Lance Armstrong to drive 505-hp Corvette Z06 at 2006 Indianapolis 500
Lance Armstrong to drive 505-hp Corvette Z06 at 2006 Indianapolis 500
FOR RELEASE: 2006-04-04
INDIANAPOLIS – 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 90 th 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 struggles.
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.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Public Relations
Now that is just too cool!
Originally Posted by Rob
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." - Unknown
None of the 8 Corvettes that have paced the Indy 500 have needed any performance modifications to do their job. The only mods that I can think of done to some are a Corsa exhaust and transmission fluid coolers. The engines have remained untouched...even the '78.
Randy Smith, Kokomo, Indiana
Velocity Yellow 2006 6sp, Z51
The really sad part.................
The really sad part is that the Vette will be the only American car on the track!
Okay, someone has to say it. Does anyone beside me think the paint scheme is ugly? Sorry, there, I said it.
Can't say that I thought any of them were prize winners but at least the wheels aren't yellow
Originally Posted by Jersey-vinny
Personally I thought last year's was the nicest in a while.
If you like the Corvette pace cars, be sure to check out this awsome t-shirt design (same design as my avatar):
Why don't they let someone who deserves to drive it and would never be able to afford one drive it? Like someone who has Cancer, or something.
I'm sure Lance can afford one with his endorsement money rolling in.
Interesting that a guy who promotes Subaru is going to promote a Vette too.
Okay Ive had enuff....You would think that Lance Armstrong was the only one who ever had Cancer.....Well guess what he isn't!!!! And to say the least I'm tire of hearing about the self-centered anal orfice. I'm sure there are plenty of less fortunate Cancer surviviors to have their old Car turn up on the show called Overhaulin' and have it turned into a show car....Or maybe a Fender Guitar Lance Armstrong signature model....How about a Lance Armstrong Candy Bar ....Not good enuff yet ...Well then let him drive a 505-hp Z06 Vette at the Indianapolis 500.
It's obvious that these presenters have never been to the Johns Hopkins Cancer Center in Baltimore, Maryland to take a walk down the Children's section. I'm sure some young kid with cancer would love to sit in a 505-hp Z06 Vette at the Indianapolis 500. A person very close to me has been there many times. Three bouts of cancer in her life time at 35, 47, and 71 lost her hair each time from the long treatments......Guess what she is still alive, thank God......And I think she would look much more lovely and more deserving driving a 505-hp Z06 Vette at the Indianapolis 500. Nuff said about it.
The last two people make good points, however there is a big difference between RIDING in a Corvette and DRIVING one at 80+ MPH, on a banked race track, in front of hundreds of thousands of fans and millions more watching on TV.
It used to be that the pace car driver was a former race car driver (Sam Hanks, Jim Rathmann, Bobby Unser) or someone directly involved with the auto industry (Benson Ford, Jim Perkins, Carroll Shelby). Then they started letting celebrities drive the pace car, probably because it created more of a buzz. At first it was people who had some auto racing experience like James Garner and Chuck Yeager. But since 1999, the driver has been a celebrity. Still, most of them have some amateur racing or sports car experience, and they also spend a few days practicing before race day. So the bottom line is, driving the pace car is not something for your average Joe. Plus, the whole purpose of having a celebrity driver is to increase interest in the car and the race.
That's not to say the suggestions aren't worthy. And actually, the reason I'm posting is to tell you that the speedway DOES do pre-race parade laps for different groups of people. When I was at the race in 2003, they did a pre-race lap with veterans. I think they may have also had some Make-A-Wish kids that got to take a parade lap. Unfortunately this kind of event rarely makes the news, except maybe for the local Indianapolis stations.
The thing to do would be to contact IMS and pitch your suggestion directly. They may have a program that would allow you to take a parade lap on race day.
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