UPDATE, 10:05 a.m. ET, Tuesday: It’s official. An IMS release and a GMA appearance confirmed Franchitti will be behind the wheel of the pace car at the Indianapolis 500.
“It is a tremendous honor for me to be asked to drive the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500,” Franchitti said, via an IMS release. “As a historian of motorsport and as a three-time winner of this great race, I will appreciate every minute of getting to pace the field in the new 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. Although I won’t be competing in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, this will be as close as one person can get to the action. I can’t wait until May in Indianapolis.”
Added Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vp of performance vehicles and motorsports, “It’s great to have four-time IndyCar series champion and three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti driving the 2014 Camaro Z/28 pace car,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “He is a true champion who has earned the respect and admiration of competitors and race fans alike. It will be very special to have Dario lead the field to the green flag at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
A very well-deserved honor is coming for three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti.
Franchitti, who was forced to retire after sustaining severe injuries in a crash last October at the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, will become the 14th former winner of the ‘500’ to drive the pace car for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” per Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star.
Cavin wrote official confirmation will be made tomorrow morning during the Scotsman’s appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Franchitti won the ‘500’ in 2007 with Andretti Green Racing (now Andretti Autosport) and in 2010 and 2012 with Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
His 2012 triumph at the Brickyard proved to be the last of his 31 victories in American open-wheel racing (21 in the Verizon IndyCar Series, 10 in CART).
Since announcing his retirement, Franchitti has stayed on with TCGR in an advisory capacity as he continues to recover from his injuries.
Earlier this month, he revealed how far he has left to go in that effort, but did say that he had gained clearance to drive a road car again.