Don Yenko DX Sunray L88 Corvettes

 

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

 

Don Yenko was remembered primarily for his 427 COPO Yenko Camaros. Most enthusiasts are not
aware that he was an avid and skilled Corvette racing driver. Don Yenko spent many years racing
Corvettes in the SCCA and also in FIA competition. Most of the SCCA racing was done in B/Production
until he was able to obtain sponsorship from DX oil company from 1967-1969. This sponsorship
allowed him to compete in A/Production with L-88 427 power for all of 1968 and some of 1969.

 




Don Yenko was an owner of a Chevrolet dealership in Pennsylvania. Eventhough he is remembered more for his COPO 427 Camaros, he was an accomplished Corvette racer. With some sponsorship from the DX oil company, Don was able to make the L-88 Corvette a champion.  This '67 L-88 placed 1st in GT at the 1967 12 Hours of Sebring and a year later, this same car placed 1st in GT at the 1968 running of the 24 Hours of Daytona!! It was # 8 when it won at Sebring 1967, and it was # 31 when it won at Daytona 1968.


As we all know, Zora Duntov was involved with all aspects of Corvette development.
Zora believed in a "hands on" approach with his Corvette.  Being a former Le Mans racer himself,
Zora understood the importance of Corvette success at the racetrack.
He would routinely show up at all the major races to provide advice to the Corvette teams,
and he would provide the editors of the automotive publications the hottest Corvettes available.




Here we find Zora behind the wheel of the ZL-1 test and development Corvette at a track in Arizona.  Zora provided this car, along with several others for the press to review.  Even today, those writers who were present at that track in Arizona, have very fond memories of Zora Duntov, when he brought his toys for all to share.

When the ZL-1 aluminum engine block was discontinued by Chevrolet, Don Yenko felt that it was
important to have that weight saving block available for Corvette racers. Don Yenko arranged
to have a limited run of aluminum big blocks cast as long as his name was cast into the block.
These limited edition blocks say YENKO on the front of the blocks for easy identification.



Don bankrolled himself in 1969, driving an ZL-1 powered Z/28 at the 12 hours of Sebring,to promote his Yenko SC COPO 427 Camaros.   But from 1970 on, he became a co-driver with several Corvette teams such as the Owens Corning Corvette team, and John Greenwood.

Here we find Don co-driving with John Greenwood at the 1972 12 Hours of Sebring.




Don Yenko would co-drive with Dave Heinz in the # 57 Corvette at many of the newly formed IMSA events. Dave was the driver of one of the first '69 open chamber headed competition L-88's.  From 1969-1972, Dave and this Corvette finished many races in the top ranks.  It wasn't until 1972 that Dave and this L-88 Corvette would achieve their greatest success. This L-88 Corvette was given a new paint scheme........ a very controversial confederate flag paint scheme.  Dave Heinz co-drove with Bob Johnson, to two big victories in 1972. 1st in GT both at the shortened 6 Hours of Daytona and also at the 12 Hours of Sebring.

 

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