Corvette ZR1 Pace Car Crash Generated Over $3.4 Million in Free Publicity for the Corvette Brand


Corvette ZR1 Pace Car Crash Generated Over $3.4 Million in Free Publicity for the Corvette Brand

You can’t help but feel sorry for Mark Reuss, GM’s Head of Product Development.

He’s one of the guys who introduced the Corvette C7 to the world back on 1.13.13.

But more importantly for the Corvette brand, he’s the guy who will now always be remembered for crashing the new ZR1 Pace Car into a wall at last week’s Indy race. In the process, though, Reuss helped get at least $3.4 million in free publicity for the car, according to industry analysts. Not a bad tradeoff for GM perhaps, huh?

While it’s definitely not the way he and Chevy would have preferred to get that free publicity for their car, it all goes back to that old saying about any publicity, good or bad, being good publicity.

No doubt there are a lot more ordinary folks out there who know about the new ZR1 than they did before the Indy crash. Folks like us have known about the ZR1 for eons, but not everyone is as enthusiastic about Corvettes as we are, huh? We wonder how many of those newcomers to the Corvette world, lured in by the unexpected crash, will go out and buy a $125,000 ZR1, however.

Nevertheless, Apex Marketing Group says the exposure Chevy got for the ZR1 on Sunday, after the crash, was worth more than 70 times more than the exposure it got at the first race of the weekend the day before – when the ZR1 just did its job and didn’t crash a bit.

Sort of the old making lemons out of lemonade story, huh?

Some did think the ZR1 story was reminiscent of the Ford Mustang meme in April 2016 about a perceived rash of the pony car crashing as their drivers showed off leaving a car show. Ford says Mustang sales fell significantly short-term after the meme’s popularity peaked – by nearly 25 percent compared to the May 2015 figure.

Corvette ZR1 Pace Car Crash Generated Over $3.4 Million in Free Publicity for the Corvette Brand

Mark Reuss is General Motors Executive Vice President of Global Product Development

Of course, that was a negative story about the Mustang. The Corvette crash, while embarrassing to Reuss and the company, still was positive in the way that several stories came out about how safe the car was and the accident was actually blamed on the track and not the driver.

Let’s hope Chevy turns that publicity into increased sales for the overall brand, since we’re inclined to believe that they’re going to sell as many ZR1s as they can produce in Bowling Green. Maybe more folks will be enticed into buying the less expensive versions of the Corvette, though.


[VIDEO] 2019 Corvette ZR1 Pace Car Crashes at Detroit IndyCar Race
GM’s Mark Reuss to Pilot the Corvette Z06 Pace Car at Belle Isle
[VIDEO] Chevrolet Introduces the “Big Nasty” Corvette Z06 Convertible



  1. Good luck telling a state trooper it was the road’s fault you totaled out on a guardrail!! 😉

  2. Hey, he jumped the start in his black C7 while street racing me (in my 66 427)on Woodward in August 2013, but as Viper said to Maverick…”you can run, but you can’t hide”……was an epic event, and Reuss enjoyed it as much as I did ! He’s a true car guy, and he deserves tremendous credit for the C7……a grand slam in the sports car world.

  3. I would think that it would be better for the Corvette brand for the crash to be attributed to driver error, rather than to a hump in the track. It is a fact of life that tracks and public roads have humps, and I would like to think that the ZR1 and other Corvettes are sufficiently well designed to be able to go over them without crashing.
    I may be wrong, but it appears from the video that Reuss is spinning the ZR1’s rear wheels as the back end comes around — ie. that he stayed heavy on the throttle even after the rear wheels had lost traction. Do others see that as well?

Comments are closed.