• L88 Corvette Racing Legends

    Corvette Racing Legends, The Story of the L-88 Option Package
    is available now. Click Here to go to Corvette Racing Legends.com 

     

    The time period from the fall of 1967 to the summer of 1972 brought us some of the most successful and memorable L88 Corvette racers of our time. It is these cars and drivers that have embodied the soul of the Corvette racing mystique. When anyone thinks of an L88 Corvette racing car, they automatically think of these legends. Names such as: DeLorenzo, Thompson, Yenko, Heinz, Johnson, Greenwood, and Guldstrand; options such as: L-88, ZL-1, flared fenders, and heater delete; tracks such as Daytona, Sebring, and Watkins Glen, all of which spark the emotion of Corvette enthusiasts in such a manner that has never been seen since.

     

    We begin our journey this month with a glimpse of some of these legends. Each month for the next several months, more stories will follow on the individual cars and drivers.

     

    "The L-88 'Vette is the ultimate in hot rods-- an open top

    Two seater with an engine that'll torque the whole car

    Over if you don't hang on tight!"

    - Hot Rod


    James Garner entered a two car team for the 1968 Daytona 24 Hours. Dick Guldstrand and Ed Leslie drove car #44. The body style was so new that the only competition item that was homologated in time for the race was the Plexiglas headlamp covers. This item not only opened up the space in the grilles for improved airflow to the radiator but also improved the airflow over the front of the car by eliminating the pop-up headlamps.

     

    The airflow beneath the car differed dramatically from the previous model. There was not enough time to homologate the necessary rear differential oil cooler. This two-car team would suffer the consequences and did not place well in the standings.

    The Sunray DX oil company sponsored a trio of L-88 Corvettes for this same race. Again, the new body style was plagued by gremlins, and did not place well in the standings. Their sole '67 L88 Sting Ray entry, the old body style, was properly homologated for endurance racing, brought home a 1st in GT !




        Three big competition items were added to the line-up in 1969.




    #1. L88 Fender flares were available to allow larger tires to be used in long distance endurance races. Now, the drivers were really able to get the power to the pavement with fatter tires! Improved cornering capabilities resulted as well.




    #2. L88 Open chamber cylinder heads were standard equipment mid year through the '69 model year on the L-88's. As seen in the photo above, the cylinder head on the bottom had an increased combustion chamber that permitted improved filling and exiting of the gases, thus creating more power. The exhaust ports were larger and more circular in shape improving the exhaust flow.




    #3. The all aluminum ZL-l engine block was available to improve the overall balance of the Corvette by bringing the weight of the 427 down to a 327 by it's efficient use of aluminum. The perfect balances of 50/50 or better was now available to anyone with a checkbook large enough to absorb the cost!




    By 1970, the L88 Corvette was no longer racing against the Cobra, or Ferrari. It was racing against itself. It was now a L88 Corvette to L88 Corvette competition. The driver with the smoothest skills, the mechanic with the best L-88 or ZL-1, the team with the best setup, the owner with the best sponsorship, all of these factors were now how the L88 Corvette would be judged.




     The L88 Corvette was now in it's full stride and it would keep this winning pace for a few more years.
    The success of these legends still stands in the record books and in the minds of the L88 Corvette faithful.

     

    Mako Shark

    ZL1 Corvette

    Yenko Corvette

    Greenwood Corvettes

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