As the 2019 Indianapolis 500 race nears, it will be the 103rd running of this spectacle, and the 16th time the Chevrolet Corvette will run as Indy’s pace car. The pace car will be a 2019 Chevy Corvette Grand Sport in Long Beach Red. In early April, 55 days before the pace Corvettes lead the field of 33 drivers to the green flag, these beauties were lined up in anticipation of the Festival Parade.
The C7 Corvette in this eye-catching red tone, will lead the 33-car field during the formation of the race and pace laps, as well as during any caution flag periods throughout its 200 laps. Indy tradition is to then present the winner of the race with the keys to one of the pace vehicles.
If you’re in and around Indy in the next month, keep an eye out for one of these C7 beauties cruising around town, driven by business leaders and dignitaries. You can’t miss the Indy 500 logo on the side.
The 500 Festival Parade takes place on the Saturday before the race (May 25), and all 33 Vettes will be in the parade. It’s quite a site.
Chevrolet has been the pace car-represented by one model or another-since 1948 when the Fleetmaster Six convertible led the field. More than any other brand, Chevrolet is synonymous with Indy 500 and they do it with pride. The Corvette is a car steeped in racing heritage.
The 2019 Corvette Grand Sport has some impressive stats: 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, powered by 460 horsepower, with 465 lb-ft of torque. An American icon, the Corvette features performance suspension with magnetic ride control, Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, Grand Sport aluminum wheels (19-inch in front, 20-inch in back), carbon flash painted carbon fiber ground effects package, competition sport bucket seats and a performance data recorder, among other goodies.
Teamed with Chevy’s 460 horsepower engine is an 8-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission.
Over the years, if you've read the critics, you’ve gotten various lists of the 10 Worst Indy Cars chosen to ever pace the laps. Indy Star’s Joe Tamborello recently published a piece on some of these ‘non-cars.’ A subjective list, to be sure, though I have to agree there were some bizarre choices.
The majority of the pace cars have belonged in the GM stable, with a smattering here and there from Ford and Chrysler. There have been, over the years, a few obvious omissions that are a surprise to me: The Ford Thunderbird, the Mercury Cougar, and the smashing GM Buick Riviera convertible.
The 10 Worst Indy 500 Pace Cars, according to Tamborello:
*2001 Olds Bravada (what? A SUV??)-Olds’ last ‘new’ model).
*1991 Dodge Stealth-almost! Because it was engineered by Mitsubishi, Indy went with the Viper RT/10. Good trade.
*1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
*1984 Pontiac Fiero
*1986 Chevrolet Corvette
*1997 Olds Aurora
*1962 Studebaker Lark Daytona
*1985 Olds Calais
*1938 Hudson 112
*1971 Dodge Challenger
In other Corvette news, on the heels of the 103rd 2019 Indy 500,the much anticipated 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 will be introduced to the public; supposedly on July 18, 2019. After years of teasing news spots and spy photos, the 2020 C8 mid-engine Corvette will make its first public appearance.
The C8 will launch, according to Car and Drivers website, in the base Stingray trim version, with an updated 6.2-liter V8, and around 500 horsepower. The car will have many high-performance options. The transmission will be the automatic, rather than a manual transmission.
The C7 Stingray starts at $56,995. Car & Driver predicts a $5,000 increase ($62,000) for the all-new C8. Although the public will get a look at the C8 on July 19, it won’t be available for sale until later in the year. Rumor has it, there are still a few quirks being worked out.
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