Indiana Pacers All-Star Guard Victor Oladipo has officially been named as the pace car driver of the 102nd Indianapolis 500. He will lead the field of 33 IndyCar drivers in the 2019 Corvette ZR1 to start the race on Sunday, May 27th.
Oladipo played college basketball at Indiana University and entered the NBA draft in 2013, selected in the first round by the Orlando Magic. He was traded last year to the Indiana Pacers from Oklahoma City and has averaged 23.1 points per game. His performance as a Pacer earned him a spot on the NBA All-Star team and he is a leading candidate for the 2017-18 NBA Most Improved Player Award.
“This is a tremendous honor for me,” Oladipo said. “I’m so thankful Indiana continues to embrace me, from Indiana University to the Pacers and now the Indianapolis 500, the greatest race in the world. I would like to thank Chevrolet, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Pacers for allowing me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Excited is a huge understatement to how I feel about this. I can’t wait.”
The 6-foot 4-inch guard will be driving the 755-hp Corvette ZR1 Pace Car that was introduced on the famous Brickyard track last month. The Corvette ZR1 Indy 500 Pace Car is Admiral Blue with Red accents and red/blue/silver door graphics. The Corvette is equipped with the ZTK Performance package featuring the High-Wing and Michelin’s Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, as well as an 8-speed paddle shift automatic transmission. The new ZR1 has a top speed of 212-mph and should be more than up to the challenge of pacing the Indy 500.
“It will be great to have Victor behind the wheel of the 2019 Corvette ZR1, the fastest, most powerful, most advanced performance production Corvette ever,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports for Chevrolet. “I can’t wait for Victor to experience that performance, along with the energy and anticipation of all the fans, as he leads the field to the green flag at the iconic Indy 500.”
This will be the 15th time a Corvette has served as the official Pace Car, starting in 1978, and the 29th time a Chevrolet has led the field, dating back to 1948, when a 1948 Fleetmaster Six convertible paced the race. No other vehicle has served as the Pace Car more than the Corvette.
“It’s a great honor to welcome Victor Oladipo, one of the most popular recent sports figures in Indiana, to lead the field to the start of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,'” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Few NBA players drive to the basket with more speed and power than Victor, so he’ll feel right at home behind the wheel of the awesome 2019 Corvette ZR1 on Race Day.”
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