2015 indy 500
Patrick Rall's picture

2016 Camaro Could Debut at the Front of the Indy 500 Field

A new rumor has hit the internet, suggesting that the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro could make its grand global introduction when it paces the field of the 2015 Indianapolis 500 race, following in the footsteps of so many Camaro models in the past – but would GM really debut the 6th gen Camaro on the track?
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We know that the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro will usher in the 6th generation of the fabled GM muscle car, but the automaker has done an incredible job of keeping the new model under wraps. Sure, there have been some spy shots and videos captured of the 6th gen Camaro testing as well as a leaked image of a body side stamping press, but we really don’t know anything about the 2016 car. According to the folks at AutoEvolution, we could get our first look at the new Camaro on Sunday, May 24th, when it serves as the Pace Car for the 2015 Indy 500.

The Mysterious 6th gen Camaro
While we have been able to guess at things like engine options and trimlines for the 2016 Camaro, we still don’t know when the new Camaro might finally be introduced. There were rumors that it would drop in LA last year, then Detroit in January, then Chicago last month, but all of those major auto shows have come and gone with only grainy teaser images of the 2016 Camaro shown in background videos during other model debuts. That leaves the New York International Auto Show as the only major event before LA next fall, but the Big Apple show already has a trio of big debuts scheduled, including the new Chevy Spark, the new Chevy Malibu and the new Cadillac CT6.

Those three debuts set for New York lead me (and most other people) to believe that the next generation Camaro will not debut at the 2015 NYIAS and if the 6th gen is to debut as a 2016 model year vehicle, it would almost certainly have to debut before the fall – which new model year vehicles typically go on sale. With no major auto shows in the summer, that leaves us wondering if perhaps GM will go a non-traditional route to introduce the 6th gen Camaro and based on other new models, a debut at the 2015 Indy 500 could be in the cards.

The Non-Traditional Debut
Ten years ago, when something as exciting as a new generation of a fabled American muscle car was introduced, it would have been the centerpiece of a company’s high priced display at a major auto show. Shows in Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York have all played host to major American performance car debuts, but over the past few years, we have seen a shift away from the full-blown auto show debut. The problem is that when you debut a new car at a major auto show, it is surrounded by other new debuts that can steal some of the attention and because of that, automakers have started coming up with unique ways to introduce new models in a way that makes them the only attraction.

For example, when General Motors introduced the C7 Corvette, they did so at a private event the night before the Detroit Auto Show and when Ford introduced the new 2015 Mustang, they did so at a handful of locations around the world, independent of any auto shows.
For high profile cars with high levels of enthusiast interest, these standalone debut events allow the company to introduce a new vehicle without any of the competition so it would make sense that the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro could be introduced on one of the biggest stages in the automotive world – at the front of the field for the 2015 Indy 500.

Camaro is a Familiar Pace Car
Should the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro serve as the Official Pace Car for the 2015 Indianapolis 500, it will be the 19th straight time that a General Motors vehicle has been the official vehicle of the Indy 500. Camaros have previously served as the Indy 500 Pace Car in 1967, 1969, 1982, 1993, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014, and in the past ten years, the Camaro and Corvette have been the only cars to serve as the Indy 500 Pace Car.

In other words, it would certainly make sense for the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro to be the Official Pace Car of the 2015 Indy 500. However, will that appearance be the first time that the world will see the new muscle car, or will GM introduce it at a standalone event beforehand? Only time will tell, but should the New York International Auto Show open and close without a new Camaro, the 6th generation car will almost certainly be unveiled at an event of its own.


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