Number 88 1979 Greenwood Chevrolet Corvette Esprit Calgary

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No. 88 1979 Greenwood Chevrolet Corvette Esprit Calgary. Owners: Eric Roturier and Patrick Caldentey, Fuveaux, France The Corvette C3 Greenwood Esprit Calgary was on display at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. This is the last C3 Corvette to enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1980. It was specially bodied on a Greenwood chassis and entered by a first time all Canadian team owned by Doug Rowe who was the team translator in the 1976 Greenwood effort at Le Mans. It qualified but DNS (did not start) for “Political” reasons. Rowe kept the car until he passed away in 2013.
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Cam Hutchins: No 88 Esprit Calgary Group 5A 1973-1981 FIA IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT &emdash;

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Last weekend, the team “Spirit Calgary” Eric and Patrick ROTURIER CALDENTEY, participated in 10,000 laps on the Var circuit of Paul Ricard, with the commitment of a Chevrolet Corvette Greenwood, dating from 1979 CER .

The beautiful American sparkling bright red No. 88, developing 700 horsepower, set the fastest GT time in qualifying, with its flying young Jim Pla, currently second in the Championship of France FFSA GT, the highly experienced qu’épaulait Gerard BACLE, former monitor once the route of the flight school at Paul Ricard, used large circuits and modern and historical events.

The Corvette C3 Calgary Greenwood Spirit marked the spirits both on the track and in the paddock, but due to a small mechanical problem the Pla-Bacle crew preferred to preserve their horses and abandon ten laps




Jim Pla was called for GT head in qualifying, which put the car in trisième line on the starting grid in the middle of the prototypes.

In the race, Jim was fighting for the leadership of the class, but halfway through and after the mandatory stop, revenue topped the GT, the behavior of the car being no longer the same because of a problem on a wheel bearing. Jim preferred pit board out of respect for the beautiful American and its mechanics, and the team chose wisdom in deciding his abandonment! After the crew had signed all the same, the best lap GT race.

Eric Commoner, the owner of this beautiful -Corvette C3 Spirit Calgary

“We were missing just the icing on the cake! The weekend was extraordinary, with 95% success. This car had not rolled in France for 38 years … Everyone was impressed by this legend, and the driver line-up we chose to align for this event here at Paul Ricard. “

And he continued:

“This car is prepared and maintained in the year by the highly professional team of Patrick Caldentey, a specialist in American cars, period. For the 10 000 rpm, Gerard Bacle with whom we had already worked last year, shared the wheel with the young Jim Pla. The duo in the lead of the GT in qualifying and in the first part of the race, before deciding to give up to preserve the mechanics. With the fastest lap, we could have won the race RECs 2 but it is only a postponement because I intend to redo roar Spirit Calgary on the slopes this year, given its performance here. “

Meanwhile Gerard Bacle, chained and explained:

“After years of absence I come back gradually on the track, and at the wheel of this beast, I found my adolescent soul! I Scent of a Woman the same age as my teammate Jim that I love. The feelings and passion are intact, I took great pleasure and I sincerely thank Eric Roturier for allowing me to drive his car. The car is fantastic to drive, but as we all love this kind of car, at the slightest mechanical problem as this weekend, we prefer not to abuse or excessive force. This is why we ended the race in the 18th lap. The Paul Ricard circuit is always nice even if the plot of my time is not the same … the memories themselves are “

Finally Jim Pla, concluded

“I had never driven an old car. Greenwood Corvette is incredible to ride and really brings different emotions modern GT! I thank Gérard for his usual support but especially Eric Commoner and the team of Patrick Caldentey who did a fabulous job filled with passion. I’m ready to come back with pleasure in this kind of series if the opportunity presents itself. “

François LEROUX

Photo credits: Hugo PLA – Bernard BIANCONI – Eric ROTURIER