On Jan. 1, 2006, Tom Wallace will officially become the car guy with the best job in the world. On that date he will succeed Dave Hill as Corvette chief engineer and vehicle line executive (VLE) for performance cars. Wallace will become only the fourth person to carry the title of Corvette chief engineer in the marque's history, joining an exclusive club whose membership includes Zora Arkus-Duntov, Dave McClellan and Hill.
As the head of the Corvette Nation, Wallace will become the steward of the Corvette legend and the head of an extended family of Corvette enthusiasts, owners, collectors and racers. He is the right gearhead for the job, with more than 30 years of experience as a hands-on builder, restorer, race car driver, and all-around car nut.
Wallace, 57, was born in Pittsburgh. He began his GM career as a cooperative student with Buick Motor Division in 1970. He held several engineering positions focusing on engine technology and played a key role in the development of the turbocharged Buick Grand National coupes of the early '80s. Wallace most recently was vehicle line executive for Small/Midsize Trucks.
After competing in amateur drag racing and gymkhana, Wallace started road racing with the Sports Car Club of America more than 30 years ago. He has competed in a variety of sedan and GT classes with raced-prepared Oldsmobile, Buick and Chevrolet models. He raced professionally in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) American Challenge series in 1978-79 in several endurance races, including the Sebring 12-hour and Daytona 24-hour events. Wallace now races regularly in the Detroit area and has twice won the GT1 championship at Waterford Hills Raceway. He has competed in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs six times. His sons, Brian, 35, and Tom, 38, are avid road racers who also have competed the SCCA Runoffs.