As the calendar turns to April and sun clears away the clouds, it’s time to start thinking about the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500.
It’s also time to roll out the pace car, which will be the Chevrolet Grand Sport. It will be accompanied by a fleet of Stingray convertibles – all painted Long Beach Red Metallic Tintcoat.
“Chevrolet is honored to lead the way for the 500 once again,” said Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet passenger car and crossover marketing. “The Grand Sport is a particularly excellent choice as its wide body and aerodynamic features are steeped in racing heritage.”
While Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan was on-hand Monday for the unveiling, and led parade cars around the track, he didn’t get close to opening it up. Beneath the Grand Sport's hood is a 6.2-liter V8 delivering 460 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque – all routed to the rear wheels through an 8-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. Pace duties will be no problem as the car is capable of zapping from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and tops out just over 180 mph.
A full complement of Z06 chassis and aerodynamic tricks allow the car cornering capability of 1.2g. As with other Vettes, the pace car employs Magnetic Ride Control to continuously adjust the suspension calibration depending on road and track conditions. It can be tuned from highway comfortable to fast track firm.
And it looks pretty good too with its Indy 500 decal package, full length dual silver stripes, carbon fiber ground effects, and 19-inch front/20-inch rear wheels. Look behind the alloys to see Brembo carbon ceramic brakes. Inside, the cockpit is stocked with competition bucket seats and a performance data recorder. Safety harnesses will be part of race day gear.
This is a serious machine, ready for its moment in the sun.
“We continue to be grateful for our long-running partnership with Chevrolet,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles said. “The 2019 Corvette Grand Sport is a world-class machine that exudes speed, performance and excitement, a perfect fit to lead the 500 field.”
This marks the 16th time a Corvette has been chosen to pace the race since its first in 1978. Notable Corvette pace car drivers include Chuck Yeager, Parnelli Jones, Morgan Freeman, Colin Powell, Emerson Fittipaldi, Guy Fieri, Jim Harbaugh, and Jeff Gordon.