The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will lead the field and a hungry pack of Chevy powered Indy Cars to the green flag of the Indy 500, serving as the pace car for the 97th running of the Memorial Day weekend classic. Seventeen other Chevrolet cars earned field spots and driver Ed Carpenter will start off the pole with fellow Chevrolet drivers Carlos Muñoz and Marco Andretti completing the front row. Chevrolet is excited to continue its historic relationship with the race.
“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 U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports.
The Chevrolet IndyCar drivers are looking forward to the whole experience too.
“I really enjoy the [Indy 500] and all that goes with it,” said Carpenter. “There is nothing else in racing like the tradition of the opening ceremonies.”
The pace laps were implemented to give drivers the chance to warm up their engines, tires and allow for a rolling start. This marks a record 12th time Corvette has held the pace car honor since its first pace lap in 1978. It also marks the 24th time that Chevrolet has served as the pace car at Indy.
Known as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, the Indy 500 is about much more than which driver will take the checkered flag. It is an opportunity for auto makers to take a production car and make it worthy of the Indy 500 badge. The Indy pace car represents the best in American automotive technology.
“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.”
The Corvette Stingray Pace Car will be virtually stock, as is traditional, but it will have the Z51 Performance Package, which adds an electronic limited-slip differential, a dry-sump oil system, an aero package for high-speed stability, and integral cooling for the brakes, differential and transmission.
The only difference between the pace car – decked out in Laguna Blue Tintcoat with official Indy 500 graphics on the doors – and Stingray production models are track-mandated safety features and strobe lights. The strobe lights are added so drivers and fans can see the car. Turning them off indicates the race will begin on the next lap.
No powertrain upgrades are required to run in front of the IndyCar pack, thanks to its all-new 6.2L LT1 engine, which features advanced technologies including direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation). They help efficiently produce an estimated 450 horsepower. Pace cars traditionally travel 70-80 mph with a max around 100 mph.
San Francisco 49ers head coach and former Indianapolis Colts quarterback, Jim Harbaugh, will be the official pace car driver. Several celebrities have been Chevrolet Corvette pace car drivers over the years, including Morgan Freeman, Gen. Colin Powell, Patrick Dempsey and The Food Network’s Guy Fieri.
All the action starts at 11 a.m. EDT Sunday, with live television coverage on ABC. In addition, the famed race will be broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211 and www.indycar.com.