The 2017 Indy 500 Pace Car is the Corvette Grand Sport
Early last month, we brought you the news of the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible serving as the Festival Car for the 2017 Indianapolis 500, but it will be a new Chevrolet Corvette which leads the Indy 500 field to the green flag when the race takes place on May 28th. To be exact, the track-ready Corvette Grand Sport, which incorporates handling bits of the Z06 with the drivetrain of the Stingray for an “affordable” road-handling monster.
“Chevrolet is proud to once again pace the Indianapolis 500,” said Steve Majoros, marketing director for Cars and Crossovers. “The Corvette Grand Sport’s performance capability and motorsports heritage make it the perfect choice to pace the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
The 14th Corvette Indy Pace Car
When the C7 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport leads the 2017 Indy 500 field to the green flag, it will mark the 14th time that the race has been paced by a Corvette. The first Indy 500 Corvette pace car hit the track back in 1978, when a C3 Corvette led the field. The C4 Corvette was the Indy 500 Pace Car twice (1986, 1995), the C5 Corvette was the Indy 500 Pace Car three times (1998, 2002, 2004), the C6 Corvette was the pace car five times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012) and with the 2017 running, the C7 Corvette will have been the pace car three times (also in 2013 and 2015).
In addition to being the 14th time for the Corvette, the 2017 Indy 500 with mark the 28th time where a Chevrolet product has led the field. The first Chevy Indy Pace Car came back in 1948, when the Fleetmaster Six was chosen. Since then, other Chevrolet pace cars have included the Bel Air, the Camaro (9 times), the Beretta Convertible, the Monte Carlo, the SSR and, of course, the Corvette.
No vehicle has served as the Indy 500 Pace Car more frequently than the Corvette and no automaker has produced the Indy 500 Pace Car more frequently than Chevrolet. The Camaro is the second most frequent pace car.
“Chevrolet and Indianapolis are inextricably linked, sharing one of the longest racing heritages in all of motorsports,” said J. Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We are proud of the longstanding relationship between Chevrolet and the Speedway and we love having the Corvette Grand Sport lead the 500 field to the green flag.”
Finally, in addition to being the Indy 500 Pace Car more often than any other models, the Camaro and Corvette have put together quite a streak. Either a Corvette or Camaro have been the Indy 500 Pace Car every year since 2004. In 2003, the Chevrolet SSR was the pace car and in 2002, it was another Corvette – so since 2002, every single Indy 500 Pace Car has worn the Chevy bowtie.
On top of that, General Motors’ other brands have often been the Indy 500 Pace Car, so before Chevrolet began its streak in 2002, the Oldsmobile and Chevrolet brands took turns as the lead car back to 1997. 1996 was the last time that the Indy 500 Pace Car was not from General Motors, and a Dodge Viper GTS was the pace car that year.
At this rate, it appears as though Chevrolet will be leading the Indy 500 field well into the foreseeable future.