Corvettes mean a lot of different things to different people, but no matter what your perception of them may be, they have had a pretty legendary racing history.
Zora Arkus Duntov was responsible for convincing General Motors to push the 1956 Corvette more in the direction of a true sports car with a manual transmission and larger displacement engine. It was originally a more touring-like car like the Thunderbird it was originally meant to match up against in the show rooms.
It was also Duntov that would convince General Motors to take note of the success of the Don Yenko program - providing performance parts to people with racing aspirations - despite General Motors' internal prohibition on racing. He successfully convinced the factory to discretely support Corvette racing for SCCA A-Production and FIA GT events. But in order to be considered eligible for those classes, the equipment had to be available as a standard factory option, so GM quietly introduced the L88 option for the Corvette in 1967.