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Indianapolis 500 Corvettes - Pace Setters

A Look Back At The Corvettes That Really Paced The Indianapolis 500

Christopher R. Phillip Mar 9, 2011
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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.

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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 ( groups Indy 500 Vettes into the following four categories:

Pace Cars
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.

Track Cars
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.

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Festival Cars
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.

Corvette Pace Car Facts and Figures (2002-2008)

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Event: 86th Annual Indianapolis 500
Date: May 26, 2002
Pace Car Driver: Actor Jim Caviezel
Pace Cars Produced: 3 (The actual pace car was a pilot-line '03 50th Anniversary Corvette.)
Track/Festival Cars Produced: 66 (Due to the early kickoff of Corvette's 50th Anniversary celebration and a lack of '03 Anniversary cars, Chevy sent 33 QuickSilver and 33 Yellow '02 Corvette convertibles with a limited graphics package to IMS to serve as track/festival cars.)
Replica Pace Cars Produced: 0

Event: 88th Annual Indianapolis 500
Date: May 30, 2004
Pace Car Driver: Actor Morgan Freeman
Pace Cars Produced: 3
Track/Festival Cars Produced: 67/0 (Chevy sent 44 LeMans Blue Corvette convertibles to the event; each carried a member of the U.S. Military during a prerace parade lap. A total of 23 Arctic White convertibles with red and blue decals were used as track cars by event officials. Both the blue and the white convertibles wore a variation of the graphics used on the actual Z06 pace car.)
Replica Pace Cars Produced: 1

Event: 89th Annual Indianapolis 500
Date: May 29, 2005
Pace Car Driver: Retired Army General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell
Pace Cars Produced: 3
Track/Festival Cars Produced: 8/0 (A total of eight Victory Red Corvette convertibles were used on race day. These did not have the silver center stripe, logo-embroidered headrests, and graphics that appeared on the actual pace cars.)
Replica Pace Cars Produced: 2

Event: 90th Annual Indianapolis 500
Date: May 28, 2006
Pace Car Driver: Multiple Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong
Pace Cars Produced: 3
Track/Festival Cars Produced: 71 (Estimated total. A total of 30 LeMans Blue Corvettes were sent to the track, and eight additional Victory Red Corvette convertibles assisted on race day. No Corvette festival cars were provided.)
Replica Pace Cars Produced: 0

Event: 91st Annual Indianapolis 500
Date: May 27, 2007
Pace Car Driver: Actor Patrick Dempsey
Pace Cars Produced: 3
Track/Festival Cars Produced: 57+
Replica Pace Cars Produced: 500

Event: 92nd Annual Indianapolis 500
Date: May 25, 2008
Pace Car Driver: Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi
Pace Cars Produced: 5 (Three were Black/Silver base cars; the remaining two were E85-powered, Gold Rush Green Z06s.)
Track/Festival Cars Produced: Produced 60 (42 convertibles and 18 coupes; all were Black/Silver)
Replica Pace Cars Produced: 500



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