for their charismatic designs and superior performance,
the pack-leading Pace Cars share a special place in
Indianapolis 500 lore. History was made at the 2008
Indianapolis 500 when a pair of distinctive yet highly
differentiated Corvette models served as the Official
Pace Cars one highlighting Chevrolet's commitment
to fuel solutions and the other marking 30 years of
Corvette's Pace Car heritage.
and Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials gathered at
the Indianapolis Auto Show to make the historic announcement
of the Pace Cars was a customized Corvette Z06 E85 concept
that runs on E85 ethanol fuel, a domestically produced
alternative fuel similar to the 100 percent fuel-grade
ethanol that powers all of the race cars in the IndyCar
Series. It was driven during the race's pace lap by
two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi.
other Official Pace Car (or rather two) were a black-and-silver
commemorative edition Convertible and Coupe that marks
the 30th anniversary of the celebrated 1978 Pace Car
the first Corvette to pace the field at the Indianapolis
500. Chevrolet produced a total of 500 Pace Car replicas
in both coupe and convertible form, each signed personally
by Fittipaldi at the Corvette's Bowling Green, Ky.,
not a production FlexFuel vehicle, the Corvette Z06
E85 concept Pace Car is a high-performance example of
Chevrolet's gas-friendly to gas-free initiative, demonstrating
viable fuel solutions," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet
general manager. "As an ethanol refiner in his
native Brazil, Emerson Fittipaldi is the fitting Chevrolet
champion to help support GM's efforts with E85 and celebrate
30 years of the Corvette pacing the Indianapolis 500."
92nd Indianapolis 500 was held on Sunday, May 25, 2008.
It was the Corvette's 10th appearance as the Official
Pace Car a record unmatched by any other vehicle.
only fitting that Corvette will be the first car to
earn the distinction of having two models pace the Indianapolis
500 in the same year," said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis
Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer.
"Chevrolet and Corvette are a vital part of the
rich history of 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,'
and we're honored to have a great champion of the race
and of alternative fuels, Emerson Fittipaldi, as this
year's Pace Car driver."
the Corvette Z06 E85 concept
Corvette Z06 E85 concept Pace Car is based on the production
Z06 already one of the fastest and most powerful
cars on the market and blends its performance
with the high-octane, renewable alternative fuel that
is derived from a variety of crops grown across the
is blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
Its benefits include reduced emissions of greenhouse
gases and a reduced dependence on petroleum. GM is the
leader in E85 production models, with more than 2.5
million E85-capable cars, trucks and SUVs on the road
with more on the way. Chevrolet offers seven
E85-capable models in 2008.
from the fuel system and powertrain controller revisions
required to run E85, the Z06 concept Pace Car is mechanically
stock. It is distinguished by a unique Gold Rush Green
color-shifting paint scheme that changes between hues
of green and gold when viewed from different angles
and in different light. A subtle checkered flag pattern
also is part of the paint scheme. Safety equipment and
strobe lights are the only other equipment added to
Fittipaldi: Ambassador of racing and ethanol
winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1989 and 1993 while
driving for Chevrolet and spending 30 years in
his native Brazil as a refiner of ethanol Emerson
Fittipaldi is the perfect ambassador to lead the Indianapolis
500 in an E85-powered Corvette Z06.
of the vehicles in Brazil are powered by ethanol produced
from crops grown in the country, so I understand how
a domestically produced renewable fuel can help the
energy solutions of a nation," Fittipaldi said.
"And the E85-powered Z06 concept Pace Car proves
economic and environmental consciousness can be fun
and exhilarating. I can't wait to get it on the racetrack."
whose personal cars include a Corvette Z06 and a Camaro
awarded after winning the 1993 Indianapolis 500, resides
in both Florida and Brazil. He has interests in several
Brazilian ethanol companies and is an ardent champion
of ethanol as a viable alternative to gasoline.
the fifth-largest country in the world
is a global leader in ethanol usage in automobiles.
Approximately 70 percent of Brazilian new cars are equipped
with FlexFuel systems that allow the use of a gasoline/ethanol
mix or pure ethanol. Ethanol production has grown tremendously
during the last three decades and has allowed the country
to practically wean itself completely from imported
Dixon won pole position, and when it was all over, he
stayed ahead of the trouble, got a boost from his crew
and drove to his first Indianapolis 500 victory, driving
for Target Ganassi Racing.