Naturally Aspirated Z06 Resurrects Grand Sport Name

Chevrolet is aiming for the sweet spot between power and handling by resurrecting the Grand Sport moniker. It’s essentially a Z06 sans-supercharger, meaning it has the 460 horsepower LT1 V8 rather than the blown 650 hp of the Z06’s LT4. Or is it a Stingray with a wide body and a handling pack? Either way, it should slot between the base Stingray and premium Z06.

In 2010 Chevy introduced the Grand Sport for the C6 generation Corvette, which was the replacement for the Z51 package, AKA the base model’s track package. It was the same concept as the Grand Sport we see today; it had the suspension, brakes, tires, and wider fenders of the Z06, only it had the 430hp LS3 under the hood instead of the 505hp LS7. From 2010 until the C6’s demise in 2013, the Grand Sport was the best selling flavor of Corvette, so it’s no surprise that GM wants to try the formula again.

The 2017 Corvette Grand Sport will feature Michelin Super Sport tires, sized at 285/30ZR19 up front with 335/25ZR20 putting power down to the rears. The tires are wrapped around GS-exclusive 19X10 and 20X12 rims, front and rear respectively. Tucked behind the front wheels are 14 inch brake rotors and 6 piston calipers, the rear stopping power comes in the form of 13.4 in. rotors and 4 piston calipers. This is a pretty serious upgrade from the Stingray in terms of both contact patch and stopping power. Handling is supplemented with GM’s excellent magnetic suspension standard.

If you’re still looking for that extra edge, you can order your Grand Sport with the previously Z06-exclusive Z07 performance handling package, which will be a must have option for any weekend racers out there. The Z07 package includes stickier Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, carbon ceramic brake rotors, and an aggressive carbon fiber aero kit for improved downforce.

Power comes in the form of the now familiar LT1 6.2L V8. There doesn’t appear to be any changes from the LT1 found in the Stingray, other than the active exhaust and dry-sump lubrication now being standard equipment. The pushrod V8 is good for 460 horsepower at 6000 RPM and 465 lb-ft of torque at 4600 RPM. There’s nothing new with transmission options, with the 8 speed automatic and 7 speed manual as the two options.

The body is a dead ringer for the sheetmetal the Z06 wears. The fenders are bulged to fit the bigger tires, and the various vents used for cooling and heat extraction found on the Z06 are present on the Grand Sport. Hash stripes adorn the fenders of the special Heritage Edition models, with 6 optional colors, and the color chosen will be reflected in the interior with matching accents. Any paint color available on the Stingray will available on the Grand Sport.

So far the only claimed performance numbers are the 1.05 G’s of cornering the Grand Sport should be capable of, which escalates to 1.2g when the Z07 package is involved. Chief Corvette engineer Tadge Juechter has also stated that the Z07 equipped C7 Grand Sport was only a fraction of a second slower than the C6 ZR1 around GM’s 2.9 mile long Milford Proving Grounds test track. Considering the 178 horsepower disadvantage the Grand Sport is at, that looks very impressive on paper, it will be interesting to see how this new Corvette stacks up against other offerings in 2017.

There’s no official word on pricing as of this report. The base price of the 2016 Stingray is currently $55,400 USD and the ‘16 Z06 starts at $79,400 USD. The Grand Sport will almost definitely be priced somewhere in the middle, somewhere in the $65-70K-ish range sounds reasonable in my head, but keep in mind those numbers are just speculation on my part.

Chevy is saying that you’ll see the Grand Sport in American showrooms this summer, and the Europeans will get them this fall.

Photos Credit GM