(from Chevrolet Press
Release) Two racing icons will unite when Lance Armstrong,
seven-time Tour de France winner, drives the 2006 Chevrolet Corvette
Z06 pace car to lead the field to the start of the 90th running of
the Indianapolis 500 on May 28, 2006. For a record 17th time, a
Chevy will pace the race, and it’s the eighth time for a Corvette to
be leading the pack.
Neither Armstrong nor the Corvette is a stranger to elite endurance
racing. Armstrong won seven consecutive Tour de France titles, and
the Corvette Z06 pace car he’ll be driving is based on the C6.R
Corvette racer that has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four out of the
past five years.
"We’re proud that this year’s Indianapolis 500 will showcase the new
505-horsepower Corvette Z06 and honored that it will be driven by
another racing icon—Lance Armstrong," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet
General Manager. "The 2006 Corvette Z06 is infused with technology
from our own endurance racer—the four-time Le Mans winning C6.R
Corvette race car—and having it play such a key role at this
important event acknowledges the significance the vehicle has played
in American culture for more than 50 years."
As the No. 1-ranked cyclist in the world in 1996, Armstrong competed
as a member of the U.S. Cycling Team in the Summer Olympic Games.
While seemingly at the top of his game, he was literally forced off
his bike because of cancer. He formed the Lance Armstrong Foundation
within months of his diagnosis to help others with their cancer
Armstrong then staged an incredible comeback, winning his first Tour
de France title in 1999. After seven consecutive victories,
Armstrong retired following the 2005 race and continues to be a
leader and activist on behalf of cancer survivors around the world.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation has become among the most influential
organizations of its kind and provides practical information and
tools people need to battle cancer and live strong through
education, advocacy, public health programs and research grants.
“The Hulman-George Family and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway staff
are honored that Lance Armstrong will pace the field for the start
of the 90th Running of the Indianapolis 500,” said Joie Chitwood,
Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer.
“Lance is a sports icon, and it's only fitting that he'll be driving
another American icon on Race Day as he takes the wheel of the
Chevrolet Corvette Z06. It’s also gratifying to continue the long
relationship between the Indianapolis 500 and Chevrolet with such an
exciting, performance-bred vehicle as the Corvette Z06.”
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the site of many memorable
events since the facility opened in 1909. Similarly, Chevrolet has a
rich heritage in racing that dates to company co-founder and
namesake Louis Chevrolet, a gifted engineer and talented race car
driver who competed in the Indianapolis 500 four times.
The 2006 Corvette Z06 that will serve as the Indy 500 pace car is
virtually identical to the models available today through local
Chevrolet dealerships. Because the production Corvette is so
racing-ready with 505 horsepower capable of 198 mph and a 0-60 mph
time of 3.7 seconds, sophisticated aerodynamics, a suspension that
can handle 1.01 Gs in cornering situations and large 18-inch front
and 19-inch rear wheels that are a foot wide in the rear, the only
changes made to prepare it for this year’s role were the addition of
strobe lights and racing safety gear.
Like race cars, the duties of a pace car can be long and strenuous.
During the last four Indy 500 races, for example, the Chevy pace
vehicles led the field for a combined 186 laps (465 miles) of the
total 800 race laps (2,000 miles). Even during green-flag race
conditions, the pace cars patiently run at idle ready for action at
a moment’s notice.
With the Indianapolis 500 being such a classic American race during
Memorial Day Weekend and with Chevy’s “An American Revolution”
campaign, the Corvette Z06 pace car features an Americana red, white
and blue theme. It displays an abstract U.S. flag pattern with
“Victory Red” and “Cobalt Blue” ribbons flowing across the car on a
base of “Arctic White” with white stars flanking each side. The 2006
Indy 500 logo is on each door, and the Chevy red racing Bowtie
appears at the top of the hood.
The race will be broadcast live on May 28 by ABC Sports and the IMS
Radio Network. The green flag drops at 1 p.m. EDT. Tickets are
available for the 2006 Indianapolis 500. For information, log on to
www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or call the IMS office at
800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700.
Chevrolet has paced 16 previous Indianapolis 500 races, more than
any other brand:
2005 - Corvette convertible
2004 - Corvette convertible
2003 - SSR
2002 - Corvette 50 th Anniversary Edition
1999 - Monte Carlo
1998 - Corvette
1995 - Corvette
1993 - Camaro Z28
1990 - Beretta
1986 - Corvette
1982 - Camaro Z28
1978 - Corvette
1969 - Camaro
1967 - Camaro
1955 - Bel Air
1948 – Fleetmaster
Chevrolet is America ’s No. 1-selling automotive brand. With the
largest dealer network in the United States, Chevy is the leader in
full-size trucks and the leader in sales of vehicles priced $35,000
and above. In addition, Chevrolet delivers more-than-expected value
in every vehicle category, offering cars and trucks priced from
$9,890 to $72,235. Chevy delivers expressive design, spirited
performance and great value with standard features usually found
only on more expensive vehicles.