Subtle modifications allow the new Grand Sport to accelerate quicker than the standard LS3-powered models

Subtle modifications allow the new Grand Sport to accelerate quicker than the standard LS3-powered models

The Corvette Grand Sport is back. Set to roll in later this year as a 2010 model in both coupe and convertible bodystyles, the new Grand Sport combines the standard Corvette LS3-based powertrain with widebody styling and a race-bred suspension, and gives Corvette fans a new performance option between the standard model and sexy Z06.

The Grand Sport replaces the Corvette's previous Z51 package and brings a greater degree of handling performance, with wider wheels and tires, revised shocks, new stabilizer bar and spring specifications and new gearing. The equipment enables cornering capability of up to 1.0g, as well as a 0.2-second improvement in 0-60mph acceleration versus the standard LS3-powered models.

The engine’s output has been kept at 430hp (321kW) and 424lb-ft (575Nm) of torque, however, an optional two-mode exhaust system boosts output to 436hp (325kW) and 428lb-ft (580Nm).

Grand Sport coupe models equipped with the manual transmission are outfitted for race track competition, too, with a dry-sump oiling system, differential cooler and a rear-mounted battery. The manual transmission also comes with specific gear ratios, while automatic models get a modified rear axle ratio. Another goodie for manual drivers is the addition of a Launch Control system, which will actually be offered across the 2010 model year Corvette range. The new system modulates engine torque 100 times per second and is designed to give drivers optimal traction during full throttle starts.

Specific modifications for the Grand Sport coupe and convertible include wider front and rear fenders with unique badging, a Z06-style front splitter and rear spoiler, new brake ducts, unique 18in wheels with 275mm tires up front and 19in units shod with 325mm rubber in the rear, Z06-spec brakes include 355mm rotors with six-piston calipers up front and 340mm rear rotors with four-piston calipers.

All of the Corvette's exterior colors are offered on the Grand Sport and an available ‘Heritage’ package adds iconic front fender hash marks offered in four colors, as well as two-tone seats with Grand Sport embroidery.