The National Corvette Museum has announced the following inductees to be recognized as part of the 15th Annual Corvette Hall of Fame Ceremony in 2012: Gary Claudio in the category of GM/Chevrolet; Patrick Dolan in the category of Corvette enthusiast/historian ; Bob McDorman also in the category of Corvette enthusiast/historian; and Andy Pilgrim, a champion driver for Corvette Racing will all be recognized with the highest honor bestowed by the Museum for their contributions to the past, present and future of Corvette.
The 2012 Hall of Fame recipients will be inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame during a ceremony and banquet on Friday, August 31, 2012. Their induction will take place as part of the Museum’s 18th Anniversary Corvette Celebration festivities August 30 – September 1, 2012.
Corvette Hall of Fame Inductee Gary Claudio spent over 27 years at General Motors, starting in the Pontiac Division but transferring to Chevrolet in 1998 as Manager of the Chevy Race Shop. Claudio worked with Doug Fehan (current Corvette Racing Program Manager) to develop the Corvette Race Program. While Doug handled the technical issues, Gary handled everything else including securing the original sponsors, plus obtaining additional funding from Chevrolet Management which allowed GM to race two cars and to race at Le Mans.
Claudio developed and implemented Corvette Corrals, negotiated the participation of Dale Earnhardt and Dale, Jr. to drive the #3 Corvette in the 2001 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, was intimately involved with several special edition Corvettes, presided over the successful launch of the ZR1, landed two noteworthy drivers to pace Indy (Jay Leno and Colin Powell), helped develop and name the Corvette Racing mascot “Jake” and served on the NCM Board of Directors for two years. Though he retired from GM in 2008, his Corvette and Corvette Racing marketing accomplishments and support of the Museum continue to be noticed today. Claudio continues to be a true fan and supporter of the Museum, uniting eight Corvette Clubs in the Detroit area for the Motor City Corvette Concours naming the Museum as a beneficiary of the annual show.
Corvette Hall of Fame Inductee Patrick Dolan first started collecting Corvettes at age 9 with a 1953 large scale model and at age 22 purchased his first Corvette – a 1966 white convertible. Dolan has owned a Corvette each year since 1967 and currently owns five. He joined the Royal Corvettes of Western Michigan in 1968 and started participating in circle track racing in 1969. Dolan was very active in the NCCC competition program from 1973-1991, racing in numerous autocrosses throughout the country – winning his class and posting the Fastest Time of Day in 95% of the events he entered.
Dolan has been very active in NCCC, serving as VP of Competition, President for two consecutive terms, Director of Charity and developing the NCCC sponsorship program. In total, he has served on the NCCC Executive Board for 22 of the past 23 years. Dolan is a Founding Member of the National Corvette Museum. He was present at the first general meeting in Cypress Gardens, FL in January 1989, served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors and headed the Acquisition Committee from 1991-1994. His dedication and continuing involvement with the NCM was crucial to its initial success.
Corvette Hall of Fame Inductee Bob McDorman has been one of the premier Corvette enthusiasts for more than 50 years. His automobile collections have literally contained hundreds of Corvettes, many of which have been the most sought after and prized Corvettes in the world. McDorman’s collection once included 150 collector cars, all GM, and mostly Corvettes housed in eight buildings on the grounds of his dealership in Canal Winchester, Ohio. Bob spent 16 of his early years working in GM dealerships learning the ins and outs of running a successful business. In 1965 he purchased the Ralph Smith Chevrolet dealership in Groveport, OH and in 1968 moved it to the 33-acre lot in Canal Winchester where he remains today.
Each September McDorman hosted an annual “Corvettes and Chevys on the Canal,” which raised over $275,000 for the local children’s hospital. In addition to being a Lifetime Member of the National Corvette Museum, he has loaned Corvettes for Museum use, including several rare Corvettes for display, and has supported many programs of the Museum including bricks, membership, events, advertising and donations. McDorman was awarded the Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award in 1978 and 2007, 2010 Bloomington Gold “Great Hall” Inductee and numerous other humanitarian and achievement awards.
Corvette Hall of Fame Inductee Andy Pilgrim joined the Corvette Racing team in 1999 after a successful career in IMSA racing where he earned four championships in four consecutive years. Teamed with Ron Fellows, Pilgrim scored the team’s historic first victory at Texas Motor Speedway in September 2000. In 2001, Pilgrim finished second in GTS in the Sebring 12-Hour and Le Mans 24-Hour endurance races, and was on the winning team for the Petit Le Mans season finale at Road Atlanta.
In 2001 he was selected as Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jr.’s teammate in the 24 Hours of Daytona, finishing second in the GTS class behind the sister Corvette C5-R. Pilgrim left the Corvette program in 2004 but stayed with General Motors, driving for the winning team at the Daytona 24 in a Doran-Pontiac, and spent the rest of the season driving for the new Cadillac CTS-V factory team in the SPEED World Challenge GT Series. Pilgrim won the driver’s championship in the CTS-V, and finished 3rd and 2nd in the series in 2006 and 2007. He also made his NASCAR Busch Series debut, driving two road course races for Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s JR Motorsports team. In 2011, he joined former Corvette Racing teammate Johnny O’Connell in driving the factory Cadillac CTS-V Coupe in the World Challenge and made his Sprint Cup debut driving the 46 car for Whitney Motorsports, finishing 26th.
Pilgrim started the Andy Pilgrim Foundation in 2008 to educate new street drivers and raise awareness of the problems of distracted driving. He has a long history of attending and serving as an instructor at the Museum’s High Performance Driving schools, and has hosted golf tournaments in conjunction with the Museum’s annual C5/C6 Bash with proceeds benefitting the Museum.
The National Corvette Museum established the Corvette Hall of Fame in 1998 to confer the highest honor and recognition upon the most influential individuals in the history of the Corvette. The award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to their respective fields, each having reached the highest level of accomplishment. Inductees must also reflect the highest standards of integrity and character to positively enhance the prestige of the Corvette and the National Corvette Museum.
Additional information on reserving a spot at the prestigious Corvette Hall of Fame banquet will be available in the coming months via our website at: www.corvettemuseum.org or can be obtained by subscribing to our weekly eNewsletter “NCM eNews” at: www.corvettemuseum.org/ncmenews/.
The National Corvette Museum is a member-driven, non-profit foundation dedicated to educating the public through the preservation of the Corvette’s past, present and future heritage. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT, the Museum is located at Exit 28 off I-65 in Bowling Green, KY.