Part 2: 2002-2008
If you think Corvettes have paced the Indianapolis 500 more than any other car in the 21st century, you're absolutely right. In the first decade of the new millennium, America's Favorite Sports Car has launched the annual Memorial Day weekend race six out of ten times-in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Of course, the car's association with the 500 goes back much further than that. As we wrote last month in Part 1 of "Pace Setters," Corvettes also paced the race four times prior to 2002-in 1978, 1986, 1995, and 1998-bringing the marque's Indy Pace Car total to 10, more than any other vehicle in the event's 99-year history.
The Corvette Pace Car Registry (www.corvettepacecarregistry.com) groups Indy 500 Vettes into the following four categories:
These are the actual Corvettes used to pace the race. The number varies from year to year, but Chevrolet typically supplies three or more Corvettes when the car is selected as the pace vehicle.
Chevy sends these Corvettes to the Speedway to be used by IMS officials and city VIPs (including the mayor, the police chief, media representatives, and others) during the month of May and at the race.
The city of Indianapolis holds an Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade during May; each of the 33 festival-committee members is assigned a Corvette (or other Chevy model), which he or she drives during the parade and at other festival committee functions.
Pace Car Replicas
In addition, Chevy has often created limited-edition Indy 500 Pace Car replicas for sale to the public. These replica Corvettes are neither pace cars, track cars, nor festival cars, and they have no direct involvement in the race.
This month we'll spotlight the Corvettes that have paced the 500 since 2002, along with the festival and track cars that played supporting roles for both the race and the city during the month of May.