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  Article Image gallery (17) DRMLMZR1C-001 Specifications  
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Country of origin:United States
Produced in:1995
Numbers built:1
Internal name:C4
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:July 06, 2020
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Click here to download printer friendly versionCorvette Challenge racer and Corvette tuner Doug Rippie had a lifelong dream to race at Le Mans. During the early 1990s, Rippie joined forces with Mercury Marine, who built the sophisticated four-cam LT5 that powered the Corvette ZR-1 for General Motors. With GM's blessing and help from Lotus Engineering, they created the DRZ-500 version of the LT5 engine. Finished in black with distinct red plug wires, these engines were quickly known as the Black Widow. The DRZ-500 was good for 475 bhp in road-legal configuration and 525 bhp in race-trim. Doug Rippie Motorsports was established to distribute and fit the engines.

The performance of the DRZ-500 engine and the introduction of the new-for-1994 GT1 class inspired Rippie to pursue his dream to race at Le Mans with a further modified Corvette ZR-1. Although the opportunity was there for Rippie, he really did not have the funds to first develop, built and then race a GT1 version of the Corvette ZR-1. To get the sufficient budget required, he turned to what is now known as crowd funding. To this end, Rippie established the non-profit ZR-1 Corvette Team USA, which enabled the large Corvette enthusiast community to help the team get to Le Mans.

Building on the work done to create DRZ-500 engine, Mercury Marine, Lotus engineers and Rippie himself further developed the LT5 engine. It was bored to displace 6.3 litres, which raised the performance further to 575 bhp, while breathing through the mandatory intake restrictors. It was mated to a sturdy Weismann five-speed manual gearbox. The GT1 regulations were quite lenient and allowed for a heavily revised body to be fitted. Compared to the road car, the Le Mans-bound Corvette was considerably wider to clear massive rubber, and featured a front splitter and a full-width rear wing that was mounted on the corners of the rear bodywork.

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  Article Image gallery (17) DRMLMZR1C-001 Specifications