The Hoonigans Go Deep With Cleetus McFarland’s Insane ’Vette Kart: Video
How about stripping a Chevrolet Corvette down, strapping in a 7.0-liter LS, and going after some world records for manual Corvettes? Sounds like an insane project to you? It sure didn’t sound too daunting to Cleetus McFarland, the creator of "Leroy The Savage."
"Leroy The Savage" is, at its core, a Chevrolet Corvette C5 that was stripped of its bodywork and was able to run the quarter mile in 11 seconds with no other modifications. Then came an LSA supercharger and other mods that brought the time down to 9 seconds. McFarland then smelled blood and reckoned his creation could go after some records on the dragstrip and one thing led to another.
Chevy Just Got Caught Racing a Mid-Engined Corvette Race Car!
Just when it seemed like Chevrolet’s mid-engine Corvette was enough to make our knees weak in excitement, a report from Sportscar365 reveals that the American automaker is also developing a race car version of the mid-engine powerhouse. The race-dedicated website was able to get its hands on spy photos of a heavily camouflaged car that’s believed to be the mid-engine C8 Corvette race car. The photos were taken at Road America in Atlanta, which suggests that the car was doing some test runs in its natural habitat.
Video: The Hoonigan Crew Catches Up With a 1,000-HP Drift Monster
Remember when the drifting scene really sank its teeth into U.S. car culture? Remember all those naysayers who said it was just a short-lived fad? Join me as I laugh at their inability to see the long-standing awesomeness that is this artful motorsport. Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s all revel in this red-white-and-blue ‘Vette smoke machine as it doles out four-figure horsepower numbers in a bid to do it sideways at the top of the drifting game.
The video comes courtesy of The Hoonigans YouTube channel, and features the backstage antics of Matt Field as he and his team from Falken Tire do their thing at Formula Drift Seattle. The vid is a bit on the longer side (a little over 20 minutes), and provides an inside look at what it takes to compete at top level of this amazing motorsport, not to mention loads of tandem battles on the race course. And, of course, being real life drifting, things don’t exactly go as planned…
Chevy is Taking the Corvette C7.R To Race at the Shanghai International Circuit
The Corvette C7.R has been around for a few years now, and it’s about to take a trip to Shanghai where it will compete in the FIA WEC wearing a special redline livery. It’s also the first time a factory-run Corvette has participated in a race in the Asian region.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 to pace 102nd Indianapolis 500
For the 15th time since 1978, the Chevrolet Corvette will serve as the pace car for one of the world’s most prestigious races, the Indy 500. In keeping with the occasion, we’re not going to be seeing just an ordinary Corvette in Indy; we’re seeing a 755-horsepower Corvette ZR1 with all the cosmetic bells and whistles of a fully functioning pace car.
You Won’t Believe The Price For Chevy’s Race-Ready Camaro GT4.R
You might think the 2017 Camaro ZL1 1LE is the baddest Camaro offered by Chevy, but you’d be wrong. In fact, the Bowtie has a race-ready version of its pony car designed to comply with GT4 regulations. Not surprisingly, Chevy calls it the Camaro GT4.R. And like other automakers that make factory-built race cars available to the public, so will Chevy allow anyone to purchase this competition-proven track monster. Of course, it doesn’t come cheap.
The Camaro GT4.R will cost $259,000.
But let’s back up. The Camaro GT4.R is based on the ZL1 1LE and built by the specialists at Pratt & Miller in cooperation with General Motors. Naturally, the GT4.R has to comply with the GT4 race regulations, which mandate it have an internal safety cage, specific metrics on the aero bits, and fit within the requirements of engine output, among other things. Sadly, the ZL1’s mighty LT4 V-8 and its 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque are beyond the specs for the racing series. As such, Pratt & Miller swap in a naturally aspirated LT1 V-8 modified with only a new camshaft, stronger main bearings, and a dry-sump oil system. The result is 480 horsepower that will run laps all day long.
Behind the all-aluminum V-8 is a custom Xtrac six-speed sequential transmission with paddle shifters. Out back, a limited-slip differential keeps power moving to both wheels.
Surprisingly, the rest of the car is very similar to the ZL1 1LE, though everything is formed to meet GT4 spec. This includes the front dive planes and the rear wing. The doors and front fascia are now carbon fiber and the front fenders are wider, though the GT4.R uses the factory, 305-series tire size. Around back, the GT4.R actually gets narrower tires than stock, moving from 325- to 305-series tires. Of course, the tires themselves aren’t the road-going type but comply with GT4 regulations.
The Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R might be expensive, but it already has two victories under its belt. It took the checkered flag at the 2017 IMSA Continental Tire Race and the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge GTS. So, do you own a race team and need a new whip? The folks at Pratt & Miller want to hook you up. Just have your checkbook ready.
Goodbye Chevy SS, Hello Camaro ZL1 – Chevy’s New NASCAR Cup Race Car Announced!
Chevrolet has announced the Camaro ZL1 as its top-tier race car for the 2018 NASCAR season. The news comes as no surprise following the discontinuation of the Chevy SS sedan in May of 2017, the basis for Chevy’s previous stock car. This marks the first time Chevy’s pony car will battle with the big boys (and Danica Patrick) in NASCAR’s tile event, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
As with any modern NASCAR racer, the cars are only look-alikes to their production counterparts. They car merely sheet metal shells bolted to a tube-chassis and powered by custom-built racing V-8s. Not a single bolt or switch comes from the production car’s assembly line. The Camaro ZL1 Monster Energy car is no different, though Chevy’s design team has done a great job preserving the Camaro ZL1’s massive lower grille, brake ducts, menacing headlights and curvy rear haunches. The announcement was made at GM’s Detroit headquarters with driver Jimmie Johnson and executive VP of GM Global Product Development Mark Reuss on hand. Reuss said in a statement, “We are thrilled to run Camaro in NASCAR next year, with the time-honored and track-tested ZL1 badge, and we’re just as excited for our drivers, teams, fans and customers.” The 2018 NASCAR season will begin in February at the Daytona Speedweeks.
Continue reading for more information.
Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Will Pace 101st Indianapolis 500
The 2017 Indianapolis 500 race is just around the corner, and the race organizers have just announced that the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport is the race’s new pace car. The Grand Sport is the 14th Corvette and the 28th Chevrolet to lead the field at Indy, both of which are records.
"Chevrolet is proud to once again pace the Indianapolis 500,” said Steve Majoros, marketing director for Chevrolet cars and crossovers. “The Corvette Grand Sport’s performance capability and motorsports heritage make it the perfect choice to pace the Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
Continue reading for the full story.
2016 IMSA Northeast Grand Prix - Race Report
Lime Rock Park in Connecticut was again the host of the Northeast Grand Prix which gathered three of the four IMSA Weathertech Sportscar classes within the premises of the 1.4-mile circuit, and saw Corvette Racing reach some incredible milestones. Under scorching heat, the intense traffic made for contact aplenty, with prototypes and GTs scraping on a track that lacks the endless asphalt run-offs of modern “Tilkedromes” – and thank God it does!
The quickest overall lap time of the qualifying session was set by CORE Autosport’s Colin Braun, the No. 54 ORECA lapping Lime Rock in just 48:824 seconds, a slim margin of 0.016 seconds separating Braun’s time from Robert Alon’s best effort, the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsport car starting second. Kyle Marcelli was third quickest, a tenth off pole, sharing row two of Saturday’s grid with the No. 7 Starworks Motorsport entry. Peter Baron’s other car was at the bottom end of the top five, but had high hopes for race day as van der Zande and Popow had won two of the previous three rounds.
BMW’s Dirk Werner battled for pole with Ford’s Richard Westbrook, the latter sneaking through to post the quickest lap time and take the pole. The Briton’s 50:748 was less than a tenth quicker than the best that Werner could do. The second row of the GT-LM grid was in the 50-second bracket as well, with Tommy Milner starting from third alongside Toni Vilander. Dirk Mueller qualified sixth, two tenths back from Magnussen on seventh. Porsche was again at the back of the pack, the two 991 GTEs starting eight and tenth, although this time the gap from first to last was well under a second.
Change Racing’s Spencer Pumpelly stormed to pole thanks to a blistering 53:148, just 0.030 seconds quicker than Andrew Davis who locked a front-row position in the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsport Audi. The sister Stevenson Audi was third while Alessandro Balzan was fourth in the championship-leading Scuderia Corsa car.
Corvette Racing Secures 100th Victory; 60th 1-2 Finish
Corvette Racing, the longest surviving factory-backed racing effort in the United States, scored its 100th win at Lime Rock Park yesterday at the end of the IMSA Northeast Grand Prix. The result also marks the team’s 60th 1-2 finish, an impressive achievement for a squad that’s been around for some 17 years.
Driven by Gavin/Milner and Garcia/Magnussen, respectively, the No. 4 and No. 3 Corvette C7.Rs of Corvette Racing took the checkered flag in first and second in the GT-LM class at Lime Rock Park, ahead of the Ford GTs of Chip Ganassi, and the Ferrari 488 GTE of Risi Competizione. The achievement brought the Chevy-backed team its 100th victory and 60th 1-2 finish, two feats not many racing squads can brag about.
Their record is also impressive and includes events from all over the U.S., as well as the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. Since its official inception in 1999, Corvette racing has booked ten manufacturer and team championships in the American Le Mans Series, nine driver titles in the same competition, eight class wins at Le Mans, three class and one overall victory at Daytona, and ten class wins at Sebring.
Corvette Racing also scored nine race wins in the IMSA SportsCar Championship, a record 82 American Le Mans Series race wins, and a Grand-Am Sports Car Series victory. In 2015, the team also claimed endurance racing’s triple crown with wins at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans, becoming the first squad to do so in 15 years.
Continue reading for the full story.
2017 Chevrolet Camaro NASCAR Xfinity Race Car
Chevrolet introduced the sixth-generation Camaro in 2015, replacing the model it has been selling with great success since 2009. A significant departure from its predecessor, the sixth-gen Camaro features a new, evolutionary design, but it is also lighter and slightly smaller. Unlike its predecessor, the new Camaro is more of a sports coupe rather than a traditional pony car. Engine-wise, it retained the V-6 and V-8, both in upgraded form, but it also gained a four-cylinder unit, the first for a Camaro since the early 1990s.
Having already spawned a race-spec COPO version, the sixth-gen Camaro has also been used as a base for a new NASCAR vehicle. Much like its predecessor, the NASCAR-spec Camaro will be raced in the Xfinity Series. For those of you who don’t watch a lot of motorsport, the Xfinity Series, previously known as the Nationwide Series, is considered a proving ground for drivers who wish to step up to NASCAR’s top-level competition, the Sprint Cup Series.
The new race car will run its maiden season in 2017, when it will replace the vehicle based on the previous-generation Camaro. Chevrolet has been using the Camaro in NASCAR since 2013. Previously, GM fielded race cars based on the Monte Carlo and Impala in the Nationwide Series.
The Camaro won the series in 2015 and 2014, after placing third in the championship in 2013. As of June 2016, Chevrolet is second to Toyota in the manufacturers’ championship. Overall, the Camaro has scored 35 wins since 2013.
Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Camaro NASCAR Xfinity race car.
2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car
Unveiled in late 2015, the sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro brought many improvements to GM’s iconic muscle car. The design is fresh, yet still retains the classic Camaro cues, while the architecture is significantly lighter, which basically turns the muscle car into a full-fledged sports coupe. The revised interior, the more powerful V-6 and V-8 engines and the brand-new, turbocharged four-cylinder also helped bring the Camaro into the 21st century. As usual, the standard model serves as a base for a range of performance-oriented versions such as the supercharged ZL1, the track-ready Z/28, and the tire-burning COPO.
Although not exactly related to the street-legal Camaro in terms of platform, drivetrain, and technology, the sixth-gen coupe also served as inspiration for a new Funny Car. Created for the 2016 National Hot Rod Association racing season, the new Camaro SS Funny Car was just unveiled by Chevrolet and 16-time NHRA champion John Force ahead of the Kansas Nationals in Topeka on May 21st and 22nd.
Force’s new Funny Car body is the first based on the sixth-generation Camaro SS and features new aerodynamic elements, as well as a more powerful supercharged engine. The body is also lighter, which in conjunction with the revised drivetrains, will result in quicker quarter-mile sprints.
“I started my career in a Chevrolet and I couldn’t be more excited to put this new Camaro SS Funny Car on the track,” said John Force. “With all the assistance from Chevrolet, it not only looks great, it’s designed to perform better than anything we’ve had before, with a shape that should help us get down the track quicker and with greater stability.”
The Camaro SS Funny Car joins the 2016 NHRA in the Pro class and is the second Camaro-based model to race in this year’s season. The first one is the COPO Camaro, which competes in the Sportsman class and was introduced by Courtney Force, one of John’s daughters and also a drag racer, at the 2015 SEMA Show. Unlike the SS Funny Car, the COPO shares actual body panels and chassis components with the standard Camaro SS.
Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car.
2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Indy 500 Pace Car
The long and storied history between Chevrolet and the Indy 500 will run a new episode in 2016, when the brand-new Camaro SS will pace the iconic 500-mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana. Set to take place on May 29, this year’s Indy 500 will be the 100th running of the event and Chevrolet will provide the organizers with four pace cars based on the 2017 Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition. In other words, two of America’s most recognizable brands have chosen to celebrate their milestones together.
Chevrolet will supply the event with four identically prepared pace cars, which will be driven by motorsport legend Roger Penske. The 79-year-old is marking 50 years as a race team owner and seeks his 17th Indy 500 title in 2016.
"Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500 have a long, storied history and it’s an honor to mark the respective milestones of the Indy 500 race and the Camaro simultaneously," said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development. "It’s also a privilege to have Roger Penske perform the driving duties, as his team has helped Chevrolet earn four consecutive IndyCar manufacturer titles since 2012."
This year’s race will be the ninth time the Camaro has served as the pace car and the 27th time for Chevrolet. Chevy first paced the race in 1948, while the Camaro made its debut in 1967, less than a year after the first-generation model was unveiled to the world. The Camaro returned to Indianapolis in 1969, 1982, and 1993, before becoming one of Indy’s favorite pace cars in the late 2000s. The bowtie-badged car led the pack for three consecutive years from 2009 to 2011 and returned for the eighth time in 2014. The Camaro is the second most frequent Indy 500 pace car, surpassed only by the Corvette, which paced the race 13 times between 1978 and 2015. Interestingly enough, the 2016 Indy 500 will be the 20th consecutive race paced by a General Motors vehicle. The last non-GM car to pace the event was the Dodge Viper GTS in 2006.
Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Camaro SS Indy 500 Pace Car.
Throwback: Porsche and Corvette Battle It Out
There is nothing more stimulating that to watch two racers; two cars battle it out for first place on the track. Just watching two cars fighting bumper to bumper and maneuvering at high speeds is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, but to watch it go on in the final laps is absolutely amazing. With that in mind, I invite you to watch this throwback video from Laguna Seca, where a Porsche and a Corvette have one of the best on-track duels I have ever seen.
Just the skill of the drivers alone is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, but the hairsplitting maneuvers performed by each to gain an advantage over the other is just astounding. Unfortunately, the result comes in the form of only one car finishing, but you’ll have to watch the video for yourself to find out which car (if you don’t remember.) One thing is for sure, there had to be some pretty serious confrontations in the pit once everything was said and done.
Go ahead and click the play button and watch the 10-minute video for yourself. Make sure you’re not holding anything important in your hands. After just a couple minutes, you’ll be so into the video that anything you’re holding might get squeezed a bit. Once you’ve watched the video in its entirety, do you think someone played dirty or was that move at the finish line acceptable? I look forward to your response in the comments below.
A bucket of firsts, twice-around-the-clock excitement in three of the four classes and some breakthrough performances are what have already transformed this year’s Rolex Daytona 24hrs into a classic and the perfect way to remember that, precisely half a century ago, Daytona hosted its first 24-hour race.
It was no coincidence, then, that Ford decided to bring their new GT racing car to Daytona for its international debut, although few expected the going to be as rough as it proved to be for the two Ganassi-run GT-LM entries. At the complete other end of the spectrum, with a clean and trouble-free race, Scott Sharp’s Extreme Speed Motorsport has scored a historical first win for an LMP2 car at Daytona – the first win for an ACO prototype since 2002.
It’s also the Ligier’s most important international victory and, arguably, the biggest win in the team’s six-year history. And, all of it would not have been possible without the massive aid of Pipo Derani – the young Brazilian hot-shoe that proved instrumental in the Patron-liveried car crossing the line in P1.
While the Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) cars were marred by issues across the board, the most important thing that needs to be put into perspective is the lack of overall pace displayed by these aging cars. The mere fact that the class winner was 20 laps behind the GT-LM Corvettes is one thing, but the fact that the ORECAs were also the slowest of all 54 starters is just as worrying.
Then there’s the GT-Daytona category that’s embraced the GT3 platform for 2016, and the 22-car strong grid proves IMSA right in its choice. Indeed, some pointed a finger toward Lamborghini’s massive top-end speed that is rumored to have been quicker than even the GT-LM cars but, at the end of the day, the Top 7 was comprised of seven different manufacturers. And, at least half of those could have won, given how tight it was at the end.
In a day and age where reliability is part of the status quo, to see two Corvettes battling it out for supremacy bumper-to-bumper after 24 hours of racing may not be that surprising. The fact that veterans Antonio Garcia and Oliver Gavin were given the green light to goose it out like they did is. Porsche was in close vicinity but the woes that sent out car #911 meant that only #912 was left standing and it was no match at the end for the two C7-Rs. Of the 100% brand-new cars, the Corvettes and Porsches being were new iterations based upon older designs, the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 came home fourth and BMW’s IMSA-only M6 GTLM scored fifth.
Continue reading for the full story.
Toyo Tires and Desert Trophy Truck Champ BJ Baldwin have teamed up yet again for the third installment of Recoil. If you’re not familiar with the videos, take a look at part 1 and part 2, but not before hanging your head in shame. Each video outdoes the last one with high-flying jumps, a crazy hooning, and some type of furry, yet menacing woodland creature. (You should have been keeping up all along.)
Anyway, Recoil 3: Sasquatch Hunter showcases Baldwin’s hand-built, 800-horsepower, Baja race ready Chevrolet truck in all the right ways. Its massive coil-over shocks and robust suspension system allow the truck to jump over intense obstacles and land without breaking a bolt – time and time again. The outrageous amount of horsepower spewing from the V-8 allows for smoky burnouts, no matter the speed. The slow-motion footage shows just how much abuse the truck can handle.
But who’s BJ Baldwin, you ask? He’s the back-to-back winner of the Desert Trophy Truck Championship in 2010 and 2011, the winner of SCORE-international Trophy Truck competition in 2006 and 2008, and has more than 18 years of racing experience behind his name.
Though Baldwin has a serious racing career, these videos are all about having fun. And if the impressive jumps aren’t enough to impress you, the truck’s ability drift sideways without flipping over or blowing a tire will. Much of that credit can be given to the truck’s wide stance and the beadlock wheels holding the Toyo tires in place.
It’s been about two years since Chevrolet launched the seventh-generation Corvette and Callaway announced a GT3 racing program for the sports car. At last, the brand’s German-based motorsport division has finally introduced its track-only Vette. Dubbed the Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R, the new race car made its official debut at the Hockenheimring track in Germany as a successor to the Corvette C6-based Callaway Z06.R GT3.
Set to hit the track in official racing events in 2016, the GT3.R was built to meet all FIA rules and regulations, meaning it is eligible for the GTLM class of the United SportsCar Championship, the Blancpain Endurance Series, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
"We wanted to set another milestone in our company’s history with our new design, developing and constructing a future-proof vehicle that will be produced from 2016 and used for many years to come," said Ernst Wöhr and Giovanni Ciccone, managing partners of Callaway Competition. "As a small, privately owned team, we knew from the outset that approaching a project of this magnitude would be very daring. Therefore, first and foremost, we have to thank our employees and partners who have made it possible to finally set the C7 GT3-R on its wheels,"
The first C7 GT3-R to be campaigned by Callaway Competition’s in-house race team will be sponsored by Whelen Engineering of Connecticut.
Continue reading to learn more about the Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R.
The Race of Gentlemen might not be a racing event you’ve heard about given its young age, but it certainly doesn’t lack history. Taking place on the sands of Wildwood, New Jersey, folks come from across the country to compete in a drag race in custom-built racecars and motorcycles that date back to the first half of the 20th century.
Established in 2012 by the Oilers Car Club – a group steeped in just as much history – the race features cars no newer than 1935 and motorcycles no newer than 1948. Even the parts allowed on competing cars are capped at 1953, giving the growing event a very eclectic and period-correct feel. Think of it like a modern day version of a Bonneville Salt Flat race.
Despite the modern times, no woman has ever competed in a TROG race – until now. Set to race in this October is gearhead Jessi Combs. Her records speak volumes about her mindset and passion in the automotive world. She’s the fastest woman recorded on four wheels, accomplished TV show host, and graduate of WyoTech’s collision and Refinishing Core Program. Jessi will lead an all-women’s team sponsored by Craftsman at this year’s TROG. Their vehicle of choice is a Ford Model T that takes inspiration from the famed Ford 999 racer.
Best of all, Craftsman giving away two tickets for TROG, including travel and accommodations, for this year’s event taking place October 2-4, 2015. The winner and his friend will get a ride in the Craftsman racer, along with time in the pits with Jessi and the Craftsman Crew, including dinner and a professional photo for posterity. In order to win, you’ve got to join the Craftsman Club (here) where members can enter daily to win (here).
The second day of qualifying for the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans brought sad news for Corvette fans, as the No. 63 car was withdrawn from the race following a crash at the Porsche Curves. As Jan Magnussen was trying to improve its qualifying time, a mechanical issue sent his C7.R into the wall, which resulted in damage to both the front and rear of the race car. Corvette Racing found that the car was damaged "beyond immediate repair" and decided to pull it from this weekend’s race.
Fortunately enough, Magnussen escaped unscathed from the impact. Although he had to be helped out of the car and sent to Le Mans’ medical center, the Danish driver was released after a series of standard tests.
“We are thankful that Jan has been checked and released by the ACO medical staff. We are disappointed that the No. 63 Corvette C7.R will be unable to compete at Le Mans this year. The Corvette Racing team put a lot of work into preparing two C7.Rs for this event, and unfortunately only one will be in the race,” said Mark Kent, Director of Chevrolet Racing.
This is the first time Corvette Racing has had to pull an entry at Le Mans.
Based on its results by the time of the crash, the No. 63 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R would have started the race in 40th position overall and sixth in the LM GTE Pro class.
Continue reading for the full story.
The next round of IndyCar racing kicks off this weekend in Motor City with the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit, and leading the pack will be top bowtie-brass Mark Reuss at the helm of a Corvette Z06. Reuss has had earlier experience as an honorary pace driver, taking up the responsibility previously at the 2013 Dual in Detroit in a 2014 Stingray. He’s also a self-professed lover of motorsports.
“I’m thrilled to drive the Corvette Z06 pace car at this year’s Grand Prix,” Reuss said in a press release. “Growing up here and having the opportunity to help bring this great event to racing fans in Detroit has been very exciting, and the privilege of driving the pace car makes it even more special for me."
Reuss’ official title may be executive vice president of Global Product Development and Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, but that doesn’t mean he’s just some suit-and-tie stiff – additional items on Reuss’ resume include certification as an industry pool test driver on the North Course of the infamous Nurburgring race track in Germany. Back in 2001, he also created and led GM’s Performance Division, taking responsibility for the firm’s racing vehicles, plus production versions of Chevy’s SS models and the Cadillac V-Series.
The races will take place May 30th and 31st as the only doubleheader for the 2015 IndyCar season.
Continue reading for the full story.
Last weekend, the Toyota Mirai became the first hydrogen-fueled car to pace a NASCAR race, replacing the more common, V-8-powered Chevys and Fords for the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway. Now, it seems that things are back to normal in the U.S. racing scene, with IndyCar nominating the 2015 Corvette Z06 to pace the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24th. Yay!
More good news comes from the fact that the Indy-liveried Z06 will be driven by four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon. The organizer’s choice isn’t surprising here, as Gordon is also a five-time Brickyard 400 winner, also held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon, now in his 23rd NASCAR season (man I feel old), has never competed in the Indianapolis 500, meaning he will turn his first laps during the famed event in a pace car.
"It’s great to have Jeff Gordon serve as this year’s pace car driver,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “He is a true champion who has earned the respect and admiration of competitors and race fans alike."
Gordon, who is retiring from full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at the end of the 2015 season, will also compete in the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 the same day. The 43-year-old will fly to Charlotte Motor Speedway as soon as the checkered flag drops at Indianapolis. What a guy!
Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
NASCAR is one of those uniquely American things, much like baseball, Mount Rushmore, and Chuck Norris. Oh, and corn whiskey, also known as moonshine, white lightning, and mountain dew. That’s where the popular motorsport got its start at least; rum runners evading the lawman in souped-up cars barreling down back roads like the Duke Boys. It was all in an effort to make a living off selling illegally brewed alcohol without paying taxes on it.
Over the years the illicit practice of rum running morphed into what is now the National Association of Stock Car Racing, attracting fans the world over to its high speeds and memorable drivers.
Earlier this NASCAR season, I had the chance at a behind-the-scenes look into the cars, pit crews, and drivers – all off the track but still turning wrenches and dressed in Nomex. Except for Aric Almirola, driver of the 43 car, I actually drove him around the track in the back of a Toyota Tundra. But those details are down below.