There’s a New Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car for 2023
Before the Indy 500 starts on Sunday, May 28, all eyes will be on a Red Mist Metallic Corvette Z06. The 2023 Indy Pace Car will lead the field to the green flag before the running of the 107th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday May 28th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet Corvettes have paced the field more than any other model of car, and this year’s Corvette pace car version is a special car, and you can buy a similar version.
What’s special about the 2023 Indy Pace Car?
The Corvette got a major refresh in 2020. For the first time Corvettes have their engine behind the driver for perfect balance. The base car gets a 6.2-liter LT2 V8, but cars like the 2023 Corvette Z06 Indy Pace Car get a new 670-horsepower 5.5-liter V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft, like a Ferrari. Thanks to that novel engine design, it’s the highest-horsepower naturally-aspirated V8 ever in a production car.
This particular car, however, gets special track upgrades to run the big oval at Indianapolis. The car gets the carbon aero package, which means it makes 734 pounds of downforce at 186 mph, according to IMS. The car will need that downforce to stick to the asphalt while pacing the pack. In an interesting twist, the car will run topless. You can order a Corvette with a removable roof, and this car will be the first to run as such as a pace car.
The car also comes with carbon ceramic brakes so it can stop as well as it goes. You can buy a similar car for about $87,000.
Who will drive the 2023 Indy 500 pace car?
This year’s 2024 Z06 Convertible will be driven by basketball star Tyrese Haliburton. Perhaps it’s a nod to show that tall people can fit in the new Corvette. Haliburton is 6’5’. During the 2022-23 NBA season, Haliburton, a first-time NBA All-Star, became the first player in NBA history to average 20 or more points and 10 or more assists and to shoot 40 percent or better from three-point range. In his second season with the Indiana Pacers, Haliburton averaged 20.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game over 56 starts.
How many times has a Corvette paced the Indy 500?
Corvettes have a long history of pacing the Indy 500. Since 1978 a wide variety of Corvettes with not-always-pretty paint jobs have led cars to the green flag. The 2023 car is the 20th Corvette to pace the 500. Corvettes began pacing the 500 in In 1978, when Chevy brought a black-and-gold Corvette to Indy. You could go to your local Chevrolet dealer and buy a replica of that car complete with giant Indy Pace Car graphics on the side.
Though many Corvettes have paced the 500, many remember the red, white and blue car driven by actor Morgan Freeman in 2004, or the strange purple car that Secretary of State Colin Powell drove in 2005. NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove the 2019 Corvette pace car. In 2021 former IndyCar racer Danica Patrick drove the pace car, while in 2022 it was driven by Sarah Fisher, the first woman to ever win a pole position for an IndyCar race.
Chevy has produced weird one-off pace trucks, too. This year, the 2024 Ford Mustang has been the featured pace car at NASCAR races.