The Camaro Z/28 is set to pace the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ with recently retired driver Dario Franchitti at the wheel. The three-time Indy 500 winner will be leading the field May 25th, as the 98th running takes place at the famed Brickyard.
Franchitti’s career includes wins in 2007, 2010, and again in 2012, taking rank with a very select number of drivers to achieve such an outstanding IndyCar career. Though Franchitti is retired, he’s not slowing down. He now works in a driver development position with Chip Ganassi Racing, who is of course, powering their race cars with Chevrolet engines for the 2014 Indy season.
The Camaro Z/28 is unmodified for its pace car role, save for the decals affixed to the hood, doors, and rear quarter panels. That’s all well and good though. The Z/28 won’t have any issues getting to speed and holding corners with its 505-horsepower, 481-pound-foot 7.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8. The massive 305-series Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires grip their 19-inch blacked-out wheels that mount to hubs holding huge carbon ceramic rotors squeezed by six-piston Brembo calipers up front and four-piston units out back.
While this will be Franchitti’s first time pacing the Indy 500, it’s old hat for the Camaro. It first did it in 1967 and 2014 will mark its eighth time. The Chevrolet brand, however, has led the field an impressive 24 times with various cars throughout the years. A 2014 Corvette Stingray did the honors last year .
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.
The Z/28 nameplate has made a return for 2014 after quite a hiatus. Built as the track-killer, the Z/28 takes weight savings, sticky tires, a tunable suspension, tons of downforce, and a naturally aspirated engine to produce some of the most stellar numbers any GM production car has ever laid down. Remember when the Z/28 lapped the Nürburgring in 7:37.47 – in the wet?(!)
Power comes from the LS7, a 7.0-liter, small-block V-8 making 505 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque. Just like in the Corvette C6 Z06, the LS7 is naturally aspirated, and though it makes less power than its Camaro ZL1 brother, the Z/28 lays down faster lap times thanks to better grip, improved downforce and aerodynamics, a retuned suspension and some 300 pounds missing from its curb weight.
Pricing for the Z/28 starts at $75,000. It’s expensive, but it will outrun most anything this side of $200,000. Oh, and don’t forget air conditioning is a $1,150 optional extra.
Gallery Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25.
It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race.
Franchitti won the Indy 500 in 2007, 2010 and 2012, and he is only the third driver ever to win at least three consecutive IndyCar titles – among four championships overall. Franchitti’s appearance in the Camaro Z/28 pace car signals a new start in his career as he embarks on a driver development role with Chip Ganassi Racing, which will use Chevrolet power in the 2014 IndyCar season.
“Dario is a true champion who has earned the respect of competitors and race fans alike,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “It will be very special to have Dario lead the field to the green flag in the Camaro Z/28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
Said Franchitti: “It is a tremendous honor for me to be asked to drive the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500. As a historian of motorsport and as a three-time winner of this great race, I will appreciate every minute of getting to pace the field in the new 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. Although I won’t be competing in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, this will be as close as one person can get to the action. I can’t wait until May in Indianapolis.”
Chevrolet has a long, shared history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and the Verizon IndyCar Series. Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the inaugural 500-mile race, and the Chevrolet brothers – company co-founder Louis, Arthur and Gaston – all competed in early Indy 500 races. Arthur Chevrolet competed in the 1911 race and Gaston Chevrolet won it in 1920.
“We are excited to have Dario Franchitti lead this year’s Indianapolis 500 starting field to the green flag,” said J. Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Dario’s appearance in the Camaro Z/28 Pace Car will be special for race fans and it underscores Chevrolet’s important place in the past, present and future of the Indianapolis 500.”
Chevrolet competed in Indy-style competition as an engine manufacturer in 1986-93 and 2002-05 with V-8 engines, and returned in 2012 with the Chevrolet IndyCar twin-turbo V-6 engine with direct injection. Tony Kanaan won the 2013 Indy 500 in his Chevrolet-powered race car, leading Chevrolet to seven of the top 10 finishes – including the top four. Chevrolet also earned the IndyCar manufacturer championship titles in 2012 and 2013.