The Indianapolis 500 is just around the corner, and once again, a Chevrolet Corvette will serve as the official pace car. Specifically, this year's field will follow a 2023 Corvette Z06 convertible wearing a searing shade of red.
Though this is the 20th time a Corvette has served in this role, technically speaking this is the first roofless Z06 to circle the Brickyard. Last year, a standard Z06 hardtop held the position, and prior to that, the then-new C8 Stingray convertible was the pace car. However, none of those had a Red Mist Metallic exterior with black trim and a two-tone interior blending black and gray with red accents. The Z06 pace car rides on the optional spider-design aluminum wheels with a bronze finish, and it's fitted with the Carbon Aero package.
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At this time, it's unclear if Chevrolet will offer any special edition Z06 pace car models. Aside from Indy 500 branding on the doors and quarter panels, the colors, wheels, and trim are all available in Chevrolet's configurator for the 2023 Z06. And it probably goes without saying that the 5.5-liter DOHC V8 engine – currently the most powerful naturally aspirated production V8 in the world at 670 horsepower – is in full effect mounted behind the cockpit.
"We are honored to be pacing the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 with the Corvette Z06 convertible," said Scott Bell, vice president of Chevrolet Global. "Chevrolet and Indycar share the same spirit of competition, and we are proud Z06 will lead the pack across the bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
As mentioned, 2023 marks the 20th time a Corvette has paced the field. It's also the seventh consecutive year for the Corvette at Indy, going back to 2017 with the C7 Corvette Grand Sport. The then-new sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro had the honor in 2016 amid a slew of more 'Vettes going all the way back to 1978. As the video at the top of this article shows, that was the first year for America's sportscar at the historic race.
Chevrolet's dominant presence at the Indianapolis 500 isn't by accident. General Motors inked a deal in the late 1990s to exclusively provide pace cars for the annual spring event. The last non-GM vehicle to pace the field was the Dodge Viper GTS in 1996. The last GM pace car that wasn't a Camaro or Corvette was the Chevrolet SSR in 2003, though the Corvette still served as an assistance vehicle that year.
The 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 takes place on May 28.
Source: Indianapolis Motor Speedway