History/News/Commentary from K. Scott Teeters

CorvetteRaceCars.com – Registry – Feast Yourself on Corvette Race Cars!

Dateline: 8.15.11
Three guys with gasoline in their veins build a website that’s FOR CORVETTE RACE CAR LOVERS!
I’ll start this out with a bold statement. Had it not been for the effort of Zora Arkus-Duntov and his team of Corvette engineers making sure that Corvette racers had plenty of go-fast parts to race with, the Corvette probably never would have made it through the ‘60s. Look at what happened to the Ford Thunderbird. It takes took about three years to design and develop a new car back then, so simple arithmetic tells you that when the ‘55 T-Bird came out, Ford was already planning and working on the ‘58 4-seater Thunderbird. That’s how committed Ford was to their sports car – NOT.

Fortunately over at Chevrolet, passion, sex drive, and “gasoline in the veins” had the upper hand and today, beautifully restored Corvette race cars command tremendous amounts of cash when they go on the block. “PASSION” is what the website, “Registry of Corvette Race Cars is all about. If you love open headers and the smell of rubber being laid down thanks to horsepower and torque, you’ll be like a “pig-in-poo” at this website.

www.RegistryOfCorvetteRaceCars.com is the place to go if you enjoy looking over Corvette race cars from the earliest days to today’s C6 Corvette racers. ROCR will be 10 years old next year. The enterprise began with two friends sharing information about Corvette race cars. Jim Gessner sent Jan Hyde a survey of C1 straight-axle Corvette racers. While info is great, how do you share it and keep it updated? A website! No one is born knowing how to make a website, so Jim and Jan had to start from scratch. Nearly 10 years later, Jan and Jim, along with help from their pal, Wayne Ellwood (former editor of Shark Quarterly magazine) ROCR now has over 1,000 race car entries and over 10,000 photos. That’s enough to keep you busy!

So, I’m going to say, “See ya!” and let Wayne Ellwood tell you about the rest of Registry of Corvette Race Cars. – Scott

Take it away, Wayne!

The Registry of Corvette Race Cars website has been around for a few years now. It has hit its stride and now attracts a consistent stream of visitors who want to find information on old race cars or contribute information on their own Corvette race car. The website was started by Jan Hyde (New York) and Jim Gessner (California) as an offshoot of their data collection for C1 and C2 corvettes.

As Jan Hyde tells it, he received an e-mail from a friend (Jim Gessner) in the summer of 2002 containing an a massive survey of straight axle (C1) race cars. He thought that Jan would enjoy it, knowing that Jan had previously owned a former SCCA BP National Championship car. However, in hardcopy, the survey was unwieldy to say the least. An electronic platform seemed like the best solution so others could share and add to it.  A website offered flexibility for pages on later models and more details, broadening the audience.  It would also be possible to manipulate data, add photos and adapt features as the internet evolved.

Ignoring the fact that neither of these two gentlemen had any experience with websites, it seemed to be both a logical evolution and an interesting project. Today the website has grown to over 1000 data entries and 10,000 photos contributed by both professional and amateur photographers.

Of course, this is not the only site that deals with Corvettes and Corvette race cars, so part of the strategy was to develop cooperative links with these other like-minded Corvette buffs. While you might expect this to be a hard sell, it turns out that the other web site operators were most cooperative. The newcomer was welcomed with open arms and there was considerable sharing of information and links. Each site had a unique perspective but each could gain something from the other.

Let me give you a brief synopsis of how you would access our data if you were to visit the site. Obviously you must first go through the normal “disclaimers” and “terms and conditions” section but once you click-through to two main part of the site, finding your favorite section is fairly easy (see home page diagram). The first part is the “roster”. This is a listing of the cars we have documented and it includes one photo with each data entry. The second section most frequently clicked-on  is the photo galleries, stored in Smugmug, and organized by race series. The other sections most frequently referenced are the galleries dedicated to the collections of individual contributing photographers and a section containing special one-off reviews of builders, tuners and other important topics.

It’s worth noting that the original concept emphasized “pro” racing series in the USA, Canada and Europe. Some active areas of “non-professional” racing just had to be ignored, based on the workload. However, Jan Hyde will quickly tell you that , in today’s world, no information resource can hope to make it without listening to, understanding and drawing on the community it serves. So while the project started-off with the goal of documenting “real” race cars with their full history, the whole vintage community is growing at leaps and bounds. This meant that the website had to be designed with a view to to its entertainment value, as well. A section for current vintage race photos was the logical outcome.

It has taken five years but the web site is beginning to mature. At the 1000 data entries mentioned above, it has probably managed to capture 60-70 % of the top “professional” cars. There is still some work to be done and the next logical step is to find new ways to represent the non-professional activities that are so common in every community. It’s a big job but someone has to do it.

One of the things that keeps the RCRC organizers feeling positive about their venture is the fact that they are getting such tremendous cooperation from other professionals.  Photographers, in particular, have been very helpful in providing the low-rez photos that are so critical to a visual enterprise, like this one. As Jan tells it, “We’ve had a lot of help from professional and amateur photographers who have shared their collections with us. We recognize their contribution to the overall visual nature of this project, so we created a special home page that recognizes and has contact info for these photographers.”

Other new initiatives will include special projects that will put the RCRC website out in the public eye. Jan and Jim have been quick to jump into the fray. One way to be visible is to associate yourself with other event organizers. The RCRC was active in last years Tribute to Corvette Racing, at the prestigious Petersen Automotive Museum. This year, the RCRC is actively involved in the promotion of a full house display of vintage racing Corvettes, simultaneous with the Chevrolet World Tribute (100th anniversary) at Road America, aug 18, 2011.

Jan says they will keep at it.  The partners in the project are a bit compulsive and love what they do.  Although it goes without saying that non-commercial websites like theirs will  always welcome support, both financial and expertise. So, if you think you have something to contribute, don’t hesitate to contact Jan at his email address —- jhyde@nyc.rr.com

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