The 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 will pace the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 later this month, making it the 11th time a Corvette and 23rd time a Chevrolet have paced the Greatest Spectacle in Racing — Indy records for a nameplate and an automaker. The 638-hp ZR1 will also be the most powerful car to pace the Indy 500. The 2013 model year also marks the 60th anniversary for the storied Corvette nameplate, making the Indy tie-in even more eventful.
“Corvette embodies pure performance, so the ZR1 is a perfect car to pace the most prestigious auto race in the world,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer, in a release.
“I can’t think of a better way to mark the 60th Anniversary of Corvette than having it lead the starting field of the Indianapolis 500,” said Jim Campbell, GM vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, in a release.
The Corvette Pace Car will closely resemble the Corvette’s 60th Anniversary Package, wearing the same Arctic White paint and optional full-length Pearl Silver Blue racing stripes. Special Pace Car graphics are also available. The interior gets wrapped in Blue Diamond leather with suede accents. Convertible models get a blue soft-top and can be had with a tonal stripe stitched in the top. Gray brake calipers as well as 60th Anniversary interior and exterior badging round out the package.
The first Chevrolet to pace the Indianapolis 500 was the 1948 Fleetmaster Six, but it wasn’t until 1978 that the Corvette would finally get its first turn to lead the starting field. Next year also marks the last year of the C6 Corvette, which will be replaced by the all-new seventh-generation model in 2014. Chevrolet hasn’t announced who will drive the pace car, but will do so ahead of the 96th Indianapolis 500, which starts at noon eastern time on Sunday, May 27.