What you may not realize is that this yearís Le Mans race represents
50 years since the first Briggs Cunningham 1960 Corvette #3 ran this coveted
course at Le Mans and WON!
You see, in 1960 Briggs
Cunningham fielded a trio of Corvettes at Le Mans as purely privateers.
Factory involvement was not allowed since 1957, but amazingly enough, Zora
Duntov was in town for the Le Mans race! This #3 Cunningham Corvette driven
by John Fitch and Bob Grossman won first in their class and 8th
overall which was a great tribute to Americaís sports car and also to the
American automobile industry. This effort showed the world that the American
sports car had arrived and they could now compete with the European sports
cars on their own track. Ironically enough this was the first Corvette to
ever win first in class at Le Mans and held its title for over 40 years!
Now 50 years later the
same #3 Corvette owned by the Miller family of Carlisle, PA, was shipped
back to the place of its greatest victory, Le Mans, France, impeccably
restored by Corvette Repair, Inc., of Valley Stream, NY, to its full race
trim as it looked and ran during the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans.
John Fitch tells Lance Miller about #3ís Glory
Day at Le Mans!
Photos Courtesy of Lance Miller
Big doings will have
taken place at Le Mans with the arrival of the #3 Corvette. It will first be
on display at the legendary Le Mans Museum for all to see. Friday afternoon
it will be center stage as a participant of the Grande Parade Des Pilotes
where half a million race enthusiasts will be able to catch a glimpse of
this historical Corvette as it drives through the streets of Le Mans. On
Saturday morning, June 12th, it will once again be driven by John
Fitch, the very man who drove it 50 years before, around the famous Le Mans
circuit with over 50 Corvettes following. I donít know about you, but for a
Corvette guy like me, this incredibly emotional moment will sum up a dream
that Chip Miller always had after he located and restored this piece of
Corvette Racing history for all of us to enjoy!
All of this happened
because of a dream a father had and the dedication of a son to fulfill his
fatherís dream. Chip Miller (co-founder of Corvettes at Carlisle) bought and
fully restored the famous Cunningham Corvette #3 in October 2000. It was his
dream to bring it back to Le Mans in 2010 for the 50th
anniversary of its historic victory. Unfortunately, he was not able to see
his dream realized as Chip passed away in March 2004 from a little known
disease amyloidosis. Chipís son, Lance, picked up the torch of his fatherís
dream and brought it to fruition. Chip and Lance had a great bond as father
and son, but also as best friends. And itís a tribute to Lanceís father that
the Cunningham Corvette #3 is in Le Mans. Because of Lanceís tenacity in
fulfilling his fatherís dream, he overcame all the obstacles thrown at him
and has now achieved his dream for him and his father Chip. Lance and his
family started the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation where all
proceeds go to help raise awareness and hopefully a cure for amyloidosis. If
you would like to learn more, please visit
Miller standing by his prized possession!
Courtesy of Lance Miller
known Lance a long time and I could have told you without a
doubt after his fatherís passing that this is one dream that
was going to be fulfilled. Lance is a dedicated young man
and his love for his fatherís memory is all the driving
force he needed to make this happen!
I know you recognize that Lance is one of the owners of
Carlisle Events which puts on premiere shows all summer
long, including my personal favorite Corvettes at Carlisle.
Lance and his family are keeping the Corvette dream alive
for all of us, and more importantly, for all our children.
So if you are planning on attending a Corvette show this
summer, may I strongly suggest Corvettes at Carlisle,
August 27-29, 2010, because Iím sure there will be tons of
stories being told about the Briggs Cunningham Corvette #3
return to Le Mans. Trust me, you will want to be there to
hear those stories firsthand!
for more detailed information on the return of the 1960
Corvette #3 to Le Mans, please visit our C6 Registry Hot
and read the May 5, 2010 posting.
While Iím on the subject
of Dream Corvettes, have you heard about the one-of-a-kind
(VIN 0001) 50th Anniversary 2011 Special Edition Carbon Z06?
This one-of production beauty was built to commemorate the 50th
anniversary of the 1960 Corvette #3 making its first appearance at Le Mans.
This Special Edition Corvette Z06 includes the Z07 performance brake and
wheel package, along with the CFZ Black Carbon Fiber Package similar to the
ZR1. You wonít be able to miss this White with Blue Stripe paint scheme that
the 1960 Corvette #3 also donned. Yes, itís true, you, can purchase this
piece of history for a mere $85,000 price tagÖ.along with a three hundred
thousand dollar donation to the National Corvette Museum! Oh, did I mention
it will be shown for the first time with its older brother (1960 Cunningham
Corvette #3) during Corvettes at Carlisle?!
Summer has been in full
swing since late April here in Florida and I have enjoyed driving my Machine
Silver Z51 Coupe everywhere! I hope the weather has warmed up in your area
and you too have been out enjoying these endless summer days in your
Iíll be at Corvettes
at Carlisle in August and I hope to see all of you there!