America's most famous race, the Indianapolis 500, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year and so does Chevrolet, whose name was tied to the “Brickyard” from the very beginning. Arthur Chevrolet competed in the inaugural Indy 500 on May 30 1911, a few months before founding the company that bears his name, on November 3 the same year. Today, Chevrolet and Indy 500 are still together, with the Camaro SS Convertible to be the 22nd Chevrolet to pace the Indy 500 race on May 29 as a common celebration for their 100-year anniversary.
“Before Chevrolet was a brand, Louis Chevrolet and his brothers made a name for themselves behind the wheel of a race car,” said Jim Campbell, GM vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “After Chevrolet became a car company, Louis and his brothers continued to race at Indy, forging one of the most storied relationships in automotive racing.
Over the years, the Chevrolet brothers competed many times at the Indy 500, but only one of them managed to win the race. In 1920, Gaston Chevrolet triumphed behind the wheel of a Monroe-Frontenac, becoming the first winning driver to finish the race on one set of tires. Sadly, he passed away later that year during a California race.
After the end of World War 2, Chevrolet started to provide pace cars for the race, with the first being a 1948 Convertible. Including this year's event, Chevrolet cars have paced the Indy 500 22 times, more than any other brand. The Corvette did it ten times, followed by the Camaro, with seven appearances.
“That history includes some of the most memorable cars that have paced the Indianapolis 500, well as many checkered flags won under Chevrolet power,” said Campbell. “
The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Indianapolis 500 Pace Car pays tribute to the 1969 Camaro pace-setter, with the two cars sharing the paint scheme. It will also be sold as a special edition model in a limited run of 500 units.
By Dan Mihalascu