C5 Goes Le Mans: Commemorative Edition Corvette joins 50th fanfare
By MAC MORRISON
Chevrolet will produce a 2004 Commemorative Edition Corvette Z06 in honor of the company’s 2001 and 2002 GTS class victories at Le Mans. Although it will be produced
in limited numbers, the car begins to atone for disappointment surrounding the understatedness of the 2003 50th Anniversary Corvette.
The Le Mans Corvette dons special badging and the same blue, silver and red paint scheme that will appear on the race cars entered in this year’s French enduro.
More importantly, the vehicle wears a carbon fiber hood, marking the first use of carbon fiber as a painted exterior panel on a vehicle produced in North America, according to GM.
The new hood weighs 20.5 pounds, 10.6 pounds lighter than the standard piece. The 5.7-liter V8 remains untouched, but Corvette engineers spent considerable time revising the Z06’s shock damping, with much development done at the Nurburgring. The revised
suspension will appear on all 2004 Z06s, but the hood will not. Commemorative Edition base coupes and convertibles will also be available, but with cosmetic changes only.
Due to production issues surrounding the carbon fiber hood, Chevrolet is still working out how many Commemorative Z06s will be made, estimating the figure to be “a couple thousand.” The company will tack on a $3,000-to-$5,000 price hike over the standard Z06 when the car goes on sale in August—by which time Chevy hopes to have another Le Mans victory under its belt.