Saturday, January 22, 2011

2011 Indy 500 to be Paced by Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible

Photo Credit: General Motors

As the Indianapolis 500 celebrates a centennial year milestone, the history of the famed 2.5-mile Brickyard is realized a little more than usual. Of the 95 races run on the track since 1911, one symbol for every 500-mile race was the honour of one American automobile to led the racers to the green flag. Started when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's founder Carl G. Fisher chose to feature a Stoddard-Dayton (a car chosen since Fisher was a dealer of soon-to-be flattered automaker) to pace the first Indianapolis 500. Since then, the Indy 500 pace car duties have become merged with that moment of anticipation before every open wheel race set to run at the Brickyard.  

For the third-straight year, the Chevrolet Camaro SS has been selected as the pace setting vehicle during the Indy 500. However, as a change from the previous 2 years, a newly-released convertible version of the Camaro will lead the 33-field of open wheel IZOD INDYCAR drivers to green. The first time since 1969 that a Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible has been chosen for pace car duties, a strong sense of that past is conveyed in the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. Replicating the image of the Indy 500 pace car (a Chevrolet Camaro considered to be one of the most iconic vehicles of which participated in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's pace car program), the 2011 Camaro SS convertible wears identical Summit White accented by orange double-stripping. The colour scheme layers the Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible's interior with the orange being dominant over leather seating.

Photo Credit: General Motors
Earning the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible some special notoriety this upcoming May, the retro-themed look is joined by modern amenities. StabiliTrak electronic stability control, HID headlights and four-wheel Brembo-supported disc brakes are advancements over the late 1960s pace setter. Also, 20-inch polished aluminum wheels glimmer as the Camaro sails around the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

Running gear for the 96th Indianapolis 500 pace car is also based on 21st century technology but embodies the soul of the muscle car era. The Camaro SS model's 6.2 liter V-8 powerplant mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission for the actual pace car. Unmodified from the production convertible, engine performance for the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible pace car is rated at 400 horsepower.

Popularized at the Indy 500, the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible enduring fame is created to just under 3,700 dealer-sold replicas. Though there is no announcement of pace car replicas of the 2011 Camaro SS convertible being produced on that scale, at least 1 vehicle of the 50 Festival committee vehicles will be made available to the public. Benefiting of the David Foster Foundation, a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible will be sold at the Barrett-Jackson Auction January 22nd.

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