A Corvette will again lead 33 Indy cars to the green flag of the Indianapolis 500, as the 2019 ZR1 version of the iconic sports car has been named the official pace car of 102nd running of the legendary race during the US Memorial Day weekend.
This will be the 15th time in 40 years that the performance coupe has served as the race’s pace car (including five straight years from 2004 to 2008, inclusive), making it by far the car to most often play that role. It’s also the 29th Chevrolet to serve in the role (dating back to a 1948 Fleetmaster Six convertible).
“Chevrolet is proud to once again pace the Indianapolis 500,” said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet marketing director for Cars and Crossovers. “The ZR1 is the most powerful and fastest Corvette ever made. It’s the perfect choice to pace ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’”
Aside from looking like your typical production Corvette ZR1, the Deep Blue Official Pace Car will feature a unique Indy 500 graphics package and a fully-integrated safety strobe system from GM Design, as well as a performance data and video recorder. There is no word yet on whether a commemorative limited edition will be offered to the public.
The Official Pace Car uses the ZTK Performance Package that features an adjustable carbon fibre high rear wing, with a performance suspension locating chrome aluminum wheels (19 inches in front; 20 at the rear) shod with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.
Among the features that will serve the car well on the 2.5-mile oval are Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, magnetic selective ride control, performance traction management and limited slip rear differential. Power is provided by the 755-hp LT5 Small Block 6.2-litre supercharged V-8 (making 715 lb-ft of torque) controlled by an 8-speed paddle-shift automatic. The car’s top speed tops 341 km/h (212 mph), which is a bit slower than the 220-230 mph the field will run in qualifying.
“Chevrolet and IMS enjoy one of the longest-running and strongest bonds in motorsports,” concluded J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “Seeing all of the incredible Corvettes that have paced the Indianapolis 500 on the track today is an exciting reminder of the rich history of this great relationship. This year’s Pace Car, the 2019 Corvette ZR1, is an incredible fast machine that is a perfect fit to lead the 500 field to the green flag.”