Developed in secret for the 1957 Sebring 12 Hours in March, the SS was built by a select group of Corvette engineers including Zora Duntov. It was built with a plastic canopy that was required for the 1957 race regulations, but it wasn’t equipped during the race.
A test mule was driven by Zora Duntov, John Fitch Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio during the practice sessions for Sebring. Fangio beat his previous year’s record in it and set one of the fastest laps. The real car was driven by Piero Taruffi and John Fitch and retired after 23 laps with “electrical gremlins, bad brakes, and finally, terminal rear end problems.”
Regarding Sebring, John Fitch said “That car had so much potential, but we never had time to get it race ready,. We didn’t get the car to the track until the very last minute and so we transferred the parts that worked, and everything we had refined on the Mule, to the racing car when it arrived. The brakes were absolutely terrible and they never got that resolved. For some reason, Zora Duntov made the decision not to use disc brakes on the car and it was a bad one…We had absolutely no time to sort that car out. If we had, we might have made a real impact on that race.”1.
Later the AMA racing ban meant that the program was scrapped despite intentions to take the car to Le Mans.
When the Daytona Speedway was opened with its banked turns, Zora Duntov tested the SS reaching an average speed of 155 mph for some practice laps.
Sources & Further Reading
1.Friedman Dave. Corvette Racing Thunder. Gullstrand Motor Productions: 2003.