Where will you be this coming May 29th? If you’re like millions of Americans and race fans worldwide, you’ll be watching the 100th running of the famed Indianapolis 500 – either on TV or, if you’re really fortunate, in the stands.
It’s an annual automotive race car spectacle that gets everyone’s adrenalin pumping. With so many watching, the Indy 500 is also fantastic visibility for the car selected to pace the start of the race.
This year, for the seventh time, Chevrolet Camaro will do the honors -- 2011 Camaro SS Convertible, to be specific. What’s significant about the event this year is that it’s not only the 100th running of the Indy 500, it’s also Chevrolet’s 100th year. Another noteworthy point is that this year marks the 22nd year Chevrolets have paced the race.
One special Camaro
But there’s more to the story. This is the first Indy 500 pace car that was unveiled anywhere outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 100th Indy 500 pace car 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible was unveiled and put up for auction at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona and sold for $225,000 on Saturday, January 22. Chevrolet is donating proceeds of this auction–which included 50 replica pace cars–to the David Foster Foundation, a charity devoted to supporting families with children in need of organ transplants.
This year’s pace car sports a paint scheme that harks back to the 1969 Camaro Convertible Indy 500 pace car. Summit white paint with orange stripes and door graphics on the outside and orange leather seats and Indy 500 logo-embossed headrests inside.
Under the hood, the Camaro SS growls with a 400-horsepower V-8 engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. This Camaro requires no performance modifications to pace the field of 33 cars in the Indy 500.
One bit of nostalgia here. Camaro first led the field in 1967, following up two years later in 1969. Subsequent pace car appearances included 1982, 1993, 2009 and 2010.
As for the regular production 2011 Camaro convertibles, they begin arriving at Chevrolet dealerships in February – marking an early start to the spring selling season. Chevrolet says this is opens “a new chapter in Camaro’s ongoing 21st century rebirth.” Camaro ended 2010 with sales of 81,299, catapulting the car to the number one spot in its class for the first time since 1985.