Chevrolet Corvette served as an Indianapolis 500 pace car for the first time back in 1978 and Chevrolet has sent a total of 11 models to pace "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." The 2013 model year will be the 12th time a Corvette model will pace Indianapolis, and as rumored two days ago , it will be the new Corvette Stingray .
The model will be equipped with the track-capable Z51 package, which adds a limited-slip differential for reduced under-steer while cornering, improved aerodynamics and ride tweaks to help it handle corners more effectively. The Stingray Pace Car is painted in a Laguna Blue Tintcoat exterior combined with official Indianapolis 500 graphics on the doors.
The technology features and powertrain will be identical to the standard version, except that the Pace Car will be equipped with track-mandated safety features and strobe lights.
Updated 06/03/2013: Chevrolet unveiled a new video (above) showing the Stingray Indianapolis 500 Pace Car in action at the 2013 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. GM President North America, Mark Reuss, also talks about what it’s like to drive the pace car, his favorite parts of the track and what driving the 2013 Corvette Stingray Pace Car means to him.
Click past the jump to read more about the Corvette Stingray and the Corvette’s history as an Indy 5oo pace car.
The new Stingray - the seventh-generation Corvette - was unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. It comes with a new look, improved technologies and a new engine.
The model is powered by 6.2-liter small-block V-8 engine that GM dubbed the LT1. This LT1 V-8 engine delivers an estimated total of 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. The model sprints from 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds and goes up to an anticipated top speed of 180 to 190 mph.
The model starts out at $51,995 including destination charge.
Gallery Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car History
1978 was the first year for the Corvette pace car and boy was it a stunner. Its two-tone black and grey paint scheme makes it instantly recognizable. Jim Rathman had the honor of pacing the Indy 500 in the Corvette. A total of 500 replicas were made between 1978 and 1982 – 100 each year.
In 1986, the Corvette returned to pace the Indy 500, but this time in convertible format. It was one of the blander of the pace cars, with exception to its canary-yellow paint job. Chuck Yeager had the honors of starting the race and Don Bailey took the wheel during cautionary periods.
The 1995 Corvette pace car was a bit of a snoozer, with its two-tone purple and white paint setup and cheesy flag flowing down the rear quarter. One nice addition was the white soft top that made this the second-straight convertible model to pace the race. Jim Perkins started the race as the driver and Don Bailey was the caution driver.
In 1998, Chevrolet introduced a convertible version of its one-year-old C5 Corvette. With this new variant of the Corvette, Indy came calling to use one as a pace car. This also brought back a wild styling for the pace car with it Radar Blue exterior with yellow wheels, interior, lettering and stripes. Parnelli Jones took the honor of driving the `Vette upon starting the Indy 500 and perennial driver, Don Bailey, again took the wheel under caution.
In 2002, Jim Caviezel took the helm of a 50th anniversary Corvette at the start of the Indy 500 and Joie Chitwood, III guided it during cautions. This maroon C5 Corvette was rather simple, but still a very stunning car, with its golden flames and “50” logo with crossed flags on the hood.
After giving the short-lived SSR a hack at pacing the Indy 500, the Corvette returned in 2004 to start its five-year streak of pacing the race. This car started off the race with noted actor, Morgan Freeman, behind the wheel and Joie Chitwood, III too over during cautions. The simple, yet patriotic, red, white and blue theme made this an awesome convertible pace car one for the ages.
In 2005, the C6 Corvette arrived as the first of its kind since its debut generation that it did not make use of pop-up headlights. This important debut also brought about another use of the Corvette to pace the Indy 500. This car was a convertible model that featured a simple red and grey paint scheme with the Indy 500 logo on the doors and other minor updates. this car was piloted by General Colin Powell and Joie Chitwood, III.
Drivers changed in 2006 to Lance Armstrong starting the race and Johnny Rutherford taking over for cautionary situations, but the car remained a Corvette. In this year, the Corvette of choice was the all-new Z06 model with a wild red, white and blue scheme, and a light bar atop the roof.
In 2007, a super-simple C6 Corvette Convertible took the lead at the Indy 500. This golden Corvette featured lightly contrasting ribbons down the side and hood, an Indy 500 logo on each door. Johnny Rutherford returned to pace the race during caution laps and Patrick Dempsey started the race behind the wheel of the `Vette.
In 2008, the Corvette’s five-year reign as the king of the Indy 500 came to a close with the Z06 E85 edition pacing the race. This model was actually a concept model that displayed how a car can run on more eco-friendly E85 Ethanol while also producing 500 horsepower. This model featured a super-loud penalized green paintjob with E85 Ethanol and Indy 500 logos all around the body. Emerson Fittipaldi and Johnny Rutherford had the honor of running this car in the race.
In 2012, a 2013 Corvette ZR1 took the lead at Indy with a very simple white design, which has become more popular in other racing series. The only distinguishing mark on this pace car were the logos on the doors some sponsorship decals and the light bar. Celebrity chef and car enthusiast, Guy Fieri, had the honor of starting the race and Johnny Rutherford took over during caution laps.
The all-new, seventh-generation 2014 Corvette Stingray will serve as the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car, leading the field to green at the start of the 97th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” on Sunday, May 26, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It marks a record 12th time the Corvette has served as the Pace Car, starting in 1978.
“It is an honor to help inaugurate the all-new Corvette Stingray at the hallowed Brickyard and further the legacy between Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500,” said Jim Campbell, GM vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “The 2014 Corvette Stingray’s performance was influenced by racing, making this prestigious assignment even more fitting.”
Along with Chevrolet’s return in 2012 as an engine supplier, the Corvette Stingray Pace Car extends a legacy at the Brickyard that dates to the racetrack’s early days.
“Chevrolet is a great partner of the Speedway,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer. “That connection is heightened this year with the next-generation Corvette in front of a very talented field of racers.”
Decked out in Laguna Blue Tintcoat with official Indianapolis 500 graphics on the doors, the Corvette Stingray Pace Car differs from production models with only track-mandated safety features and strobe lights. No powertrain upgrades are required to run in front of the IndyCar pack, thanks to its all-new 6.2L LT1 engine, which features advanced technologies including direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation). They help produce an estimated 450 horsepower more efficiently.
The 2014 Corvette Stingray coupe goes on sale this fall, with a convertible model – featuring a fully electronic top that can be operated remotely with the key fob – coming a few months later. Vehicle highlights include:
- An interior that offers genuine carbon fiber and aluminum trim, hand-wrapped leather materials, dual eight-inch configurable driver/infotainment screens, and two new seat choices – each featuring a lightweight magnesium frame for exceptional support
- Advanced driver technologies, including a five-position Drive Mode Selector that tailors 12 vehicle attributes to fit the driver’s environment and a new seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Matching that anticipates gear selections and matches engine speed for perfect shifts every time
- Lightweight materials, including a carbon fiber hood and removable carbon fiber roof panel on coupes; composite fenders, doors and rear quarter panels; carbon-nano composite underbody panels and a new aluminum frame help shift weight rearward for an optimal 50/50 weight balance that supports a world-class power-to-weight ratio
- A sculpted exterior featuring advanced high-intensity discharge and light-emitting diode lighting and racing-proven aerodynamics that balance low drag for efficiency and performance elements for improved stability and track capability
- Track-oriented Z51 Performance Package, including an electronic limited-slip differential; dry-sump oiling system; integral brake, differential and transmission cooling; as well as a unique aero package that further improves high-speed stability.
The Corvette Pace Car features the track-capable Z51 package.