Chevrolet Corvette has a very long history of pacing the Indy 500 race. It started in 1978 and 2022 will mark its nineteenth time on the job and its sixth consecutive year. This year, the pace car will be based on the 2023 Corvette Z06 and will be driven by former Indycar Series driver and team owner Sarah Fisher.
2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Pace Car
- Make: Chevrolet
- Model: 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Pace Car
- [do not use] Vehicle Model: corvette
What makes the 2023 Corvette Z06 Pace Car special?
The model is finished in a White Pearl Metallic Tri-Coat paint combined with a black stripe over the center of the body and a red band that goes along the driver's side of the car. The roof features a special "70 1953 - 2023" logo, while Indy 600 graphics decorate each door.
The Z06 Pace Car comes equipped with the available Z07 Performance Package that will add a carbon fiber rear wing, aerodynamic ground effects, carbon-ceramic brakes, and a few other features that will maximize track capability.
Just like the road-going version, the pace car is powered by a 5.5-liter naturally aspirated V-8 engine that delivers a total of 670 horsepower at 8,400 rpm and 460 pound-feet of torque at 6,300 rpm. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds and up to a top speed of 195 mph.
Why does Indy 500 need a pace car?
Indianapolis 500 (or simply Indy 500) has a very long history in motorsport. The inaugural race was held in 1911 and continued pretty much constantly ever since. It was put on hold twice due to the two world wars: from 1917 to 1918 and then again from 1942 to 1945. The 100th race took place in 2016, even though the race's 100th anniversary was in 2011.
Right from the beginning, the race used a pace car. It serves two purposes: it sets the speed of the race as the pace car leads the assembled starting grid around the track for a certain number of unscored laps. This will give the contenders the chance to warm up the engines and the tires. At a prescribed speed, the pace car will leave the track and allows for a "flying" start. This way, the races actually start at a speed established by the pace car.
The second purpose is to serve as the safety car. During yellow flag caution periods, it enters the track and picks up the leader.
How many times did Chevrolet pace Indy 500?
Chevrolet has a long history of pacing the Indianapolis 500. It all started in 1948 when a Fleetmaster Six convertible paced the race and continued over the years. 2022 will be the 33rd time a Chevrolet car will pace the race.
From these 33 times, Camaro served as the pace car nine times and the Corvette nineteen times. The Camaro served as a pace car for the first time back in 1967 and then again in 1969. The Corvette started its pace car mission with the third generation, in 1978 and continued many years after that. As of 2000, pretty much all the cars pacing the Indy 500 were either Camaro or Corvette models.
Who is Sarah Fisher?
In the first years of the race, it was Carl G. Fisher himself - Indy 500's founder - that drove the pace car. Over the years being the driver of the pace car became an honorary position and it was only done by former winners, notable figures in auto racing or the automobile industry. In 2022, the honor will go to Sarah Fisher.
She is an American retired professional race car driver who competed in races like the Indy Racing League (IRL) and the Indy 500 from 1999 to 2010, and the NASCAR West Series in 2004 and 2005. She holds many records and titles, including being the first woman driver to win the pole position for the Indy 500 in 2002 and the first woman driver to earn a top-three finish in the IndyCar series competition. She also competed in the Indy 500 nine times - more than any other female driver.
In 2002, she broke the record for the fastest four-qualifying speed with 229.439 mph. She still holds that record.
“I am humbled and proud to become the official Pace Car driver for the 106th Indianapolis 500 and to represent the hard work and development that Chevrolet puts into these fantastic pieces of automobile advancement and technology,” Fisher said.