Los Angeles, CA, September 5, 2008 — For the tenth annual fall gala honoring great legends of motorsport, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will present its “Tribute to Corvette Racing” on Thursday, October 23rd, at 6:00 p.m. This much anticipated evening will be a distinctive celebration for all who join the Petersen’s honored guests and friends and colleagues, along with their viewing gallery exhibits of historic and contemporary Corvettes associated with more than five decades of spectacular Corvette racing heritage.
The Petersen’s previous tributes, which have recently honored Dan Gurney and Riverside Raceway, Phil Hill and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Andy Granatelli and the Indy 500, the triumphant Parnelli Jones and, last year, the incomparable Carroll Shelby, have each been sell-out events applauded by all in attendance and widely covered in the motor racing press.
Tom McIntyre, continuing chairman of these special Petersen Museum tributes, states, “This year we will celebrate Corvette racing history and the drivers who made the Corvette famous, or is it the Corvette which made the drivers famous? The legendary Corvette has always been a performance icon, but those distinctive racing cars developed by Chevrolet’s engineering genius Zora Arkus-Duntov and numerous others have led the development.”
The evening will begin with cocktails and Museum presentation that includes a dozen famous Corvette racing cars on display in the Bruce Meyer Gallery. Following will be dinner and a large-screen film showing the rich, exciting history of Corvette Racing. Renowned drivers whom all have read about will then be introduced on stage to tell some of their best stories—passionate and amusing—about racing Corvettes through the years.
Among these remarkable invited guests of honor are Bob Bondurant, Tony DeLorenzo, John Fitch, John Greenwood, Dick Guldstrand, Doug Hooper, Gib Hufstader, Jim Jeffords, Bill Krause, John Mecom, Scooter Patrick, Andy Porterfield, Paul Reinhart and Dick Thompson to summon up their colorful accounts of racing Corvettes in America and abroad. Mike Joy of Fox Sports & Speed Channel will be Master of Ceremony.
With anticipation of yet another victory and its sixth ALMS Championship at Laguna Seca the week before, we’ll hopefully see the current Corvette Racing Team that has brought so much glory to the United States in the most demanding of international competition. Led by Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan and drivers Johnny O’Connell and Ron Fellows, Corvette’s Pratt & Miller-built C5-Rs and C6.Rs have scored class victories against the world’s best; four times at Le Mans, five times at Sebring, and twice at the Daytona 24—one of those, incredibly, an overall win. It will be a rare opportunity to see the newest of Corvette racers and cars among those that previously forged the proud competition legacy of “America’s Sports Car.”
The evening’s guests will recall how Corvettes first entered sports car racing in the 1950s, and the how the Sting Ray emerged an iconic racing star in the 1960s. Tales will be told of some of the very hottest Corvette race cars conceived and built behind closed doors by Zora Arkus-Duntov’s group at General Motors, and how these big-horsepower-bred “skunk works” Corvettes then took on the purpose-built racing competition in the hands of privateer entrants and drivers at a time when GM corporate did not endorse a Corvette factory racing team. Among those cars on display at the Petersen will be one of the Cunningham Corvettes, now owned by Bruce Meyer, which, in 1960, first appeared at Le Mans. Also outstanding in this field is Larry Bowman’s brawny-but-lightweight 1963 Corvette Grand Sport, awarded Best of Show at last year’s Carmel Concours on the Avenue, restored to its original form of acclaimed chassis number 003—that strapping coupe raced in period by the likes of Jim Hall, Augie Pabst, and co-drivers A.J. Foyt and John Cannon at the 1964 Sebring 12 Hour. This and every competition Corvette seen at the Petersen will have its racing history documented to recall their historic and present-day eras in motorsport.
Continuing the Petersen’s annual tradition of honoring the most illustrious people and cars in motorsport, the Museum’s program includes an auction of prized Corvette memorabilia, a lively interlude that always delights the dinner audience. In addition at the Museum on this expansive evening of October 23rd, there will be a preview of the October 25th Bonhams & Butterfield Auction of Motorcycles and Automobiles.
Because previous Petersen Museum tributes have been sell-outs, early ticket purchase is an absolute must for those who won’t want to miss our “Tribute to Corvette Racing.” To guarantee your admission for this one-time dinner and full-course of activities, please call The Checkered Flag 200 office at 323-964-6325 for reserved ticket purchase at $100 per person for Checkered Flag 200, Concours, and Classic members, $125 for Motorhome, Roadster, Stationwagon, Vintage members, and general public. Ticket price includes dinner, the evening’s complete program, and parking. A cash bar will be available. Tickets are not mailed; your reservations will be held at the door.
In addition to the evening’s “Tribute to Corvette Racing” dinner extravaganza on October 23rd, there will be—on this same day’s afternoon at 2:00pm, for a separate ticket fee of $25 per person for those who wish to participate—a very special “Panel Discussion” with the event’s invited drivers at the Petersen Museum, moderated by distinguished author and Corvette aficionado, Tim Considine. New to these Petersen tributes, this year’s expanded day-long affair will have the Corvette displays, car show, vendor booths, book signing and autograph sessions—making this what well should be “The Corvette Racing Day of the Year.” It’s a unique experience not to be missed!
The Petersen Automotive Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90036-3605, with enclosed parking and Museum entrance just south of Wilshire on Fairfax Avenue. Our “Tribute to Corvette Racing” is industry sponsored and brought to you by the Checkered Flag 200 Group of the Petersen Automotive Museum. For more general Museum information, call (323) 930-CARS or visit the Museum’s website at www.petersen.org .