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Corvette Grand Sport to pace 101st Indy 500

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Another Corvette will be the pace car for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, this time the Corvette Grand Sport.

The full release and details are below:

The Corvette Grand Sport is the official pace car for the 2017 Indianapolis 500 and will lead drivers to the green flag on May 28 for the 101st running of the legendary race. 

It marks the 14th time a Corvette has served as the official pace car, starting in 1978, and the 28th time a Chevrolet has led the field, dating back to 1948. No other vehicle has served as the pace car more than the Corvette.

“Chevrolet is proud to once again pace the Indianapolis 500,” said Steve Majoros, marketing director for Cars and Crossovers. “The Corvette Grand Sport’s performance capability and motorsports heritage make it the perfect choice to pace the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

The 2017 Corvette Grand Sport pace car features:

  • 460-hp (343 kW) LT1 direct-injected V-8 engine with dry-sump oiling and active exhaust
  • Eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission
  • Equipped with the available carbon-fiber ground effects package
  • Specific Grand Sport wheel design: 19 x 10-inch (front) and 20 x 12-inch (rear)
  • Standard magnetic ride control, specific stabilizer bars and unique springs
  • Standard electronic limited-slip differential
  • Includes the available Z07 package, with carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors and 285/30ZR19 (front) and 335/25ZR20 (rear) high-performance tires
  • Brembo Carbon Ceramic brake system with 15.5-inch (394 mm) rotors with six-piston calipers in front and 15.3-inch (380 mm) rotors with four-piston calipers in rear
  • Unique Indy 500 graphics package.

The Grand Sport pace car equipped with the Z07 package can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, cover the quarter mile in 11.8 seconds and achieve 1.2 g cornering capability.

Chevrolet has a storied history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the inaugural 500-mile race, and company cofounder Louis Chevrolet, along with brothers Arthur and Gaston, competed in early Indy 500 races. Arthur Chevrolet competed in the 1911 race and Gaston Chevrolet won it in 1920.

“Chevrolet and Indianapolis are inextricably linked, sharing one of the longest racing heritages in all of motorsports,” said J. Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We are proud of the longstanding relationship between Chevrolet and the Speedway and we love having the Corvette Grand Sport lead the 500 field to the green flag.”

Chevrolet is pursuing its sixth consecutive IndyCar manufacturer championship this year, building on a successful 2016 season that saw 14 wins out of 16 races.

FAST FACT: The first Chevrolet Indianapolis 500 pace car was a 1948 Fleetmaster Six convertible.

‘Game-changing’ multi-year agreement will take INDYCAR, NBC Sports ‘to the next level’


NEW YORK – As the fourth Nor’easter in three weeks bore down on the Big Apple, it was tough to spot people that were clearly in a good mood.

But Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN, was clearly in a good mood.

On Wednesday morning at 10 am ET, we all found out why: NBC will become the exclusive home of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, starting in 2019.

The new three-year deal not only makes “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” part of the network’s “Championship Season” – its collection of high-profile championship events from May to July – but also reaffirms NBC’s status as the home of motorsports television in the United States.

That status is something Miller doesn’t take for granted.

“It’s important people know that storytelling is in our DNA, and motorsports lends itself very well to storytelling,” Miller said as he, INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles and driver James Hinchcliffe made a snowy trek to the New York Stock Exchange to promote the deal on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“We’ve had great success with the second half of the entire NASCAR season, and then we’ve had half of the IndyCar package [since 2009] … But we never had the real meat of the series and that didn’t set anybody up for success.

“Having the entire package of IndyCar now – all 17 races, qualifying, practice, you name it – really sets IndyCar on a strong path and solidifies NBC’s position as the home of motorsports. I think it becomes a property much like the Premier League, the NHL, and even the Olympics and the Triple Crown. We have 100 percent of the media opportunity and we can put all those great assets behind it.”

With the storm no doubt keeping some traders home, the floor of the NYSE was relatively subdued. But that made it no less important to be at the heart of Wall Street. Miles and his team are pursuing a new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series to replace Verizon, which will fully focus its efforts in the series with the powerhouse Team Penske going forward in 2019.

The new deal – which includes 8 races per year on the NBC network (with the remaining races going to NBCSN), live streaming of all races, and a direct-to-consumer package with NBC Sports Gold – gave Miles plenty to push for any potential backers. As for Hinchcliffe, he held his own nicely in an interview that also explored IndyCar’s global ambitions, the impact of technology on the sport, and of course, his spin around the ballroom on “Dancing with the Stars.”

On the ride back to 30 Rock, Miles was confident that NBC can play a big role in attracting a sponsor that can help the series keep growing.

“With respect to our work in finding the best title sponsor, it’s really important – and this has not been talked about much – but we expect to work with hand in glove with NBC’s sales,” he explained. “We have the opportunity to create packages which are both broadcast sponsorship and series sponsorship, I think, in a way that doesn’t come along very often.

“Usually, the media deal and the sponsorship deal doesn’t align like this, so we’re really excited about the offering we’ll have and the approach to the market we can take.”

Should the partnership with NBC bear fruit on that front and others, it will only add to the upswing that the IndyCar Series has had in recent years.

Hinchcliffe has been a witness to that. He entered the series in 2011, when it was trying to find its footing after the sport’s reunification three years earlier. After 13 years of CART vs. the Indy Racing League, getting everything back under one roof was not a smooth process.

But fast-forward seven years, and things have changed for the better. TV ratings and digital viewers have gone up. Race scheduling has become more stable and enhanced with the return of traditional open-wheel markets. And this year’s debut of the universal aero kit aims to pump up the action on the track, while also giving the cars a cleaner, meaner look.

Now, with NBC all in, Hinchcliffe is bullish on his sport’s future.

“This is a game-changing thing for us,” he declared. “If you look at the last four or five years, we’ve seen a steady growth in pretty much every measureable metric that there is – in a time where, globally, motorsports is in a bit of a downturn.

“The fact that IndyCar was able to rally against a global dip in motorsports interest, attendance, sponsorship – it speaks volumes to what we have been doing and this is just gonna take us to that next level.”