C4 Corvette Challenge Series
Corvette Challenge Series Home Page Corvette Challenge Series Background History 1988 Corvette Challenge Series 1989 Corvette Challenge Series 1990 R9G Corvette Corvette Forum, Chevrolet Corvette Forum
1980's and early 1990's "C4 Corvette Racing" History

C4 Corvette Race CarsThe late 1980's Corvette was thriving with their high horsepower V8 engines, aerodynamic body and rigid suspension. As a matter of fact the Corvettes were taking all of the titles in the late 80's. Porsche, Lotus and many other competitors couldn't touch the Corvette. The competitors got together and banned the Corvette from competing against them. In 1987 a fellow by the name of John Powell came up with a brainstorm idea of having a "Corvette Challenge". Which meant only Corvettes could compete against one another, in doing so he wanted to make sure each car was to spec.

Powell envisioned having the Corvette Challenge teams compete for an enormous and unheard of purse at the time of $1,000,000. With one million dollars at stake the competition would be fierce. Fierce it was! There were some big guns coming to the Corvette Challenge races with good reason. The spec series became an instant hit with spectators and teams alike. With the competition being so close, it allowed the spectators to see some incredible accidents and some very competitive driving at various racing venues.

The 1988-1989 Corvette Challenge series came about because, in the Sports Car Club of America's (SCCA) Showroom Stock GT category, Corvette had no challengers. From the fourth generation Corvette's introduction in 1984 through the 1987 season Corvette's combination of superior handling, excellent brakes, sticky Goodyear "Gatorback" VR50 tires and the Small Block V8's power and torque ran away and hid from its Showroom Stock competition. It didn't matter what the series was called, Playboy Challenge, Showroom Stock GT or Escort GT Endurance, Corvettes were unbeatable. Literally. They won every race they entered, with the only competition coming from among the Corvette entrants.

In racing dominance by a single marquee is a promoter's nightmare and by 1987 competing manufactures were ready to withdraw their support for one of SCCA's most successful and high visibility series. SCCA responded by removing Corvette from the approved list of competitors for 1988, leaving the tiddlers to compete among themselves. Big Dogs, however, like to run in packs and that's what the Corvette racers, under leadership of John Powell, did. Powell was a successful Corvette racer, operator of one of Canada's leading competition driving schools and creator of the Player's Cup, a Canadian series for Camaros and Firebirds. He quickly gathered support from the Corvette drivers and entrants and proposed a one-make series to the SCCA to take advantage of Corvette's popularity with both entrants and fans.

Key to the success of the Corvette Challenge was early backing from Mid America Designs which created the impetus that helped bring Goodyear and Exxon on board. The groundswell of interest convinced GM to give its blessing and to facilitate the series' development by creating a very limited series of uniquely-configured Corvettes to participate. These few Corvette Challenge racers are the most rare and desirable Corvettes from the period.

The Corvette Challenge was a marketing and promotional success. An outstanding array of drivers took part including Mark Dismore, Scott Lagasse, Bill Cooper, Stu Hayner, Randy Ruhlman, Jeff Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracey, Boris Said, III and Tommy Kendall. The 1988 Championship was won by Hanyner folled in 1989 by Cooper. Several drivers, notably Vasser, Dismore, Tracey and Andretti, used the Corvette Challenge to showcase their talents and successfully leveraged their subsequent careers on it.

Another driver who made the most of his precipitation was Andy Pilgrim, who won three of his twenty-two Corvette Challenge starts, an outstanding record in the highly competitive field of evenly matched equipment. Pilgrim built a good relationship with the Corvette team and subsequently became one of the two lead drivers in developing and racing the fabulously successful Corvette C5-R.

For two years the Corvette Challenge provided exciting and close racing that highlighted the power and handling of essentially stock Corvettes in the hands of talented and motivated drivers at important races across North America. Its success and fan involvement was such that ESPN broadcast the full 1989 Corvette Challenge season to an enthusiastic audience, standing on its own as exciting racing.

Competing manufactures felt they had caught up with Corvette's performance by the end of the 1989 season and SCCA brought Corvette into its new World Challenge series for 1990. That ended the short but highly succ4essful and visible Corvette Challenge but the small number of Corvettes created for it still are recognized, enthusiastically collected and even raced in historic events. The cars were scooped up by collectors and have become an important examples of Corvette history - high profile, quick nd competitive Corvettes.

I've broken this website down into a few main categories for your convenience. Below is the order I'd recommend you view this website to help you better understand the race series:

Check out some of the photo galleries as well:

Photo Gallery 1988 Corvette Challenge Cars --> click here.
Photo Gallery 1989 Corvette Challenge Cars --> click here.
Photo Gallery 1990 R9G World Challenge Corvettes --> click here.

If you have any information or pictures in regards to this car, please contact us. If you have a Corvette Challenge Car and would like us to update the information on this website, please contact us.