The Chevrolet Camaro is heading back to Indianapolis to again perform pacing duties, this time in the milestone 100th anniversary of the iconic race, and in the 50th anniversary year of the car.
Racing and Indy legend Roger Penske will handle the driving duties, at the wheel of a unique 2017 Camaro SS. Penske and Camaro share the 50th anniversary banner, with Penske celebrating 50 years as team owner.
This also marks Camaro’s ninth turn at pacing the field to the green flag, second only to the Corvette (which has paced the field 13 times), although Camaro’s Pontiac sibling (the Firebird, in Trans Am guise) has paced the race twice.
Since Chevrolets exclusive contract to supply pace cars (since 2002), the race has been paced by either Camaro or Corvette. Chevrolets have paced the race 27 times, and General Motors has provided the majority of pace cars in the race’s century, now with 52 appearances.
“Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500 have a long, storied history and it’s an honour to mark the respective milestones of the Indy 500 and the Camaro simultaneously,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development and Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “It’s also a privilege to have Roger Penske perform the driving duties, as his team has helped Chevrolet earn four consecutive IndyCar manufacturer titles since 2012.”
The pace Camaros (four SS models in total for the race), are clad in Abalone White with the appropriate graphics on the doors and Indianapolis insignia on the quarter panels. They will also carry the unique Camaro 50th Anniversary badges.
That’s the extent of the “unique” features for the pace car, which retains the 455-hp 6.2-litre V-8 that makes 455 lb-ft of torque, so it doesn’t need enhancements to keep ahead of the field under controlled conditions.
The 50th Anniversary Camaro comes in 2LT (with the RS package) and 2SS trim, available in both coupe and convertible bodystyles. They feature unique grille and satin chrome trim, and specific 20 inch wheels (with appropriate badging) showing orange brake calipers.
Unlike the pace car, they come in Nightfall Grey Metallic (the convertible features a black top) with stripes and badges to highlight the edition (all of which make it to the pace car), and a body-colour front splitter. The unique black and orange interior (black leather with orange suede inserts and stitching) also get Anniversary treatment on the instrument panel, door sills and seatbacks.
The SS gets the 6.2 V-8, but the 2LT gets power from a standard 275 hp 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-dylinder or an optional 335-hp 3.6-litre V-6. Each is linked to a six-speed manual or 8-speed automatic.