CHEVROLET UNVEILS TWO UNIQUE 08 CORVETTE INDY 500 PACE CARS
INDIANAPOLIS Known for their charismatic designs and superior performance, the pack-leading pace cars share a special place in Indianapolis 500 lore. Next month, a pair of distinctive yet highly differentiated Corvette models will make history at the Indianapolis 500.
One highlights Chevrolets commitment to fuel solutions and the other marks 30 years of Corvettes pace car heritage. One of the pace cars is a customized Corvette Z06 E85 concept that runs on E85 ethanol fuel, a domestically produced alternative fuel similar to the E100 fuel that powers all of the race cars in the Indy Racing League. It will be driven during the races pace lap by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi. The other official pace car is a black-and-silver commemorative edition that marks the 30th anniversary of the celebrated 1978 pace car the first Corvette to pace the field at the Indianapolis 500. Chevrolet will produce a total of 500 examples in both coupe and convertible form, each signed personally by Fittipaldi at the Corvettes Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant. Although not a production FlexFuel vehicle, the Corvette Z06 E85 concept pace car is a high-powered example of Chevrolets gas-friendly to gas-free initiative, demonstrating viable fuel solutions, said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. As an ethanol refiner in his native Brazil, Emerson Fittipaldi is the fitting Chevrolet champion to help support GMs efforts with E85 and celebrate 30 years of the Corvette pacing the Indianapolis 500. The 92nd Indianapolis 500 takes place on Sunday, May 25, 2008. It will be the Corvettes 10th appearance as the official pace car a record unmatched by any other vehicle. Its only fitting that Corvette will be the first car to earn the distinction of having two models pace the Indianapolis 500 in the same year, said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer. Chevrolet and Corvette are a vital part of the rich history of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, and were honored to have Emerson Fittipaldi, a great champion of the race and of alternative fuels, as this years pace car driver.
Corvette Z06 E85 concept
The Corvette Z06 E85 concept pace car is based on the production Z06 already one of the fastest and most powerful cars on the market and blends its performance with the high-octane, renewable alternative fuel that is derived from a variety of crops grown across the United States. E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Its benefits include reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and a reduced dependence on petroleum. GM is the leader in E85 production models, with more than 3 million E85-capable cars, trucks and SUVs on the road in North America alone with more on the way. Chevrolet offers seven E85-capable models in 2008. Apart from the fuel system and powertrain controller revisions required to run E85, the Z06 concept pace car is mechanically stock. It is distinguished by a unique Gold Rush Green color-shifting paint scheme that changes between hues of green and gold when viewed from different angles and in different light. A subtle checkered flag pattern also is part of the paint scheme. Safety equipment and strobe lights are the only other equipment added to the car.
Emerson Fittipaldi: ambassador of racing and ethanol
After winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1989 and 1993 while driving for Chevrolet and spending 30 years in his native Brazil as a refiner of ethanol Emerson Fittipaldi is the perfect ambassador to lead the Indianapolis 500 in an E85-powered Corvette Z06. Most of the vehicles in Brazil are powered by ethanol produced from crops grown in the country, so I understand how a domestically produced renewable fuel can help the energy solutions of a nation, Fittipaldi said. And the E85-powered Z06 concept pace car proves economic and environmental consciousness can be fun and exhilarating. I cant wait to get it on the race track. Fittipaldi, whose personal cars include a Corvette Z06 and a Camaro awarded after winning the 1993 Indianapolis 500, resides in both Florida and Brazil. He has interests in several Brazilian ethanol companies and is an ardent champion of the fuel as a viable alternative to gasoline. Brazil the fifth-largest country in the world is a global leader in ethanol usage in automobiles. Approximately 70 percent of Brazilian new cars are equipped with FlexFuel systems that allow the use of a gasoline/ethanol mix or pure ethanol. Ethanol production has grown tremendously during the past three decades and has allowed the country to practically wean itself completely from imported oil.
30th Anniversary commemorative edition
Commemorating one of the most recognizable Indianapolis 500 pace cars, the Corvette 30th Anniversary Pace Car features a black-and-silver exterior paint scheme that honors the 1978 model the production replicas of which became instant collectibles. The car continues to stand as an iconic symbol of Corvettes heritage at the front of the Indy field. In addition to the exterior color scheme, the anniversary models are equipped with a special, two-tone titanium-color interior, with the Indianapolis 500 logo embroidered on the seats. Coupe and convertible models are available. Each example will also carry Emerson Fittipaldis personal signature. Both the coupe and convertible come equipped with Corvettes 3LT option package, Z51 performance package and dual-mode exhaust. Additional features include:
Choice of six-speed manual or six-speed paddle-shift automatic transmissions
LS3 small-block V-8 with 436 horsepower
Corvette Z06 rear spoiler
Silver checkered flag graphics
Indy 500 logo fender badges
More information on pricing and availability will be announced a later date.
Corvette at Indy
The 2008 edition of the Indianapolis represents Corvettes 10th time as the official pace car and a record fifth consecutive year and Chevrolets 19th time as the pace car manufacturer. Corvettes pace years and details include:
1978 Driven by 1960 race winner Jim Rathmann; Chevrolet produced 6,502 production replicas
1986 Driven by famed pilot Chuck Yeager; all 7,315 production convertibles were considered pace car convertibles and included official graphics (to be installed at the owners discretion)
1995 Driven by then-Chevrolet General Manager Jim Perkins; 527 production replicas
1998 Driven by 1963 race winner Parnelli Jones when an injury prevented golfer Greg Norman from performing the duty; 1,158 production replicas
2002 Driven by actor Jim Caviezel; no production replicas, but GM Service Parts Operations sold about 300 sets of graphics
2004 Driven by actor Morgan Freeman; no production replicas
2005 Driven by Gen. Colin Powell; no production replicas
2006 Driven by cycling champion Lance Armstrong; first Corvette Z06 pace car
2007 Driven by actor Patrick Dempsey; 500 production replicas all convertibles
2008 Driven by Emerson Fittipaldi; 500 production replicas coupes and convertibles
The Indianapolis 500 is the largest single-day spectator sporting event and the most prestigious auto race in the world. "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" has been run every year since 1911 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, except for the periods during the United States participation in world wars in 1917-18 and 1942-45. The winner of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 will earn racing immortality, a spot on the famed Borg-Warner Trophy and a record winner's purse of at least $2.5 million. General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the worlds largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 266,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit , GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2007, nearly 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GMs OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services.
|GM Motorsports Communications, 2008|
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