The only ZR1 Corvette GT1 in history that ever ran at Le Mans! #TeamRedLineOil
Built in 1995 by Doug Rippie Motorsports sport this ZR1 Corvette is the only ZR-1 to ever race at The 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The car debuted in 1995 at Sebring Raceway 12H, finishing 21st in GT1 and 52nd overall, which was okay considering that it was entered as a pre-test for Le Mans.
For Le Mans 24, the car was entered by DRM as “Corvette-Team-ZR-1 USA” and was the first and only ZR1 in the history of Le Mans, some 25 years later, it still is. The Corvette was powered by an aluminium 32V 4 Cam LT5 V8 “Black Widow” developed by Lotus Cars. Interestingly, Team ZR-1 USA was exempt from pre-qualifying because the French wanted the Corvettes back in Le Mans.
Unfortunately, in qualifying the Corvette blew a head gasket and a fresh engine had to be installed. Sadly, this engine got the same problem, which was a common thing for USA entries due to the different types of fuel in Europe and the USA.
The car was retired in the 22nd hour of the race, an absolute disappointment for the American team. Regardless of the ZR-1s DNF, the car goes down in history as one of the coolest Corvettes to ever race at Le Mans. Since then Corvettes have won the Le Mans 24 eight times.
In 1996 the car was sold to Heinz Roth Switzerland. From 1997 to 2011 the ZR-1 kept racing throughout Europe, entering a total of 100 races in different series. During this period, the car got 43 podium finishes with 22 race wins! In 2011 it was purchased by the actual owner, Heinz Roth, who never had the intention to sell it.
In 2012 the car was completely restored back to its exact 1995 Le Mans spec, using the original Le Mans body panels with the 1995 period correct livery, the engine was freshly rebuilt and all original mechanical components (suspension, brakes, etc) were installed.
Since then, the car has been on a dyno a few times for its tune, using the correct ECU provided by DRM, and has only run for the lap of honour during the Le Mans Classic.
Photos by: Total Performance Car Switzerland