Photos: Chevrolet

50th Anniversary Camaro SS, Roger Penske confirmed to pace Indy 500

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Roger Penske will lead the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in a 50th Anniversary Chevrolet Camaro SS; both were confirmed Monday night.

The full release is below:

A unique version of the new, 2017 Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition will lead the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 next month, driven by motorsports legend Roger Penske, who is marking 50 years as a race team owner.

It’s the ninth time Camaro has served as the pace car and the 27th time for Chevrolet, dating back to 1948.

“Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500 have a long, storied history and it’s an honor to mark the respective milestones of the Indy 500 race and the Camaro simultaneously,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development and Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “It’s also a privilege to have Roger Penske perform the driving duties, as his team has helped Chevrolet earn four consecutive IndyCar manufacturer titles since 2012.”

Four identically prepared pace cars will support the race, all with exclusive Abalone White exteriors featuring “100th Running of the Indianapolis 500” graphics on the doors and the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway wing-and-wheel logo on the quarter panels. They also incorporate the exterior cues and graphics that are unique to the Camaro 50th Anniversary package that goes on sale this summer.

With 455 horsepower on tap, the Camaro SS pace cars require no performance modifications to lead the racing field.

“Chevrolet and Roger Penske are inextricably linked to the heritage of the Indianapolis 500,” said J. Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “When he leads the pack on May 29, behind the wheel of the Camaro SS, he will drive the race into its next 100 years and strengthen the bond Chevrolet and Indianapolis forged a century ago.”

For 2016, Chevrolet drivers will be looking to build on last year’s results of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” when the top four finishers were Chevy-powered, led by race-winner and Team Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya. It was his second Indy 500 victory and the 16th for Team Penske.

No other racing team has recorded more wins at the Brickyard than Team Penske, and it started with driver Mark Donohue’s victory in 1972. Penske and Donohue established their relationship six years earlier, when Penske transitioned from driver to team owner. They quickly found success in SCCA’s Trans-Am Series, with Donohue piloting an early Camaro Z/28 racecar, winning three of 12 races in 1967 and 10 of 13 in 1968.

Penske tackled the Indy 500 for the first time in 1969, while still campaigning a Camaro in Trans-Am. Donohue was his driver for both series. Later, racers including Mario Andretti, Al Unser and Rick Mears drove for Penske, with Mears winning four Indianapolis 500 races and helping solidify Team Penske as an Indy powerhouse in the 1980s. That legacy advances this year, as Roger Penske seeks his 17th Indy 500 title as a team owner.

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Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition

The 50th Anniversary Edition honors the distinctive looks and performance that have always set the Camaro apart. It is offered on 2LT and 2SS coupe and convertible models, all with Nightfall Gray Metallic exteriors featuring a 50th Anniversary stripe package and badges – and a black top on convertibles.

The specially prepared Abalone White pace cars differ in exterior color, but share the Anniversary Edition package’s stripes and other content features, including:

  • Specific 20-inch 50th Anniversary wheels
  • Unique grille with satin chrome accents
  • Body-color front splitter
  • Orange brake calipers (front only on LT)
  • Unique black leather interior with suede inserts and orange accent stitching
  • Distinct 50th Anniversary treatments on instrument panel, seatbacks, steering wheel and illuminated sill plates
  • 2LT includes RS Appearance Package.

The Camaro 2LT comes standard with a 2.0L Turbo engine rated at 275 hp (205 kW) and a 335-hp (250 kW) 3.6L V-6 is available. The Camaro 2SS features the LT1 6.2L V-8, which offers 455 hp (339 kW), making it the most powerful Camaro SS ever. Each engine is available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

Camaro pace cars through the years

  • 1967 – RS/SS convertible
  • 1969 – RS/SS convertible
  • 1982 – Z28 coupe
  • 1993 – Z28 coupe
  • 2009 – SS coupe (2010 model)
  • 2010 – SS coupe
  • 2011 – SS convertible
  • 2014 – Z/28 coupe
  • 2016 – Camaro SS (2017 50th Anniversary Edition).

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.