The new seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette has been chosen to lead the field to green at the 97th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26. It is the 12th time in the history of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" that a Corvette has served as the pace car.
"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," remarked 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."
With Chevrolet having returned to IndyCar last year as an engine supplier, the announcement of the Stingray as this year's pace car only serves to underscore the historical bond between these two American institutions.
"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."
Aside from a few track-mandated safety features, strobe lighting, and a set of official Indianapolis 500 door graphics, the Laguna Blue Stingray will remain factory stock. The new 6.2L LT1 engine ensures that no powertrain upgrades are required to keep the Vette running ahead of the IndyCar pack. Advanced technologies such as direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing, and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) yield an estimated output of 450 horsepower.
The Stingray pace car will also be equipped with the track-oriented Z51 Performance Package, complete with 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 all-new C7 Corvette is an ideal choice for the role of pace car, as Chevrolet shares a long history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500, and the Izod IndyCar Series. The carmaker was founded in 1911, the same year the 500-mile race came to be. The Chevrolet brothers-Louis, Arthur, and Gaston-all competed in early 500s, with Gaston Chevrolet winning the event in 1920.
From 1986-93 and 2002-05, Chevy competed in Indy-style competition as an engine manufacturer with V-8 powerplants. The division returned to the circuit in 2012 with a direct-injected twin-turbo V-6. During that span, Chevy engines won 118 IndyCar races, powered seven driver series champions, and scored seven Indy 500 victories.
The C7 Stingray's appearance marks the 24th time a Chevrolet has served as the official Indy 500 Pace Car, more than any other carmaker.
The '14 Corvette Stingray coupe races into dealerships this fall, with the convertible model following a few months later.