Chevrolet Corvette Group 4/5 – 1969
The example we’re presenting here began its career in the hands of Belgian private driver Chris Tuerlinx, a General Motors dealer at the time. Time enough to prepare his Corvette for competition, he entered it in the 1,000 kilometers of Monza in 1971 with the Trans-Europe Gulf Racing Team and finished 15th, before racing in the 1,000 kilometers of Spa the following month. In the ’72 season, the Belgian driver again entered his car in Spa with the Euroil Racing Team, but failed to finish the race due to a mechanical issue. A seasoned driver, Tuerlinx made almost thirty racing starts. He finished the ’72 season at the wheel of his Opel Commodore in the Spa 24 Hours, but was unfortunately killed in a traffic accident in 1973. The Corvette was then sold to Hans Deen, a Dutch driver who, with his gargantuan 7.5-liter V8 engine, took the Corvette from Group 4 to Group 5.
The return on the race tracks
The spectacular Corvette made its return to the racetrack in 1975 in the Nederlands Toerwagen Kampioenschap (Dutch national championship), with all rounds held at the Zandvoort circuit. At the time, it wore the colors of its main sponsor, ATCO (Atlantic Paper Company). It took just one season to appreciate the Corvette’s beastly behavior, as Hans Deen finished the 1976 season in first place at its wheel, and was featured on the cover of the official program on several occasions. The following season was not as successful, and 1978 marked the end of the Dutch driver’s career. Our Corvette then became the property of a compatriot, a certain Bas Van Vliet, who entered it in two rounds of the Benelux Championship. The year 1978 marked the first retirement of this model, whose career in official competition lasted almost 10 years.
The second life of the ATCO Corvette
During the 1980s, the former Zandvoort icon was handed over to a collector, and arrived on French soil in 1996 in a new private collection. In 2003, it was acquired by the renowned tuner Yvan Mahé (Equipe Europe), and required restoration before returning to the track. It was finally another owner who undertook the restoration work the following year, when he bought the car in 2007. In 2010, almost 30 years after its last official competition, the Corvette returned to the track in the highly competitive CER (Classic Endurance Racing) historic championship at Le Castellet, alongside its old rivals. We’ll see it race again at Paul Ricard in 2011, again in CER, before being overhauled once more by the Still Racing stable headed by Eric Hélary. Between 2012 and 2015, its owner will spend almost €50,000 on a complete mechanical overhaul. Passionate about competition and high-potential American machines, he kept his Corvette in his collection and is now parting with it for new projects. In perfect working order, this example boasts a singular history and first-rate performance on the racetrack, thanks to its 6,998 cm3 V8.