Hoosiers have been dreaming for years of Jeff Gordon leading an Indianapolis 500, and it will finally happen for this year’s 99th running. Sort of: The five-time Brickyard 400 winner and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion will drive a Corvette Z06 pace car to kick off the May 24 race before heading to Charlotte for that night’s Coca-Cola 600.
Gordon, who grew up in nearby Pittsboro, Ind., is no stranger to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 1994 he won the inaugural Brickyard 400 and is one of only two five-time winners at Indy in any series. Michael Schumacher won five Formula 1 races there.
“Indy is hallowed ground for racers like me and I couldn’t be more thrilled to drive the Corvette Z06 pace car around the track that helped drive my success over the years,” Gordon said. “The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most celebrated races of the year and an event I always dreamed of racing while growing up in California and in nearby Pittsboro. I’ve won five NASCAR races at IMS and the track will always be a special place for me, so to be able to participate in such a historic day will be something I remember for the rest of my life.”
Gordon’s pace car will be a 650 supercharged horsepower, a seven-speed manual transmission and a track-capable chassis system in the production-spec Corvette Z06. Featuring an Arctic White exterior and Adrenaline Red interior, only its unique Indy graphics package and safety strobe lights distinguish it from other production models.
“It’s great to have Jeff Gordon serve as this year’s pace car driver,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “He is a true champion who has earned the respect and admiration of competitors and race fans alike. It will be very special to have Jeff lead the Indy 500 field to the green flag, behind the wheel of the most powerful and capable production car ever from Chevrolet.”