Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Countdown to Indy (#18): 2010 Chevrolet Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car

Photo Credit: General Motors

Thanks to an agreement between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and General Motors, the Chevrolet division receives Indy 500 pace car honours for the 9th straight event. The 2010 race is also the 2nd year in a row that a Camaro will lead the 33-car field of open wheel competitors. The Chevrolet Camaro has a long prior history of pacing one of America's oldest running auto races. Receiving the honour for the first time on the 1967 introduction of the Chevrolet Camaro, GM's pony car has led the Indy 500 four other years prior to 2010 in 1969, 1982, 1993 and last year in 2009.

Rolling on 20 inch aluminum wheels, the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS pace car As opposed to the primarily silver car of 2009 with red striping, this year's Camaro SS edition employs a sizzling Inferno Orange exterior topped with RS package diamond white striping. A GM Accessory-derived front grille insert, flamboyant Indianapolis 500 logos on the cabin doors and badges on the front quarter panels are the only real giveaways that this car is the pace sitter for the memorial day weekend's most lively celebration.

As with the outside, the interior has been largely preserved to the stock Camaro counterpart. Minor stylistic touches include custom floor mats and embroidered Indy 500 logos on the head supports. The safety strobe lighting needed for officiating the Indy 500 is placed behind the rear window differing from the light bar used in the 2009 pace car model. The cabin space will house the most honoured driver for the weekend who is entrusted to lead over 17,000 horsepower around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ABC Good Day America's personality Robin Roberts will be this person for the 2010 edition taking the IZOD IndyCar field around for pivotal warm-up laps.

Photo Credit: General Motors

Robert's will find more than enough power under the hood of this year's Chevrolet Camaro SS. Revving a 6.2 liter V-8 powerplant, 400 horsepower will be routed through the 6-speed automatic gearbox. The pace car version of the Camaro SS is a pure stock powertrain. In previous Indy 500 events, particularly through the 1970s and 1980s, it was necessary to use performance enhancements to make a vehicle pace car worthy. The most extreme example of engine enhancements occurred for a Cadillac Eldorado convertible that paced the 1973 Indy 500. Choked by primitive emission and smog control systems, engine power from the luxury car's V-8 engine was limited to only paltry 235 horsepower. The considerable size and weight (just under 5,000 pounds) required more powerful engine output. In creating the 1973 Cadillac Eldorado pace car, the engine compartment was stripped of emission controls and even the air conditioning units. Further engine performance parts allowed the Cadillac V-8 to produce 500 horsepower.

Photo Credit: General Motors

When the 2010 Indianapolis 500 has been run, apart from what is guaranteed to be an ecstatic race winner, there will be another elite company. 200 Camaro buyers who will have a chance to purchase a limited run of replica versions of the pace car at 187 dealerships. These cars will carry a suggested retail price of $41,950 less freight, taxes and licensing costs.

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