"To establish the sports car, you have to race it," said Zora Arkus-Duntov, acknowledged as the person most responsible for making the Corvette a respected sports car worldwide.

Mr. Duntov joined General Motors in 1953, as part of a new emphasis on application of new technology within the Chevrolet engineering team. He brought his European automotive high-performance experience to bear on the just-introduced Corvette, in an effort to correct what were acknowledged to be "awful" handling problems. Mr. Duntov was assigned to the Corvette in 1955, and immediately set about to dramatically upgrade performance of the V8 version, introduced that year. While there have been many Duntov-inspired developments, the most well known in those early years was the first "Duntov" cam, which added over 30 horsepower to the sedate 265 cu. in. V8. Engine and chassis sophistication accelerated rapidly due to Mr. Duntov's influence, being evident in the high-performance 1957 model.

The racing focus of Mr. Duntov's work on the Corvette accelerated with the SS project, this car running 155 mph at the opening of the new Daytona International Speedway in 1959 (the first car to officially circle the track.) That same year Duntov was named director of high performance vehicles, which allowed him to focus even more attention on racing (despite the AMA ban) and begin work on engine and chassis development of the now legendary Grand Sport.

"For the first time," said Mr. Duntov, in reference to the 1963 Sting Ray, "I have a Corvette I can be proud to drive in Europe." Essentially, Duntov's 1963 Sting Ray chassis evolved from work begun as early as 1959 on the Grand Sport concept. From that point forward, the Corvette matured as a world-class sports car.

Zora Arkus-Duntov retired from GM in 1974, but his impact on engineering and design had tremendous momentum. As an example, production of his '63 Sting Ray chassis design continued through the1982 model year. Mr. Duntov's vision and energy brought the Corvette exitement to life, in what continues today as the only true production American sports car.