Two corvettes, representing the future and past, have been selected to pace the 2008 Indianapolis 500. A customized Z06 E85 Concept allows GM to promote its progress in alternative fuel solutions while the second Corvette pays homage to the first Corvette to ever pace the Indy 500, the 1978 Corvette Pace Car. A 30th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, complete with black and silver graphics will be reproduced as both coupes and convertibles and will have a limited production run of only 500 Corvettes.
This is Corvette’s 10th appearance at the 500 and a record 5th consecutive race serving pace car duties. This race will be unique as it will be the first time that two models have paced the Indianapolis 500 in the same year.
While the E85 concept is intriging, its the 30th Anniversary model that has us stoked. This is perhaps one of the most serious looking pace car designs incorporated since the original scheme 30 years ago. We also like that fact that you can purchase the replica in either Coupe or Convertible configurations, as well as either a 6-speed manual or paddle-shift automatic. This should lead to some interesting variations and quantities when the 500 replicas are produced. Pricing and availability will be annouced at a later date.
The official press release from GM:
INDIANAPOLIS Known for their charismatic designs and superior
performance, the pack-leading pace cars share a special place in Indianapolis
500 lore. History will be made at the 2008 Indianapolis 500 when a pair of distinctive
yet highly differentiated Corvette models will serve as the official pace cars
one highlighting Chevrolet’s commitment to fuel solutions and the other
marking 30 years of Corvette’s pace car heritage.
Chevrolet and Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials gathered at the Indianapolis
Auto Show to make the historic announcement.
One of the pace cars is a customized Corvette Z06 E85 concept that runs on
E85 ethanol fuel, a domestically produced alternative fuel similar to the E100
fuel that powers all of the racecars in the IndyCar Series. It will be driven
during the race’s pace lap by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson
The other official pace car is a black-and-silver commemorative edition that
marks the 30th anniversary of the celebrated 1978 pace car the first Corvette
to pace the field at the Indianapolis 500. Chevrolet will produce a total of
500 pace car replicas in both coupe and convertible form, each signed personally
by Fittipaldi at the Corvette’s Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant.
“Although not a production FlexFuel vehicle, the Corvette Z06 E85 concept
pace car is a high-performance example of Chevrolet’s gas-friendly to gas-free
initiative, demonstrating viable fuel solutions,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet
general manager. “As an ethanol refiner in his native Brazil, Emerson
Fittipaldi is the fitting Chevrolet champion to help support GM’s efforts with
E85 and celebrate 30 years of the Corvette pacing the Indianapolis 500.”
The 92nd Indianapolis 500 takes place on Sunday, May 25, 2008. It will be the
Corvette’s 10th appearance as the official pace car a record unmatched
by any other vehicle.
“It’s only fitting that Corvette will be the first car to earn
the distinction of having two models pace the Indianapolis 500 in the same year,”
said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating
officer. “Chevrolet and Corvette are a vital part of the rich history
of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” and we’re honored to
have a great champion of the race and of alternative fuels, Emerson Fittipaldi,
as this year’s pace car driver.”
Corvette Z06 E85 concept
The Corvette Z06 E85 concept pace car is based on the production Z06 already
one of the fastest and most powerful cars on the market and blends its performance
with the high-octane, renewable alternative fuel that is derived from a variety
of crops grown across the United States.
E85 is blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Its benefits include
reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and a reduced dependence on petroleum.
GM is the leader in E85 production models, with more than 2.5 million E85-capable
cars, trucks and SUVs on the road with more on the way. Chevrolet offers seven
E85-capable models in 2008.
Apart from the fuel system and powertrain controller revisions required to
run E85, the Z06 concept pace car is mechanically stock. It is distinguished
by a unique Gold Rush Green color-shifting paint scheme that changes between
hues of green and gold when viewed from different angles and in different light.
A subtle checkered flag pattern also is part of the paint scheme. Safety equipment
and strobe lights are the only other equipment added to the car.
Emerson Fittipaldi: ambassador of racing and ethanol
After winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1989 and 1993 while driving for Chevrolet
and spending 30 years in his native Brazil as a refiner of ethanol Emerson Fittipaldi
is the perfect ambassador to lead the Indianapolis 500 in an E85-powered Corvette
“Most of the vehicles in Brazil are powered by ethanol produced from
crops grown in the country, so I understand how a domestically produced renewable
fuel can help the energy solutions of a nation,” Fittipaldi said. “And
the E85-powered Z06 concept pace car proves economic and environmental consciousness
can be fun and exhilarating. I can’t wait to get it on the racetrack.”
Fittipaldi, whose personal cars include a Corvette Z06 and a Camaro awarded
after winning the 1993 Indianapolis 500, resides in both Florida and Brazil.
He has interests in several Brazilian ethanol companies and is an ardent champion
of ethanol as a viable alternative to gasoline.
Brazil the fifth-largest country in the world is a global leader in ethanol
usage in automobiles. Approximately 70 percent of Brazilian new cars are equipped
with FlexFuel systems that allow the use of a gasoline/ethanol mix or pure ethanol.
Ethanol production has grown tremendously during the last three decades and
has allowed the country to practically wean itself completely from imported
30th Anniversary commemorative edition
Commemorating one of the most recognizable Indianapolis 500 pace cars, the Corvette
30th Anniversary Pace Car features a black exterior with silver graphics that
honors the 1978 model the production replicas of which became instant collectibles
and continue to stand as an iconic symbol of Corvette’s heritage at the
front of the Indy field.
In addition to the exterior color scheme, the anniversary models are equipped
with a special, two-tone titanium-color interior, with the Indianapolis 500
logo embroidered on the seats. Coupe and convertible models are available. Each
replica will be personally signed and numbered by Emerson Fittipaldi.
Both the coupe and convertible come equipped with Corvette’s 3LT option
package, Z51 performance package and dual-mode exhaust. Additional features
- Choice of six-speed manual or six-speed paddle-shift automatic transmissions
- LS3 small block V8 with 436 hp
- New-for-2008 forged chrome five-spoke aluminum wheels
- Corvette Z06 rear spoiler
- Silver checkered flag graphics
- Indy 500 logo fender badges
More information on pricing and availability will be announced a later date.
Corvette at Indy
The 2008 edition of the Indianapolis 500 represents Corvette’s 10th time
as the official pace car and a record fifth-consecutive year and Chevrolet’s
19th time as the manufacturer selected to lead the field. Corvette’s pace
years and details include:
- 1978 Driven by 1960 race winner Jim Rathmann; Chevrolet produced 6,502 production
- 1986 Driven by famed pilot Chuck Yeager; all 7,315 production convertibles
were considered pace car convertibles and included official graphics (to be
installed at the owner’s discretion)
- 1995 Driven by then Chevrolet General Manager Jim Perkins; 527 production
- 1998 Driven by 1963 race winner Parnelli Jones when an injury prevented
golfer Greg Norman from performing the duty; 1,158 production replicas produced
- 2002 Driven by actor Jim Caviezel; no production replicas produced but
graphics were available through SPO approximately 300 sets sold
- 2004 Driven by actor Morgan Freeman; no production replicas produced
- 2005 Driven by General Colin Powell; no production replicas produced
- 2006 Driven by cycling champion Lance Armstrong; first Corvette Z06 pace
car; no production replicas produced
- 2007 Driven by actor Patrick Dempsey; 500 production replicas all convertibles
- 2008 Driven by Emerson Fittipaldi; 500 production replicas coupes and convertibles
The Indianapolis 500 is the largest single-day spectator sporting event and
the most prestigious auto race in the world. “The Greatest Spectacle in
Racing” has been run every year since 1911 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,
except for the periods during the United States participation in world
wars in 1917-18 and 1942-45. The winner of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 will earn
racing immortality, a spot on the famed Borg-Warner Trophy and a record winner’s
purse of at least $2.5 million.
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker,
has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908,
GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters
in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly
9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands:
Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab,
Saturn and Vauxhall. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle
safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found
General Motors via Autoblog.com
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Corvette | Vette
| 2008 | Indianapolis 500 | E85 | Pace Car | 1978 |