You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

You Can Buy the C4 ZR1 That Ran at Le Mans

Road & Track logo Road & Track 4/14/2021 Fred Smith
Just one C4 ZR1 ever graced the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This is it. © NICOLAS DELPIERRE / Total Performance Car Just one C4 ZR1 ever graced the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This is it.

Those who follow sports car racing will instantly recognize the dayglow yellow of Corvette Racing; the factory program that has raced America's sports car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since the days of the C5. Hardcore Corvette fans also know about the Callaway SuperNatural, a private attempt to race a car based on the C4 Corvette at the famed 24-hour event, when GT cars returned to the event in the mid-Nineties. Far fewer know about Doug Rippie's one-off special, the only C4 ZR1 ever raced at Le Mans. Today, that car can be yours.

Research

Rippie's Corvette was not successful, of course. Despite a long history of private entries and a few privately-sold C2 Grand Sports, Chevrolet never made any attempt to support Corvette-based GT cars at Le Mans, and only began to show pride in their history at the 24 hour race after establishing a factory team years later. That meant Rippie was on his own. This ground-up build, aimed at the then-young GT1 class, was an ambitious attempt to take on the world with nothing more than a rulebook, a donor car, and a modest budget.

The resulting car was, unsurprisingly, less than a triumph. When MotorTrend tested the car, they found it to be underpowered and difficult to drive. Participation at the race itself was entirely due to interest from the organizers, who waived pre-qualification rules that likely would have eliminated Rippie's car from contention. Despite reportedly significant top speeds, the car struggled to show any real pace and posted an abysmal 4:24.8 in its official qualifying run. The car also blew a head gasket in qualifying, and repeated the feat in the race to secure a late retirement.

The story ends there. Rippie's Corvette program was a beautiful disaster on debut. His shining vision of a C4 ZR1 racer ran just twice before being sold to private hands. Today, it serves as a monument to the ambition of the sports car privateer. It's available for the Corvette completionist, sold by Switzerland's TotalPerformanceCar. The car is listed at the equivalent of $380,000 USD, and has been for sale since at least September of last year, if not continuously since June 2019. Compared to the factory-backed C7.R offered for $950,000 last year, this sleek'Vette is a relative bargain.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Road and Track

Loading...

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon