|Corvette race fans know Doug Rippie. His early claims to fame came via the 1988-89 Corvette Challenge Series. Visit his site, click the link @ page bottom- 'Meet Doug' and read. Note the 'Black Widow' paragraphs because that's where THIS story starts.....|
Rippie loved racing Corvettes in the US. But, his life-long dream was to take on the world-class marques @ LeMans. Sound familiar? So, when Chevy intro'ed the C4 ZR1, to Doug, that opened the door to opportunity [street ZR1 photo].
Via his collaboration with MerCruiser and Lotus Engineering, all with Chevy’s blessing, the Black Widow program created special street and [for the first time] race versions of the LT5 engine. But, '95 LeMans entry info lists the engine as a '6300cc Turbo', so the vague notes we found about Callaway being involved may also be true [anyone know?]. Called the DRZ-500, this engine made 525hp in full race mode.
Rippie's red monster debuted at Sebring as a pre-test for LeMans [just as Peugeot, Audi, and Corvette are doing this year]. 21st in GT1 / 52nd overall, thanks to an early DNF, was the result. #06 drivers were Bill Cooper, Scott Maxwell, and Chris McDougall.
At LeMans, the car ran as the #30 'Corvette Team USA ZR-1' and was driven by John Paul, Jr., McDougall, and James Mero. True to his dream to take on the world, look at the GT1 competition Corvette was up against in 1995! McLaren F1, Ferrari F40, NSX, Porsche 911, Lister, Jaguar XJ220, Nissan SkyLine, Toyota Supra and MR2 [with a turbo V8!], and Callaway.
But, lack of testing finished the quest with another DNF. Sometimes the journey is the reward as maybe these historical pictures suggest.
Regardless, that ZR1 was one serious BadBoy race car.