Olympic swimmer Lilly King to pilot pace car for Saturday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
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Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Lilly King will pilot the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car to lead the field to green in Saturday’s fifth annual INDYCAR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A junior at Indiana University, the Evansville, Ind., native captured two gold medals – the 100-meter breaststroke and as a member of Team USA’s 4×100 medley relay team – in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

She also holds the world record in the 50-meter and 100-meter breaststroke and is an eight-time gold medal winner in the FINA World championships.

“I’m super-excited to be able to drive the Pace Car for the INDYCAR Grand Prix,” King said. “As a homegrown Hoosier, there is nothing cooler than being able to drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!”

In addition to all the gold medals she has won in her career, King is also the reigning three-time NCAA champ in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke, is a three-time All American swimmer and is a three-time Big Ten Swimmer of the Year.

She’s also quick in the books, as well, having earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in her sophomore and junior years.

“As a world-class athlete with a passion for competition, it will be great to have Lilly experience what it’s like to lead the field of the best IndyCar drivers from around the world across the famed Yard of Bricks,” said Campbell, vice president of Chevrolet Performance Vehicles and Motorsports.

King will pace the field around the 14-turn, 2.439-mile permanent road course – which also incorporates part of the legendary 2.5-mile IMS oval, as well.

She’ll have plenty of power at her disposal: The 6.2 liter V-8 motor puts out 460 horsepower, coupled to an eight-speed paddle-shift 8L90 automatic transmission. The ‘Vette can go from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds.

“Lilly King is one of the greatest athletes ever from the state of Indiana, and we’re honored to welcome her to drive the Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car in the INDYCAR Grand Prix,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president.

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Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.