For the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, a bright white 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport will serve as the official pace car. All weekend, and especially on race day, the Corvette Grand Sport will be the standout car that spectators and viewers will see at the track.
Chevrolet has become linked to the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” through decades of sponsorship agreements and as an engine supplier. A number of the race cars that will compete in the day’s grueling 500 miles of scheduled racing will sport Chevrolet engines.
The Indy 500 has always used a pace car to start the race and, later, to bunch up the field during caution periods. The very first was a 1911 Stoddard-Dayton, and when today’s red, white and blue 2017 Corvette Grand Sport takes to the track, it will mark the 14th time a Corvette has led the field. No other model has served as a pace car more than Corvette. The Corvette started its string in 1978, and overall, a Chevrolet has paced the race 28 times since 1948.
The four 2017 Corvette Grand Sport pace cars (almost $100,000 each) readied for track duty do not require any performance modifications. Aside from “500” graphics, caution lights and camera mounting equipment, it’s the exact car you could buy at a dealership. The race winner will receive a 2017 Corvette Grand Sport as part of his victory spoils. However, according to Chevrolet, no 2017 pace car replica models will be offered for public sale.
Grand Sport pace cars will have white exteriors featuring “101st Running of the Indianapolis 500” red/blue graphics on the hood/fenders/doors and the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway wing-and-wheel logo on the rear. The pace cars will showcase the available carbon-fiber ground effects package and roll on specific Grand Sport wheels with 19-by-10-inch (front) and 20-by-12-inch (rear) sizes.
Under the hood resides a 460-horsepower, 465 pound-feet of torque-producing LT1 direct-injected V-8 engine with dry-sump oiling and active exhaust. Power is directed through an optional eight-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission.
A standout feature on the Grand Sport pace car is the Z07 package, which brings performance enhancements including revised suspension calibrations and Brembo carbon-ceramic matrix brakes to slow Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup II 285/30ZR19 (front) and 335/25ZR20 (rear) performance tires. Standard magnetic ride control, specific stabilizer bars, unique springs and standard electronic limited-slip differential are also part of the Grand Sport.
A Grand Sport pace car equipped with the Z07 package can accelerate from 0–60 mph in 3.6 seconds, cover the quarter mile in 11.8 seconds and achieve 1.2 g cornering capability.
Just prior to exiting the track, the Grand Sport will be doing about 120 mph and will later be idling at the end of pit road during the race, ready to spring into action. After the race, it will be driven over to the museum, where it will join the 13 other Corvettes and 100 previous pace cars.