With the Chevrolet Corvette celebrating it’s 60th anniversary for the 2013 model year, it’s probably appropriate that an example of the hottest-ever factory Chevy sports car found itself selected as pace car for the annual Indianapolis 500.
The specially striped ZR1 marks the 11th time a Corvette has paced the race; which currently stands at more than any other vehicle (the Camaro comes in second place with a seven time appearance). Given that it’s supercharged, 6.2-liter LS9 small-block V8 makes a whopping 638 horsepower, capable of pushing it to a top speed of 205 mph; plus a state of the art suspension, including third-generation Magnetic Ride technology; the ZR1 required few modifications for pacing duty.
Those in question were essentially limited to the roof mounted light bar, driver harness and radio communication for race day. The actual pace car sported the 60th anniversary package (available on all 2013 model year Corvettes). This includes Arctic White paint with special Blue Silver Pearl stripes on the hood, rear deck and roof panel, special emblems on the nose, front fenders and rear valance, along with gray painted brake calipers, and 60th anniversary center caps for the wheels.
Inside, as part of the 60th anniversary package, it sported a contrasting Blue Diamond leather interior, with suede trim. Special touches included 60th anniversary emblems on the steering wheel, instrument panel seat backs along with the doorsill scuff plates. For the race, the actual field of official vehicles comprised a singular ZR1 for pacing duties, with a fleet of Camaro convertibles, plus a few hardtops and Chevy Impalas used as festival cars.
The Corvette was driven by celebrity restaurant owner and host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy Fieri at the start of the race, with three time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford handling driving duties during caution periods, which were relatively few during the 2012 event.
Despite the fact that Chevrolet has offered an “official” pace car production version, for 2013, the pace car won’t be replicated. That said, those that want to, can order the 60th anniversary package on the ZR1, which will make for something darned close.
GALLERY: Chevrolet Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car