast parts we all came to know and love, but he usually did his own track testing. What’a lucky guy! Here’s our Happy Birthday tribute to Zora Arkus-Duntov and a big THANKS to Don Theune. Read More


Corvette Timeline Tales: January 10, 1999 – Two C5-R Corvette race cars start testing for the 1999 24 Hours of Daytona – 2 VIDEOS

The Chevrolet-backed Corvette Racing Team starts its 20th racing season this month and has consistently raced longer than any other team in IMSA history. But it all started today in 1999! Dateline: 1.10.18, Images: AutoWeek & illustration by K. Scott Teeters – Now that the holidays are behind us, it’s time to get focused on… Read More

Mako Shark Attack Week!!! The Running 1966 Mako Shark-II

Even though the new production Corvette would use the existing frame, suspension, engine/transmission, and drive train from the then-current Sting Ray, getting everything to fit within an even tighter package was a major challenge. There were issues with front and rear bumper requirements, headlight height and configuration, interior ergonomics, and forward visibility of those gorgeous front fender humps. Getting the design right, plus making all of the parts for tooling was impossible to accomplish in one year for the new design to be a ‘67 model. It’s surprising to me that GM’s upper management couldn’t see that. Another year was added to the development schedule and in retrospect, it should have been two years. Read More