Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Will Pace the Indianapolis 500
By Dave Caldwell on May 8, 2012, 4:48 pm
The 33-car starting field for the Indianapolis 500 will be led to the green flag on May 27 by the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. General Motors noted it was the 23rd time that a Chevrolet was enlisted for the job, and the 11th time for a Corvette.
With 638 horsepower, only slightly less than the 650-675 horsepower generated by the open-wheel Indy racecars, the Corvette ZR1 will become the most powerful production car to pace the field at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet claims a top speed of 205 m.p.h. for the 3,353-pound coupe.
The Corvette is in its 60th anniversary of production and the final year of the current generation, known as the C6. Chevrolet is supplying engines to some of the cars in the race field, and to the IndyCar Series at large, for the first time since 2005.
The pace car wears elements of the 60th Anniversary package, like an Arctic White body and suede-accented interior. The package is available on all 2013 Corvette models. A base ZR1 is priced from $112,575.
The Indianapolis 500 is the jewel, and the fifth race, on the 16-race IndyCar Series calendar. Danica Patrick, formerly the most recognizable IndyCar driver, announced her departure from the series to the Nascar Nationwide Series last August. IndyCar has experienced uneven television ratings this season.
Among the newest events on the calendar is the Baltimore Grand Prix, which is scheduled to be held Sept. 2 for the second time on a street course around that city's Inner Harbor. The inaugural race last year was initially considered a success, but budgetary fallout cast doubt on the event's prospects for a return.
IndyCar officials are looking for a new management team after losing faith in Downforce Racing, the promotional team selected by Baltimore to produce the 2012 race. IndyCar's chief executive, Randy Bernard, told The Baltimore Sun that the organization would take over race management if another group were not found.