Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wil Cooksey to Receive Prestigious Lee Iacocca Award

Wil Cooksey, former manager of the world's only Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, KY and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Corvette Museum will receive the prestigious Lee Iacocca Award August 21, 2010 at the "Cool Cars, Cool Mountains" Car Show in Gunnison, Colorado. Only 20 car clubs in the United States are designated annually by Mr. Iacocca to select recipients for the award that bears his name. 2010 marks the third year he has chosen the Gunnison Car Club, host of the nation's first carbon neutral car show.

The Iacocca Award was created in 2006 by automobile industry legend and best selling author Lee Iacocca to honor, in his words, "some of the world's most committed classic-car collectors and their passion for maintaining an American tradition."

Mike Callihan, president of the Gunnison Car Club, says the choice of Wil Cooksey for the Iacocca Award was a natural one. "Wil is simply an incredible individual. Whether in the car business, on the boards of non-profit community organizations or on the race track he never gives less than his all out best. It doesn't hurt that he's a car nut from head to toe, either."

A Distinguised Graduate of the Officer's Training School, Cooksey served as an executive officer in the U.S. Army Artillery, 1st Lieutenant. His last assignment was a year in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star.

Cookey's General Motors career is the epitome of achievement beginning with his first job as an assistant professor in industrial engineering at GMI in Flint, MI. In 1976 he transferred to the St. Louis plant where he held several positions before being transferred to the Doraville plant in Atlanta. After working at various superintendent positions at Doraville, he was named the production manager at the Fairfax plant.

Cooksey takes an active role in the community. He currently serves on the boards of the United Way of Bowling Green, First American Bank, Greenview Hospital, the Kentucky Museum, Western Kentucky University School of Business Advisory Board, Drug Abuse Resistance Education Advisory Council and Advancing Minorities' Interest in Engineering Executive Advisory Board.

In 1997 Cooksey received the "Black Engineer of the Year President's Award." Also in 1997, Austin Peay University named him "Achiever of the Year" in their Focus Program. This year Cooksey received a Presidential Citation from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in HIgher Education in recognition of exemplary experience that honors Tennessee State University. Dollars & Sense Magazine honored COoksey in their 1998 "Salute to America's Best & Brightest Business and Professional Men and Women." Cooksey is featured on the cover of African Americans on Wheels magazine as they named the Corvette the "Best Urban Car of the Year." He has been honored as Outstanding Graduate of Tennessee State and named a "Black Achiever in the Industry" by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Wil Cooksey will receive his Lee Iacocca Award at the Gunnison, Colorado Car Club's 23rd Annual "Cool Cars, Cool Mountains Open Car Show" which runs August 20-22.

National Corvette Museum Offering New Grand Sport Raffles

Most Popular Corvette Model Offered as Part of Raffle Program

Summer will be a little bit sweeter for some lucky Corvette raffle participants as the National Corvette Museum is now offering more Grand Sports to their line-up of available raffle cars. "NCM Board Member and Corvette Assembly Plant Manager Bob Parcell shared with us that Grand Sports have become the most popular model of Corvette, and overall Corvette sales are up this year," said Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode. "We thought we'd follow the trend and offer more of what customers are wanting."

The first of several Grand Sport raffles is a 2010 Black Coupe. The coupe features a manual transmission, which includes the dry sump oil system. Something many people who love to experience the high performance of Corvette enjoy having. The coupe also includes ebony leather interior, dual-mode performance exhaust, Grand Sport chrome aluminum wheels and is equipped with the 3LT package which includes options like the Bose Premium 7-speaker system, 1-year Satellite XM radio, head-up display, power telescoping steering wheel, heated seats, memory package, adjustable sport bucket seats and 6-way passenger power seat adjustment. Tickets for this raffle are $400 each, and the raffle is limited to 500 tickets. The drawing will be held on Thursday, May 20 at 2pm Central Time regardless of the number of tickets remaining.

Just two weeks later the Museum will offer yet another Grand Sport - this time Arctic White with red hash marks, black convertible top and two-tone red and black leather interior. The car is equipped with the Grand Sport Heritage Package which features Grand Sport logo in the seat headrest, iPod connectivity and racing-style pedals. The car features an automatic transmission and tickets are $100 with 1,994 tickets available. "Our $100 raffles offer a lower price point, but you are still getting really good odds," said Strode. The drawing will be held on Thursday, June 3 at 2pm Central Time.

National Corvette Museum raffle winners also receive the exciting R8C Museum Delivery Program option benefits when picking up their new Corvette. The program is a memorable experience for new Corvette owners and offers a VIP tour of the Museum and Corvette Assembly Plant, one-year individual membership to the Museum, hands-on training by a delivery team member, program decal and plaque.

The National Corvette Museum is the "gateway to all things Corvette" and a member-driven, non-profit foundation. Dedicated to the mission of celebration, education and preservation, the Museum is open seven days a week from 8am to 5pm CT and is located at Exit 28 on I-65 in Bowling Green, KY.

Monday, March 1, 2010

National Corvette Museum Welcomes Two New Driving Simulators

Simulators are the first of their kind in the United States

Created by some of the same engineers that developed the flight simulators for the aeronautics industry, Virage Simulation Inc. has taken the danger out of learning to drive with two new, state-of-the-art driving simulators located in the National Corvette Museum. The simulators are designed to present a limitless number of scenarios that drivers can face… challenging situations on city streets and freeways and in all kinds of weather conditions. The National Corvette Museum purchased and installed the simulators as a permanent addition to the Museum, furthering the Museum’s mission of educating the public and making a positive impact in the community.

Based in Montreal, Canada, Virage creates simulators that are so realistic that student drivers in Canada can earn drivers education hours by training with them. When the seatbelt is secured and the key is turned, the dashboard lights up and drivers can feel and hear the virtual engine running. The driving experience is so authentic that drivers will feel the vibration of the pavement under their virtual tires, and the weight of the car shift as the wheel is turned.

“A realistic cockpit was essential,” says Danny Grenier, Chief Software Architect for the system. “We wanted to duplicate the driving experience as closely as possible for students so that they could really get a feel for what it is like to be on the road.”The simulators are so real, in fact, that warnings of motion sickness are posted, and all drivers must have at least a learner’s permit to operate the equipment. Five educational programs are offered on the simulators, including Emergency Driving Situations; Driving Under the Influence; Speed, Road Conditions and Stopping Distances; Hazard Perception and Fuel Efficient Driving.

“We can do things with this system that you just cannot duplicate in real life. We can simulate a car coming into your lane, or a blow out, or brake failure and teach students how to react properly in a way that minimizes the risk of injury,” said Dr. Pierro Hirsch, Road Safety Research and Driver Training Program Development Manager for Virage. “We can replay these events if we need to and practice them, allowing students to face the situations without the consequences. We can rehearse them until the proper response comes naturally.”

Not only are the simulators a powerful training tool for student drivers, but it also has classroom applications as well. With a few clicks, the panoramic view of the road switches into a PowerPoint presentation on the effects of driving while intoxicated.

Drivers can wear a special set of goggles that skews their vision similarly to the way that alcohol does. “People are amazed when they do this exercise and get to see for themselves what the effects of alcohol are on the system. What really makes the point is when we set the simulator to duplicate the impaired driving experience.” The simulator adjusts itself to mimic impaired reaction time of an intoxicated driver, over-compensating, and over braking, delaying and speeding up the actions of the driver.

Another useful function of the simulator is the “Eco-Driver” training feature. With this program, drivers are challenged to change their driving styles in such a way that promotes good fuel economy by learning how to accelerate properly and time their stops more precisely. “What is interesting,” Dr. Hirsch notes, “is that often students will get to their destinations just as quickly as another will while saving fuel at the same time.”

The simulators will serve as an important tool to help educate drivers of all ages on safe driving and ultimately make our roads safer by helping to prevent accidents, reduce injuries and ultimately save lives. Statistics indicate that nearly 5,000 young people die in car crashes every year and another 300,000 teens are injured in car crashes annually. New methods of teaching driver safety is imperative to ensure teens are given the best chance to survive their early, and most risky, driving experiences.

“We are extremely fortunate to have the only simulators of this kind in the U.S.,” said Chris Sweeney, Tours and Admissions Supervisor for the Museum. “They will give us the opportunity to educate drivers of all ages and experience levels – providing useful knowledge and a safe learning environment for students to develop their driving skills.” The simulators are open to Museum visitors from 8am until 4:30pm daily at no additional charge. Visitors can reserve a 15-minute slot at admissions. Simulators are also available for private rental for a fee during or after hours and anyone interested can contact the Admissions team to schedule a time.

The National Corvette Museum is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids age 6-16, $8 for seniors and $25 for a family. The Museum is located at Exit 28 off I-65 in Bowling Green, KY. For more information on the National Corvette Museum, visit our website at: or call (800) 53-VETTE (83883).For more information about the Driving Simulators visit:

For images of the driving simulators, please visit: res versions can be obtained by contacting Katie Frassinelli.