The 2004 season marked the last year Corvette Racing would race the C5-R Corvette before retiring it in favor of the new C6-R. It also marked the beginning of an infamous racing icon that symbolized the team’s mantra: “Take No Prisoners.”
ALMS team Corvette Racing has been competing in IMSA (International Motorsports Association) events since 1999. (Corvette would first compete at Sebring in 1958 with a five-car team.) The C5-R was the car of choice, and the competition was hellacious!
Take No Prisoners
“Take No Prisoners” became the unofficial battle cry of Team Corvette; they raced hard, and they raced for keeps! Their outlaw racing style was aggressive. The C5-R was more than ready for the task at hand; taking copious amounts of abuse, and dishing out even more.
The race team debuted the C5-R at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 1999, and absolutely killed it! They were unstoppable. The C5-R’s short, five-year tour of duty would set the benchmark for all Corvettes that would follow; Corvette Racing would stomp the competition out 31 times in ALMS (American Le Mans Series) racing events and lock in team and manufacturer championships in both 2001 and 2004.
The Pirate Flag
“Jake” is the fabrication of the race team’s aggressive attitude on the track. Essentially, he’s just a picture of a skull, but that skull was so much more; it embodied the team spirit, it centralized their strengths and ambitions into one simple image – an image of power.
It all started at Le Mans, in 2004. The team’s truck driver wanted to put a flaming skull logo on the car, as a symbol of unity. Technically, this was an unauthorized decal and had absolutely no place on the racecar. The decal was applied to the number 4 racecar anyway, with the blessing of the program manager, figuring, “what’s the worst that could happen – nobody will notice.”
The number 4 car would go on to win the race.
Luckily, nobody seemed to notice that Corvette Racing used an unauthorized trademark on their racecar. (It was actually a “No Fear” logo, initially.) Wrapped up in the excitement, the driver returned to the program manager with yet more ideas about the illicit branding.
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“Time out. We can’t do anything with that logo,” replied the program manager, “it’s trademarked.”
At that point, it was decided that they had to make their own logo; Jake embodied so much of the team’s energy and drive, and he symbolized the freight train of momentum that pushed the team to victory. He HAD to be preserved!
Jake Is Born
A team member would eventually sit down and play with some ideas, and it was on a bar napkin that the very first rendition of Jake would come to fruition.
Soon, Jake was applied to the Corvette Racing apparel line; he was no longer a race-exclusive design, but an actual brand. He stood for everything that made Corvette Racing so dangerous on the track; he stood for all the blood, the sweat, and the tears that went into the war machine; he stood for an outlaw mentality that was taking the GTS class by storm.
Apparel sales would increase by 173%, just by Jake’s very presence, and it quickly became clear, Team Corvette had a winner on their hands. Jake became a mainstay not only of Corvette Racing but of Corvette Performance, in general.
Despite GM’s initial resistance, Jake would eventually get promoted from his tiny, inconspicuous corner of the racecar to the prime real estate on the rear quarter panels and hood. Jake was now an official mascot! No longer did this pirate flag wave in the shadows, rather he sat front-center, where the world could see him!
Today, you can find Jake hidden on a few select locations of the ZR1 (if you know where to look),