Chevrolet Unveils Two Unique '08 Corvette Indy 500 Pace CarsTwo-time Indy 500 Champion Emerson Fittipaldi to Drive Corvette Z06 E85 Concept Pace Car at 92nd Indianapolis 500
Known for their charismatic designs and superior performance, the pack-leading pace cars share a special place in Indianapolis 500 lore. History will be made at the 2008 Indianapolis 500 when a pair of distinctive yet highly differentiated Corvette models will serve as the official pace cars – one highlighting Chevrolet's commitment to fuel solutions and the other marking 30 years of Corvette's pace car heritage.
Chevrolet and Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials gathered at the Indianapolis Auto Show to make the historic announcement.
One of the pace cars is a customized Corvette Z06 E85 concept that runs on E85 ethanol fuel, a domestically produced alternative fuel similar to the E100 fuel that powers all of the racecars in the IndyCar Series. It will be driven during the race's pace lap by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi.
The other official pace car is a black-and-silver commemorative edition that marks the 30th anniversary of the celebrated 1978 pace car – the first Corvette to pace the field at the Indianapolis 500. Chevrolet will produce a total of 500 pace car replicas in both coupe and convertible form, each signed personally by Fittipaldi at the Corvette's Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant.
'Although not a production FlexFuel vehicle, the Corvette Z06 E85 concept pace car is a high-performance example of Chevrolet's gas-friendly to gas-free initiative, demonstrating viable fuel solutions,' said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. 'As an ethanol refiner in his native Brazil, Emerson Fittipaldi is the fitting Chevrolet champion to help support GM's efforts with E85 and celebrate 30 years of the Corvette pacing the Indianapolis 500.'
The 92nd Indianapolis 500 takes place on Sunday, May 25, 2008. It will be the Corvette's 10th appearance as the official pace car – a record unmatched by any other vehicle.
'It's only fitting that Corvette will be the first car to earn the distinction of having two models pace the Indianapolis 500 in the same year,' said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer. 'Chevrolet and Corvette are a vital part of the rich history of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,' and we're honored to have a great champion of the race and of alternative fuels, Emerson Fittipaldi, as this year's pace car driver.'
Engine : 6.2 L., 8-cylinder
Power: 436 hp
Torque: 428 ft-lbs
30th Anniversary commemorative edition
Commemorating one of the most recognizable Indianapolis 500 pace cars, the Corvette 30th Anniversary Pace Car features a black exterior with silver graphics that honors the 1978 model – the production replicas of which became instant collectibles and continue to stand as an iconic symbol of Corvette's heritage at the front of the Indy field.
In addition to the exterior color scheme, the anniversary models are equipped with a special, two-tone titanium-color interior, with the Indianapolis 500 logo embroidered on the seats. Coupe and convertible models are available. Each replica will be personally signed and numbered by Emerson Fittipaldi.
Both the coupe and convertible come equipped with Corvette's 3LT option package, Z51 performance package and dual-mode exhaust. Additional features include:
• Choice of six-speed manual or six-speed paddle-shift automatic transmissions
• LS3 small block V8 with 436 hp
• New-for-2008 forged chrome five-spoke aluminum wheels
• Corvette Z06 rear spoiler
• Silver checkered flag graphics
• Indy 500 logo fender badges
• More information on pricing and availability will be announced a later date.Corvette at Indy
The 2008 edition of the Indianapolis 500 represents Corvette's 10th time as the official pace car – and a record fifth-consecutive year – and Chevrolet's 19th time as the manufacturer selected to lead the field. Corvette's pace years and details include:
1978 – Driven by 1960 race winner Jim Rathmann; Chevrolet produced 6,502 production replicas
1986 – Driven by famed pilot Chuck Yeager; all 7,315 production convertibles were considered pace car convertibles and included official graphics (to be installed at the owner's discretion)
1995 – Driven by then Chevrolet General Manager Jim Perkins; 527 production replicas produced
1998 – Driven by 1963 race winner Parnelli Jones when an injury prevented golfer Greg Norman from performing the duty; 1,158 production replicas produced
2002 – Driven by actor Jim Caviezel; no production replicas produced but graphics were available through SPO – approximately 300 sets sold
2004 – Driven by actor Morgan Freeman; no production replicas produced
2005 – Driven by General Colin Powell; no production replicas produced
2006 – Driven by cycling champion Lance Armstrong; first Corvette Z06 pace car; no production replicas produced
2007 – Driven by actor Patrick Dempsey; 500 production replicas – all convertibles
2008 – Driven by Emerson Fittipaldi; 500 production replicas – coupes and convertibles
The Indianapolis 500 is the largest single-day spectator sporting event and the most prestigious auto race in the world. 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing' has been run every year since 1911 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, except for the periods during the Únited States' participation in world wars in 1917-18 and 1942-45. The winner of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 will earn racing immortality, a spot on the famed Borg-Warner Trophy and a record winner's purse of at least $2.5 million.Source - Chevrolet