Chevy’s Corvette ZR1 is getting the honor of being the 2018 Indy 500 pace car, and it’s one of the most powerful vehicles to get the distinction.
All eyes will be on the Brickyard during Memorial Day weekend to see whether former Formula One ace Takuma Sato will repeat as champion of the Indianapolis 500, or whether previous winners like Alexander Rossi or Juan Pablo Montoya—himself a former F1 and NASCAR racer—will try to recapture past glory.
But Corvette enthusiasts will have their eyes on this year’s pace car to see how the latest 755-hp ZR1 model handles itself through the oval’s four turns as it leads the field of 33 to start the event. When the Indy 500 media flack announced on Thursday that the latest ZR1 would make the rounds at the May 27 race, fans also got a glimpse of the car, painted in a deep blue shade with the Indy 500 logo on the side. Yep, it’s a real beaut.
While not as fast as the competing open-wheelers, Chevy’s 2019 Corvette ZR1 will be the most powerful vehicle to ever launch the legendary Indy, thanks to the V8, 755 hp engine that powers it. But it certainly has the goods to give the racers a bona fide run for their money, as it’s been clocked at a top speed of 212 mph, not to mention getting from zero to 60 in 2.85 seconds.
Introduced back in November, the new Corvette ZR1 is already blazing trails that exceed its predecessors, such as setting a lap record that still stands while being tested at Virginia International Raceway.
According to WTHR, the Corvette’s presence at Indy will mark the 15th time the legendary Chevy sportscar will guide drivers through their parade laps as well as during yellow-light conditions. The first time a Corvette had that distinction was in 1978. It’s a far cry from previous choices the Indy brass made, such as the time when they opted for sedans like the 1987 Chrysler LeBaron and the 2001 Oldsmobile Bravada as pace cars.
The choice is also reflective of Indy’s history with Chevrolet. Founder Arthur Chevrolet drove one of his company’s vehicles at the inaugural event back in 1911. But it wasn’t until 1920 when the pedigree made a real impact, no pun intended. That was when Gaston Chevrolet won the 500-mile event in 1920.
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