Chevy prepares Vision Gran Turismo-based classic Chaparral race cars

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Chevy's new 2X VGT revives the spirit of innovation set by Chaparral in the 60s and 70s

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We're pretty sure the Nissan Concept 2020 is the coolest of the Vision Gran Turismo concepts. Then again, maybe it's the Aston Martin DP-100? A trip a little farther down memory lane reminds us of last year's Mercedes-Benz. With so many virtual racers hitting PlayStation this past year, it's difficult to decide. Another Vision Gran Turismo debut is sure to make the decision even tougher. Chevy is preparing a design based on Chaparral race cars from the 60s and 70s, adding a bit of historical pedigree to what promises to be a wild, futuristic track car.

While previous Vision Gran Turismo design teams concerned themselves with making futuristic – or just plain wild – renderings, Chevy injects a bit more history into its design. It's using its Vision Gran Turismo as an opportunity to pay homage to the cutting-edge technological advances that Chaparral Cars made in the 60s and 70s.

Founded in 1962 by Jim Hall and Hap Sharp, Chaparral teamed with Chevrolet Research and Development in developing a series of bleeding-edge race cars. The company came out of the gate swinging with the Chaparral 2, a semi-monocoque fiberglass chassised car with a Chevy small-block V8 mounted amidships. That race car went on to set a track record in its first race in 1963 and win the 12-hour race at Sebring in 1965.

From there, Chaparral worked with Chevy Research on a series of high-tech cars that featured elements like composite monocoque construction, active aerodynamics and vehicle data acquisition systems. Some of their most famous design elements included the large, stilted rear wings on the Chaparral 2E and 2F cars and the fan-assisted downforce system that the 2J used to suction itself to the track – at least for a few races, before the system was banned.

"Jim Hall and Chaparral blended the art of racing with science in an unprecedented way, changing the sport forever and inspiring a new generation to experiment with aerodynamics and unconventional materials," says Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president for global product development, purchasing and supply chain. "His race cars were four-wheeled physics projects that proved innovation – and a strong Chevy race engine – could drive you to the winner’s circle."

It seems only natural for Chevy to tap into that history of collaborative high-tech innovation when designing a cutting-edge virtual race car that doesn't have to play by the rules. It calls it the Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo, indicating the car will share its DNA with the original Chaparrals while advancing its way to the end of the alphabet. Chaparral's Jim Hall consulted with GM's Advanced Design Studio in bringing the car to life.

Chevy hasn't dropped any additional hints as to the styling or powertrain driving the 2X design, but if it's going to be true to its heritage, it should have a V8 engine and some advanced aerodynamic and technological systems. Judging from the teaser photo, it will also have a bold, muscular body with bulging fenders.

"It will serve as an example of what our designers are capable of when they are cut loose, no holds barred, a fantasy car in every sense of the word," promises Ed Welburn, VP of global design.

Chevy will reveal the Chaparral 2X VGT at next week's LA Auto Show and Gran Tursimo 6 players will be able to get behind the wheel when it's added to the game during the holiday season. Gizmag will be in LA with camera in hand.

See a bit more about the history and near-future of the Chevy-powered Chapparal in the teaser video below.

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