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GM delivers affordable luxury with Corvette Stingray

June 10, 2021 GMT
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Drivers Jordan Taylor, left, and Tommy Milner attend a news conference while standing next to a Corvette C8.R race car Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at Raceway at Belle Isle in Detroit. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)
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Drivers Jordan Taylor, left, and Tommy Milner attend a news conference while standing next to a Corvette C8.R race car Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at Raceway at Belle Isle in Detroit. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

DETROIT (AP) — What would you splurge on if you won the lottery? Most people have a dream car or two on their list, but alas, most people never win the lottery.

General Motors has unveiled a luxury sports car that is competitive with its more exotic (read: expensive) counterparts but isn’t completely out of reach for drivers looking for some flash.

The 2022 IMSA GTLM Championship Edition Stingray was revealed Wednesday less than three miles from GM headquarters. MacArthur Bridge was closed briefly so a quartet of mid-engine Corvette C8.R’s could cross the swirling Detroit River and enter the Raceway at Belle Isle.

The cars were piloted by Corvette Racing drivers Jordan Taylor, Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Antonio Garcia, who normally would be in France this weekend for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. With Le Mans rescheduled to August, the conflict that had prevented Corvette from competing at Belle Isle had been eliminated and the two-car program will race Saturday in GM’s backyard for the first time since 2008, hitting the track right after IndyCar’s doubleheader opener.

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The Stingray is a supercar with a base price starting at $62,195. The IMSA GTLM Championship Edition starts at $87,085 for the coupe and $94,085 for the convertible — still a reasonable price point for a car fanatic who wants to own a vehicle that resembles the Corvette C8.R race cars and is in the same class as a more expensive Ferrari or McLaren.

“It’s combining supercars with more attainability,” Harlan Charles, product manager of Chevrolet Corvette, told The Associated Press. “Not that it’s inexpensive, but it’s to the point where anybody who works can save up and it is attainable someday.

“Only we can do a car like this because Corvette, being an attainable car, we’ve applied that to the mid-engine concept and we’ve made a unique sports car that’s never existed. We’ve taken the portability, the everyday drivability, and we’ve added those exotic mid-engine attributes that are previously only available in these triple-the-price type cars.”

The 2020 Corvette was the first with a mid-engine in the 67-year history of the car and it gave GM an affordable rival to everything in its class from the Audi R8 to the Lamborghini Aventador. The special edition available next year pays homage to the 2020 racing season when Corvette Racing swept IMSA’s sports car manufacturers, drivers and team titles.

GM will make only 1,000 of the special edition Stingrays — all in its Bowling Green, Kentucky, assembly plant — partly because it wants the car to be a hot ticket item. The luxury sports car market isn’t flooded with volume but is highly competitive with the most entries of nearly any category.

“You’re getting everybody’s best shot in the luxury sports car market, the Europeans are in, everybody gives this market their best shot,” Charles said.

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The special editions are based on the 3LT trim with Z51 performance package that includes Corvette Racing-themed graphics packages. The exterior content varies by market and includes a high-wing spoiler in carbon flash, yellow brake calipers, black trident design wheels, exterior mirrors in carbon flash, black side rockers and splash guards.

The interior comes with a yellow and gray cabin that continues the exterior racing theme. It has standard GT2 seats, yellow seat belts and a C8.R numbered plaque. Competition sports seats are also an option. GM added three new exterior colors: hypersonic gray, caffeine and amplify orange tintcoat.

The 2022 Stingray’s LT2 6.2 liter V-8 engine will come with an upgraded dual injection fuel system.

GM considers the Stingray a daily driver — the mid-engine has improved traction that makes for an all-weather vehicle — whereas many of its class rivals can sit inside garages as expensive showpieces only brought out for special occasions. GM is also pitching to a customer base it believes wants luxury from a domestic brand.

“It’s American technology and people are patriotic and almost all of our competitors are European,” said Charles. “This shows we can compete with the best in the world on an American-based car and that’s a real source of pride for us.”

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