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Are You Ready to go Vintage Racing in a Corvette?

Before you hit the track, there are some factors to consider


Vintage Racing Corvette

This is one of the nicest Corvettes in the world. It's a 1969 427 cubic inch ZL-1 replica, campaigned in the Pacific Northwest.

Photo by Jeff Zurschmeide

One of the most popular categories of auto racing these days is Vintage racing. Whether it's Corvettes, other muscle and sports cars, or retired pro racing machines, old stuff is hot stuff. This is good news for Vette owners who want to go racing, because few cars draw attention on the race track like a Corvette.

It's not uncommon for a big vintage event like the Monterey Historics in California or the Walter Mitty Classic in Georgia to draw far more spectators than almost any current pro racing series like Grand Am, World Challenge, Trans-Am, or any of the low-level pro open-wheel series like Star Mazda. Throw a race for vintage Trans-Am cars into the event and you'll get three times as many entries in the vintage race, and 10 times the spectators of modern racing events.

There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon - none very hard to explain. The modern racing world is saturated with low-level pro series. NASCAR, the Indy 500, and the Long Beach Grand Prix provide just about all the big-time racing that people care about.

But in Vintage Racing, it's all about the old cars. Sure, you might get a retired famous race driver or two to make a guest appearance, but it's really about seeing the cars you've loved over the course of your lifetime. Where else can you see Corvettes once raced by Dr. Dick Thompson, Briggs Cunningham, Dick Guldstrand, or Roger Penske?

So it's easy to see why Corvette fans love vintage Corvette racing, but what about the car owners? If you want to race an old Corvette, you have to be prepared to spend large dollar amounts to buy the car, restore it, and then put it all at risk on a race track. What's in it for you, if not glory?

Well, the shortest true answer is that it's a labor of love to own and campaign any vintage race car, and especially a vintage Corvette. This isn't some low-priced MGB - chances are you've got a serious five-figure investment just to buy a qualifying C1 or C2-era Corvette. That's before you restore and improve it for racing. The process of building a race car is just as meticulous and often just as expensive as restoring a car to show quality condition.

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