A visit with Mitch Wright about the future Motorsports Park adjacent to the Corvette Museum
The last three months have been full of good news for the 2014 Corvette Stingray. In November it was named Automobile Magazine’s Car of the Year, followed the next month by the same honors from Autoweek. Monday, it was named the Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
It’s a car with a long and storied past – and no place is that more celebrated than at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. In August, the museum will celebrate its 20th anniversary. As part of the celebration, the Corvette Museum will open a new Motorsports Park featuring a 3.1 mile road course on 184 acres just across the highway from the museum.
Leading the planning for the track is Motorsports Park General Manager Mitch Wright – a former professional race car driver-turn-motorsports park operator, who’s been behind the wheel for most of his life.
“I started quite young – I was 11 years old when I started racing go-carts,” said Wright. “From as far back as I can remember, I wanted to race…I wanted to race something.”
A Bowling Green-built auto continues its streak of awards.
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, made at the General Motors plant in Warren County, has been named North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show.
The Stingray has already won best car of the year honors from Automobile and Autoweek magazines.
The press preview days for the North American International Auto Show kick off with the awards. The announcements came Monday morning at Cobo Center in Detroit.
The truck of the year winner is the Chevrolet Silverado.
The Chevy sweep came after General Motors made the most appearances on this year’s list finalists. Others included the Cadillac CTS and Mazda3. Truck/utility finalists included the Acura MDX and Jeep Cherokee.
Forty-eight automotive journalists vote on winners from the list of finalists.
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is driving home a second car of the year award.
The vehicle manufactured at the Bowling Green General Motors plant has been named Autoweek's Best Car for 2014. Automobile magazine last month gave similar honors to the Stingray.
"The thing about the Corvette is that it's always been a good sports car for the money. But I can tell you that it's really the best sports car you can buy right now regardless of price," said Wes Raynal, editor of Autoweek.
Raynal says the new Corvette has a more comfortable and better-built interior than previous versions of the vehicle. He believes the Stingray will continue the Corvette's image as an iconic car.
"I don't know if you've ever seen that poster of the '63 Stingray, and the tagline is something like, 'They don't write songs about Volvos,'" Raynal told WKU Public Radio. "It's part of America. It's like Elvis, and Bruce Springsteen, and Coca-Cola, and Levi's."
General Motors is enhancing its footprint in Bowling Green. Officials gathered at the Corvette plant Wednesday to announce a $3.5 million investment. The automaker is moving its performance built center from Michigan to Bowling Green.
The center specializes in building high performance engines. GM Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones says the move is expected to create or retain 20 jobs.
“We’re working out the details with the international union and ourselves on how we’re going to bring those folks down, but they have the right to follow the work," said Jones.
Kentucky's automotive industry had more than a million vehicles roll off their lines in 2012 for the first time since 2007.
Kentucky ranks fourth in the nation for total light vehicle production, third in the production of cars and fourth for light trucks. One out of every ten light vehicles produced in the United States in 2012 was made in Kentucky. Kentucky is home to nearly 450 motor vehicle related facilities employing almost 75,000 people. In the last two years, 135 auto industry location or expansion announcements were made representing 7,200 new jobs and nearly $1.8 billion in new capital investments.
Governor Steve Beshear attended the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month for the unveiling of the 2014 Corvette Stingray which is made in Bowling Green. General Motors is in the process of a $131 million plant transformation to the Bowling Green plant.
The next generation Corvette is no longer a secret. With much fanfare, General Motors unveiled a revamped Corvette in Detroit Sunday night, the first new version of the iconic sports car in nine years.
"This car is all new from the ground up and it's absolutely the best performance car we know how to engineer and build," said General Motors North America President Mark Reuss. "I will eagerly put this car up against any of the top performance cars in the world. In terms of design, technology, and performance, this car is second to none."
The 2014 model, so new that it shares only two parts with the current model, picks up cues from the 1963 Stingray. It's described as the most powerful standard model ever, but GM promises it will be the most fuel-efficient Corvette. At the unveiling in Detroit, Reuss offered kudos to the Bowling Green plant for bringing the car the life.
"A few weeks ago we traveled to Bowling Green and drove the first cars made at the plant. Their commitment made this Corvette worthy of the Stingray name once again," praised Reuss.
This weekend has been a long time coming for Corvette enthusiasts. General Motors will unveil the next generation car on Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The reveal couldn't be more exciting for Dave Tatman, manager of the Bowling Green GM plant where the new model will be produced.
"We've had people from the Bowling Green assembly plant traveling to Detroit for almost three years now working with engineers in Detroit side by side on this car," says Tatman.
The 2014 Corvette will go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds, and Tatman says the car is literally all new.
General Motors plans to idle Corvette production in Bowling Green for six months to prepare for the next generation of the iconic sports car. The automaker laid out its schedule for revamping its assembly plant in Warren County for the all-new 2014 model.
An automobile manufactured in Bowling Green will be used as the pace car in NASCAR's Brickyard 400. Chevrolet will use a Corvette z06 to lead the field toward the checkered flag at the start of the race. Actor and film director Ron Howard will be at the wheel of the Corvette.