It's not surprising that the new Corvette Stingray will be the pace car for the 2013 Indianapolis 500-you almost had to expect it. What is a bit shocking is that this is the 12th time it's paced the big race since 1978, and no replicas will be offered for public consumption.
Chevy sold 6,502 '78 Pace Cars at a $4,300 premium over the base Corvette. This was when the base price of the two-seater was still under $10,000. Many were marked up significantly over the sticker price. Whether tastefully done or not, these Pace Car replicas are usually good moneymakers for dealers.
"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."
In other news, it has been revealed that the C7 will weigh in around 3,298 lbs, just about the same as the C6, despite extensive weight saving measures (the aluminum frame saves 100 lbs alone). Much of this has to do with the better materials used inside and more standard features. Extra weight also comes from the LT1 engine's fuel-saving direct injection system and new government-mandated safety gear.
In a grand departure from some of its predecessors, the Pace Car is tastefully done. The color is Laguna Blue Tintcoat with official Indianapolis 500 graphics on the doors, and the Corvette Stingray Pace Car differs from production models with only track-mandated safety features and strobe lights. Those who remember the decal-laden metallic purple convertibles with bright yellow interiors from 1998 will breathe a sigh of relief The Corvette Pace Car features the track-ready Z51 package.
Chevrolet has a long shared history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and the IZOD 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.
The year 2013 marks the 24th time a Chevrolet has served as the official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500, more than any other brand, dating to 1948 with a Chevrolet Fleetmaster. Camaro has served in the role seven times.