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Most powerful Corvette to pace Indy 500

It will be the 11th time for a Corvette and the 23rd time for a Chevrolet to pace the big race

Published: May 14, 2012, 2:00 PM

2012 Corvette ZR1 Indy Pace Car

For the 11th time in the 101-year history of the Indianapolis 500, a Chevrolet Corvette will lead the field of 33 to the green flag on May 27. Not just any Corvette but a 2013 ZR1.

With a supercharged, 6.2-litre LS9 engine rated at 638 horsepower, the ZR1 is not only the most powerful production Corvette ever, it's the most powerful production car ever to pace the race.

With a projected top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph), it's also potentially the fastest production pace car ever.

General Motors says the ZR1 is capable of accelerating from 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) in 3.4 seconds. It has lapped the famed Nurburgring’ Nordschleife ("north loop") in 7:19.63 (minutes:seconds).

The 2013 model year is the 60th anniversary of the Corvette's introduction as well as the final year of production for the current generation (C6) model. An all-new C7 model is scheduled for model-year 2014.

"Chevrolet is a great partner of the Speedway, and we share in the excitement of the upcoming 60th anniversary of the iconic Corvette brand," said said Jeff Belskus, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"It’s even more meaningful to see a Chevrolet pacing the field at Indy since Chevy has returned as an engine supplier for the IZOD IndyCar Series for the first time since 2005," he added.

Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus engines are all competing in the IndyCar series in 2012. Chevrolet-powered cars have won all the first four races.

"This is a truly momentous year for Chevrolet when it comes to performance, with our continued success on and off track, and especially with our return to the IndyCar Series, powering some of the fastest cars on the circuit," said Jim Campbell, GM vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports.

This will be the 23rd time a Chevrolet has paced "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." The first Chevrolet selected as the Indianapolis 500 pace car was the 1948 Fleetmaster Six.

The brand would subsequently supply the pace car for the 500 more than any other manufacturer. In addition to the Fleetmaster Six, the list of Chevy pace cars includes:

1955 Bel Air

1967 Camaro

1969 Camaro

1978 Corvette

1982 Camaro

1986 Corvette

1990 Beretta

1993 Camaro

1995 Corvette

1998 Corvette

1999 Monte Carlo

2002 Corvette

2003 SSR

2004 Corvette

2005 Corvette

2006 Corvette

2007 Corvette

2008 Corvette

2009 Camaro

2010 Camaro

2011 Camaro

2013 Corvette

Corvette 60th Anniversary Package

The Corvette Pace Car features an exterior paint scheme and full body length stripe similar to that of the 60th Anniversary Package being made available on all 2013 Corvette models.

The 60th Anniversary Package features an Arctic White exterior with a Blue Diamond leather-wrapped interior with suede accents. Convertible models will have a blue top.

Additional content includes a ZR1-style rear spoiler, special badging, gray-painted brake calipers and the "60th" logo on the wheel center caps, steering wheel and seat headrests.

An optional graphics package adds full-length racing stripes in Pearl Silver Blue, including a tonal stripe stitched into the convertible top, extending the graphic theme over the roof.

For 2013, all Corvettes will feature 60th Anniversary badges on the fascias and the "waterfall" panel on convertible models, as well as 60th logos in the instrument panel guage cluster and on the sill plates.