In our new series ‘Retro GT’ we look back at some of the most memorable cars, moments and seasons through the eyes of those involved. To begin Retro GT, Anthony Kumpen shares his thoughts on the Corvette C5-R he raced during the 2007 season (pictured above en route to fifth place in the FIA GT Monza 2 Hours).
The 1990s saw the introduction of GT1 for competition at the highest levels of sports car racing. These thoroughbred race cars came to life in the last no-holds-barred arms race for sports car superiority that hasn’t been seen since.
GT1 ruled the world throughout the late 90s and 2000s and gave birth to numerous fan-favourite machines. Although the class eventually faded away, the fire-spitting, roaring and screaming sights and sounds of the wide range of GTs are still fondly remembered by those who were there.
Amongst the drivers who left their mark in GT1 was Anthony Kumpen. Racing for his family’s PK Carsport, the Belgian competed in the 7 litre V8-powered Corvette C5-R that in 2007 brought him to fourth place in the FIA GT Championship, third in the 24 Hours of Spa, and a handful of podium finishes throughout the year.
“The Corvette C5 we raced in 2007 was one of the best cars I ever drove,” Kumpen recalls.
“The aero of the car was great; the engine was not the strongest in the field, though.
“I remember we took pole, victory and the championship lead at Oschersleben before the 24 Hours of Spa. But then we were disqualified because we arguably had 0.4 litre of fuel too much in our tank…
“We finished on the podium at the 24 Hours of Spa, but the ‘DQ’ messed up our season.”