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Chevrolet concept pays homage to Jim Hall's Chaparrals

Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT Vision Gran Turismo concept to debut at LA auto show

Published: November 17, 2014, 9:55 AM
Updated: June 7, 2015, 10:12 AM

Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT concept

For those of us who lived through the period, the 1960s were the Golden Age of auto racing. Never before, nor since, has race car technology advanced so dramatically, so broadly and so quickly as it did in those few short years.

Indy cars, Formula 1 cars, Le Mans cars – they were all the subjects of unfettered experimentation that resulted in huge technological leaps.

Nowhere was that experimentation more apparent than in the near-rules-unlimited Can Am sports car series, which ran in both Canada and the United States. And no Can Am competitors were more boundary-pushing than Texan, Jim Hall's Chaparrals.

Hall was both engineer and driver for the vehicles, albeit with more than a little covert help from deep within the skunkworks of Chevrolet's R&D department.

When Hall and his parner in both busiess and the cockpit, Hap Sharp founded Chaparral Cars in 1962, they gave little notice of the extent to which they would shake up the racing world.

From plastic monocoque chassis to automatic transmissions to the first suspension-mounted wings to active ground effects, Hall was the pioneer.

While Chevrolet's support was clearly evident, it was never tacitly acknowledged at the time because of the GM's official attitude towards racing – which was to pretend it didn't exist while behind the scenes to support it.

Finally, Chevrolet is acknowledging, however obliquely, its role in the Chaparral story and success.

It was the spirit of innovation manifested by the Chaparrals that inspired the Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT concept race car, the company says.

It, like several other manufacturers concepts, was developed for the Vision Gran Turismo project, which celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Gran Turismo racing game for Sony's PlayStation.

The Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT concept race car will make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, on November 19, and gamers will be able race it following the release of an online update for Gran Turismo 6 during the holiday season.

The original Chaparral 2, 2D, 2E, 2F 2H, 2J, and 2K race cars are on display in the Chaparral Gallery of the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas.