Chevrolet Racing: Louis to Le Mans Runs Through January, 2019
The National Corvette Museum’s Exhibit Hall has been transformed to feature a special themed exhibit. For a period of about seven months, that theme is the history of Chevrolet racing.
The story of Chevrolet racing is told from the early days of Louis Chevrolet as a racing driver for Buick, through the AMA ban on racing, Chevrolet Racing’s involvement in NASCAR, and the Le Mans winning Corvettes. Significant stories are told through the display of various cars and artifacts, from engines including one from a C5-R, and a fuel injection cutaway, to race suits, trophies from various races and more.
“The idea of the exhibit started with Corvette’s success at Le Mans over the last few years, and with the recent heyday of how well Corvette Racing is doing, I wanted to look at how Chevrolet wound up at this point,” said Derek E. Moore, Curator at the National Corvette Museum. “Really, the way to do that was to start all the way back with Louis Chevrolet and his success as a race car driver. Chevrolet is born out of the early days of Buick racing with Louis Chevrolet driving, so, we started with Corvette Racing’s success and backed it up to the roots of Buick and what Louis Chevrolet was doing driving for them.”
Highlights of the exhibit include a 1909 Buick Model 16 Indy Racecar, 1910 Buick Bug, 1915 Cornelian, 1957 Chevrolet “Black Widow” NASCAR, 1983 Monte Carlo SS ‘Pepsi Challenger’ NASCAR, 1989 ZR1 24-Hour World Record Corvette, 1997 Chevrolet C5.R Homologation car, 1997 Monte Carlo chrome-wrapped NASCAR, C6.R GT1 Test Car and 2010 Chevrolet Cruze WTCC Race Car.
“With the early Louis Chevrolet driven cars, it was a matter of knowing what cars were still in existence and then asking to borrow those. Especially the pivotal cars from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway even before the famed Indy 500 existed,” said Moore.
Moore says that while each car played an important role in Chevrolet’s racing history, they also each have a side story that makes the exhibit have layers of interesting history.
“I used information from Chevrolet’s press releases throughout history and looked at significant stories of people who connected to that. Like the re-introduction of Chevrolet to NASCAR in 1983 with the Monte Carlo. We looked for a really cool story around that time which led us to Darrell Waltrip and the Pepsi Challenger car. Then there’s the “Black Widow” – an awesome car, but the story on top of that is that the “Black Widows” were the cars that led to the ban on fuel injection in NASCAR.”
The ’Chevrolet Racing: Louis to Le Mans’ exhibit runs through January 4, 2019 in the National Corvette Museum’s Exhibit Hall. For more information on planning a visit to the Museum and NCM Motorsports Park, visit corvettemuseum.org and click Visit – Plan a Visit. The Museum is open daily, 8am-5pm CT and can be reached at 800-53-VETTE. It is located at I-65, Exit 28 in Bowling Green, Kentucky.