In 1986, Kim Baker and his Bakeracing team won an unprecedented four out of six racing events in the SCCA Escort Endurance Series. Bakeracing, having accomplished this feat using Eagle “Gatorback” street radials, was presented with this bright yellow 1987 Corvette by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company for use in the next year’s Series. During the 1987 Escort season, Baker went on to break his own record with the new car. In 1987 Bakeracing -- including drivers Bobby Archer, Tommy Archer, and Mitch Wright -- dominated the series by winning 5 out of 7 races. In fact, Bakeracing won more than half (10 out of 19 ) of all of the races in the SCCA Pro Endurance Series, posting more overall wins than all the other teams combined.
Baker retired his 1987 Corvette an undefeated champion. Car manufacturers (other than Corvette) had complained about the Corvette’s domination of the Escort Series so the Super Sport (SS) class, in which the Vette qualified, was taken out of the series in 1988. As a result of this exclusion, the “Corvette Challenge,” a new Corvette–only showroom stock race series, was initiated by John Powell, General Motors and SCCA.
Sebring Fall Festival was the last race of the 1987 SCCA Escort Endurance Series. It turned out to be one of the best races of the series. The #4 was in second with what was thought to be one lap to go in the six hour endurance event. On this lap, #4 passed the leader, but when he crossed the finish line, the flag did not waive as he was three seconds early (5hrs, 59 min, 57 sec). That meant one more lap. The second place car ran out of fuel on this last lap and the #4 brought home another victory. The #4 Bakeracing Corvette made history at Sebring by winning the last Escort race that would ever be won by a Corvette.
Believing that the ’87 #4 was more than just a winning racecar, Kim Baker went on to have the car restored. Originally, #4 was ordered from G.M. Because the Bakeracing team had not only raced, but also had done research and testing for General Motors, the car was fitted with experimental and prototype equipment. The 1987 #4 has been on the covers of numerous magazines and was featured on the cover of the 1988 Bilstein Calendar. It was also a poster car for the Red Line Oil and made appearances in many Goodyear print ads. In 1993 it was picked as “Chip’s Choice #35” at Corvettes @ Carlisle. In 1994, #4 was honored in the Bloomington Gold “Special Collection XI” called Victory Lane. Bloomington Gold put the #4 Bakeracing car into its “Hall of Fame” in 2003. Racer magazine, in its October 2003 edition, listed the #4 Bakeracing Corvette as being one of the “Top 10 Corvette Race Cars” in the course of 50 years of Corvette history.
Its present owner, Robert J. Tomczak, is preserving the car and its history. Along with Kim Baker, Tomczak believes that the Corvette enthusiasts will enjoy seeing some of the experimental and prototype equipment that was tested on the car. Many of the special designs and parts have been incorporated into later model production Vettes, including the awe-inspiring ZR-1. It offers an opportunity to see an important part of Corvette’s history.
Experimental parts include camshafts, pistons, rods, specially calibrated PROM and manual control of overdrive, special valved Bilstein shocks, brakes (pads, rotors, calipers), brake ducting, brake cooling fans mounted on Dymag wheels, handmade Fel-Pro head gaskets only .025” thick, long lug nuts machined from heat-treated alloy steel bar stock, heavy-duty wheels studs (designed for high cornering loads and quick pitstop changes), a prototype large diameter dual exhaust system with balance pipe, Hella 100 watt driving lamps mounted in fabricated streamlined aluminum pods, Hella 100 watt headlamp replacements and a gas pedal made with an aluminum alloy pivot.