Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Act Designating Corvette as the Official State Sports Car of Kentucky Signed by Governor

Kentucky can now add one more item to its list of state “symbols”… the Corvette. April 26, 2010 Governor Steve Beshear signed House Bill 104 - an act designating the Corvette as the official state sports car of Kentucky.

“Since 1953, the Corvette has been considered America’s sports car. As home to the Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Kentuckians have long considered the Corvette to be Kentucky’s sports car and a great symbol of Kentucky pride and craftsmanship. House Bill 104, which was passed during the 2010 General Assembly, now makes that designation official. It was with great pleasure that I signed HB 104 into law,” said Governor Beshear.

A companion bill (Senate Bill 111) was first introduced by State Senator Mike Reynolds, D-Bowling Green in January. “Bowling Green is becoming more of a tourist destination. The National Corvette Museum is a major part of that and is a definite drawing card for the traveling public. Drawing attention to our community and the Corvette’s unique role in our American heritage can only boost economic development for our area,” said Reynolds.

Representative Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, is the primary sponsor of HB 104. “I am pleased that we were able to move this legislation during the late hours of the session,” Senator Reynolds said. “I want to commend my colleague, Rep. Jody Richards, for his hard work on pushing this bill in the House.”

Bowling Green, Kentucky is home to both the General Motors Corvette Assembly Plant (the only place in the world Corvettes have been manufactured since 1981) and the National Corvette Museum, a non-profit foundation with a mission of celebrating the invention of the Corvette and preserving its past, present and future since 1994.
"With the Chevrolet Corvette being one of the most recognizable symbols of Kentucky, it only makes sense for the car to be designated as the state's official sports car.

Many people who think of Kentucky, think of Corvette. Our workforce is proud to have been building the Corvette in Bowling Green for almost 29 years," said GM Bowling Green Assembly Plant Manager Bob Parcell.

The act reads as follows:
AN ACT designating the Corvette as the official state sports car of Kentucky.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:
The Corvette is named and designated the official state sports car of Kentucky.

A ceremonial signing of the act is planned to take place this summer in Bowling Green.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Race Fans Can Register to Win a Corvette Through June 30

Grand Prize: 2011 Chevrolet Corvette, Trip to Le Mans

To help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Corvette’s first appearance at the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans, race fans can enter for a chance to win a 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport by entering the “Race To Win Corvette” promotion at www.racetowincorvette.com now through June 30, 2010.

One Grand Prize Winner will receive a 2011 Corvette Grand Sport, and a trip to Le Mans, France, for the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans. Corvette made its Le Mans debut in 1960, finishing first in the large displacement GT class and eighth overall.

“This is an exciting opportunity for race fans to win one of the most iconic sports cars ever produced, and watch Corvette compete in the oldest and most famous endurance race in the world,” said Terry Dolan, Manager Chevy Racing. “Team Chevy is proud to team up with our Corvette Racing partners – American Le Mans Series, AutoWeek, Compuware, Michelin, Mobil 1 and PRS Guitars – to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Corvette’s first appearance at Le Mans.”

No purchase necessary. See official rules for details at www.racetowincorvette.com.

Chevrolet is one of America’s best-known and best-selling automotive brands, and one of the fastest growing brands in the world. With fuel solutions that range from “gas-friendly to gas-free,” Chevrolet has nine models that offer an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway, and offers two hybrid models. More than 2.5 million Chevrolets that run on E85 biofuel have been sold. Chevrolet delivers expressive design, spirited performance and strives to provide the best value in every segment in which it competes. More information can be found at www.chevrolet.com. For more information on the Volt, visit http://archives.media.gm.com/volt.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tom Wallace Joins the Corvette Museum Motorsports Park Team

The dream of an educational and recreational track at the National Corvette Museum shifts into high gear

Tom Wallace knows Corvettes. As a former Vehicle Line Executive for General Motors and Corvette Chief Engineer, he was at the wheel when the ZR1 Corvette was born, giving the world a 638 horsepower, 200+ mph, American-made super-car. Today, he's working on a new chapter of motorsports history and teaming up with the National Corvette Museum to promote and develop a 400-acre Motorsports Park.

The proposed Motorsports Park (not just for Corvettes) is being designed with the help of Pratt/Miller Engineering who is the company behind the ALMS Championship winning Corvette Racing team. Once their conceptual design is fine-tuned by a professional track designer, this track will be the only one in the world where professional and amateur drivers of all makes of cars and motorcycles can experience many of the signature features of the LeMans road course. Along with the track, (which can be reconfigured into four different courses) there will be an autocross/skid pad area, a drag strip and a karting track, allowing for everything from teen driver safety training to a wide variety of motorsports applications and events.

“What makes Tom an ideal member of the team,” says Wendell Strode, Executive Director of the Museum, “is that he is also a race car driver. Because of that, he knows what makes a track challenging for drivers and he understands what features would make it useful as a testing facility for race teams and manufacturers. In addition to that, Tom is a driving instructor so he understands the track’s importance as an educational facility for people of all skill levels. We are thrilled to have him on board with us.”

Tom's experience in racing goes back to his college days and includes drag racing, autocross, IMSA, Sebring 12 hour, Daytona 24 hour, SCCA Road Racing in GT1 (including several trips to the SCCA National Championship Runoffs) and Waterford Hills Road Racing. Today he is still very active in motorsports, along with his two sons.

Tom is enthusiastic about the project and looking forward to being involved. His first focus will be on fundraising, corporate sponsorships and planning for track operation.
“Since before my retirement in 2009, I have thought that a Motorsports Park at the Museum would raise the whole Corvette community to another level,” Tom said. “Initially, I’ll be working with Tom Blair in pursuing sponsors for the project. Tom (Blair) is an outstanding businessman and researcher and a good strategist of visionary business models.”

“What I’ll bring is my perspective as a racer. I know what makes a track great. I understand wheel to wheel, autocrossing, drag racing and karting. My background has given me insight into how different market segments will want to use this complex for competitive events, practice and educational purposes. I know a lot about driving and what drives people to want to get on a track. This will be the ideal facility for all kinds of applications, and a great place to showcase America’s sports car.”

For more information on the National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park project, visit http://www.motorsportspark.org.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rare and Prototype 4th Generation Corvettes to Be Displayed at Upcoming Event

Rare cars, good times and fast fun are expected at the National Corvette Museum's C4/ZR-1 Gathering

May 13-15 will bring a rare opportunity to see some of the best fourth generation Corvettes around. The National Corvette Museum will host the annual C4/ZR-1 Gathering and on site will be several ground-breaking and record-shattering Corvettes that were responsible for taking the marque back to supercar status. Among them are four prototypes that escaped GM’s destruction orders for test vehicles, including a 1988 (known as Queenie), the 1989 DRM ZR-1, and the 1989 ZR-1 prototype that was recently sold at Barrett-Jackson. Two 1990 Lingenfelters in the 600 hp range will be present, as well as one of only two Aerobody Lingenfelters in existence. Also making an appearance will be the car that broke the 24-hour World Speed Record in 1990 and the members of the team responsible for this historic achievement, including Tommy Morrison, John Heinricy and Jim Minneker.

This collection of C4 Corvettes will be one of the most impressive exhibited in one place. Included in the 24 car special-exhibit will be the Corvette that introduced the ZR-1 to the world as well as the last ZR-1 to roll off of the assembly line and many significant models in between.

Along with the Fourth-Generation ZR-1 Corvettes, a very rare 1970 ZR-1 will be on display, too. One of only 25 made, this track-inspired C3 is another example of Corvette’s early connection to racing.

Seminars and clinics during the three-day event will cover drag racing fundamentals, detailing, diagnosing and maintenance tips along with informative presentations from C4 Corvette Chief Engineer Dave McLellan and some of the others responsible for creating this car.

While the event focuses on the C4 Corvette, the 2011 Z06 Carbon Corvette will also be on site for fans to look over during a “walk around” with GM staff.

Former Corvette Test Engineer and 2010 Corvette Hall of Fame Inductee Jim Ingles will lead participants on a road tour to nearby Hopkinsville, Kentucky for a tour of a Dana Corporation Plant. The facility manufactures Corvette frame rails and the Z06 frame. Included with the tour are guides explaining the various production steps and lunch will be served at the plant. Additional event activities include drag racing, a car show, auction, autocross, scavenger hunt and road trips that will take drivers over the same routes the GM uses to test the handling of Corvettes. For a more detailed agenda and registration information, visit http://www.corvettemuseum.com/registration/gathering/info.shtml.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Governor Beshear Attends Opening of Educational Driving Simulator Theatre

National Corvette Museum visitors to experience realistic driving scenarios virtually

Gov. Steve Beshear today joined local and National Corvette Museum officials to open the educational driving simulator theater—a learning tool designed to instruct visitors on realistic driving situations.

“We cannot stress the importance of responsible driving enough,” Gov. Beshear said. “These simulators can teach drivers how to correct mistakes virtually, within a safe environment without the potential consequences of actual crashes. I applaud the Corvette Museum for taking the lead on this safety priority.”

The one-of-a-kind theatre features numerous widescreen televisions and two driving simulators within stationary automobiles, to give the driver lifelike effects of the road. The simulators also feature the highest quality graphics and surround sound.

“The simulators will not only enhance a visitor’s experience at the National Corvette Museum, but also result in having better educated drivers on Kentucky’s roads, making them safer for everyone,” said Wendell Strode, executive director of the National Corvette Museum.

Realistic driving scenarios play out on simulated highways in urban and rural settings and in different weather conditions. As drivers maneuver the simulator, they will feel tension on the steering wheel; feel the car react to the road surface; and hear highway and vehicle sounds. The experience will include a variety of common driving tasks, taking drivers through situations involving some of the most prevalent factors in highway crashes. Visitors 16 or older to the museum in Bowling Green can participate in this educational experience.

“The National Corvette Museum continues to be a great tourist attraction for the Bowling Green area,” Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Sparrow said. “The addition of the driving simulator theater makes this museum an even better attraction.”

“The National Corvette Museum has been a mainstay of our community for years, and we’re proud to support its growth and its announcement today. We congratulate and thank the Museum for bringing two simulators, which will promote safe driving, to South Central Kentucky,” said Warren County Judge Executive Michael Buchanon.

The Corvette museum received a $198,000 Transportation Enhancement award in 2007 to fund the project.

"This celebration today represents the forward-thinking nature of our community, the "Home of the Corvette." We're proud to be the home to two driving simulators at the National Corvette Museum, and we congratulate the Museum on their additions to their facility," said Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker.

“The simulator theater is an excellent educational addition to the National Corvette Museum as it offers a hands-on driver safety program to families and groups in a fun environment. With this being the only one of its kind in the area, it has the opportunity to make a difference in the safety of our highways as visitors and locals experience the consequences of their behavior under various driving conditions,” said Vicki Fitch, executive director of the Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

About the National Corvette Museum: The National Corvette Museum was established in 1994 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit foundation with a mission of celebrating the invention of the Corvette and preserving its past, present and future. The 115,000 sq. ft. facility is a popular tourist destination in Bowling Green, Kentucky with an ever-changing collection of historic Corvettes, interactive displays, rotating exhibits, a café, conference center and store. While located near the GM Assembly Plant, the National Corvette Museum is not supported by, or affiliated with the General Motors Corporation. For more information on the National Corvette Museum, please visit http://www.corvettemuseum.org.

About the Grant: Transportation Enhancements are transportation-related activities designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic, historic and environmental aspects of Kentucky’s transportation infrastructure. Federal funding is available to government agencies to provide support for transportation and community improvement projects. TE funding is administered by the Transportation Cabinet. Information about TE is available at http://www.tea21.ky.gov.

Lance Miller of Corvettes at Carlisle to Give Seminar at the National Corvette Museum's C5/C6 Bash

Seminar celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the first Corvette Le Mans win

Attendees to the National Corvette Museum’s C5/C6 Bash will get a special treat on May 1 as Lance Miller of Corvettes at Carlisle shares the story of the discovery and restoration of the first Corvette to win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, 50 years ago.

The 1960 Briggs Cunningham Corvette was driven to that first victory by the legendary duo of John Fitch and Bob Grossman, but despite its historical win, the Corvette was later converted into a street car and driven off into obscurity sometime in the 1960s. The car resurfaced just a few years ago, and when Chip Miller, founder of Corvettes at Carlisle, heard about it he acquired the car and began the process of restoring it. His dream was to bring it back to Le Mans, France in 2010 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its historic win there.

Sadly, Chip passed away before his dream could be realized, but his son Lance took on the project where his dad left off. “The plan is to have the 1960 Cunningham Corvette and one of the drivers, Mr. John Fitch, attend the 2010 Le Mans race in June,” said Lance. “My father wanted to make sure the car would be at the race for its 50th Reunion. Needless to say I'm going to make sure it happens with the help of a lot of great friends!”

General Motors is also honoring that win with the new Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition which will be at the National Corvette Museum’s C5/C6 Bash. A tribute to the anniversary of this great race, each car comes with race number graphics that reference the famous victory.

For Lance though, taking part in the 50th anniversary of the win is just one more thing he can do to honor his father and to bring attention to the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation. The foundation was formed to help spread awareness of amyloidosis and raise money for education and research.

There will be several other exciting and informative seminars at this year’s Bash event, including one featuring members of the Corvette Racing team. Program Manager Doug Fehan and championship driver Johnny O’Connell will be on hand to talk about the triumphs and challenges of GT racing during a special lunch for a limited number of participants.

For registered event attendees, GM will also be conducting “Ride and Drives” from Thursday through Saturday, (4/49-5/1) giving visitors a chance to get behind the wheel of a new Corvette, Camaro, Traverse, Equinox, Malibu and other vehicles from their product line. This will be a fun chance to get to know more about these cars from the people who make them.

In addition, scenic road tours are offered to see some of Kentucky and Tennessee’s other wonderful attractions, as well as digital scavenger hunts, autograph sessions, a Celebrity Car Show, silent auction, autocross, drag racing, dyno pulls, vendors and clinics that cover just about every aspect of the Corvette experience.

Attendees can find up-to-date event agendas and register online at: http://www.corvettemuseum.com/registration/c5_bash/info.shtml.