Franchitti To Drive Indy 500 Pace Car
INDIANAPOLIS – Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25.
It’s the eighth time a Camaro has served as the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race.
Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500 in 2007, 2010 and 2012 and he is only the third driver ever to win at least three consecutive IndyCar titles – among four championships overall. Franchitti’s appearance in the Camaro Z/28 pace car signals a new start in his career as he embarks on a driver development role with Chip Ganassi Racing, which will use Chevrolet power in the 2014 IndyCar season.
“It’s great to have four-time IndyCar series champion and three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti driving the 2014 Camaro Z/28 pace car,” 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 Dario lead the field to the green flag at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
“It is a tremendous honor for me to be asked to drive the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500,” said Franchitti. “As a historian of motorsport and as a three-time winner of this great race, I will appreciate every minute of getting to pace the field in the new 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. Although I won’t be competing in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, this will be as close as one person can get to the action. I can’t wait until May in Indianapolis.”
Chevrolet has a long shared history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and the Verizon IndyCar Series. Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the inaugural 500-mile race, and the Chevrolet brothers – company co-founder Louis, Arthur and Gaston – all competed in early Indy 500 races. Arthur Chevrolet competed in the 1911 race and Gaston Chevrolet won it in 1920.
“We are excited to have Dario Franchitti lead this year’s Indianapolis 500 starting field to the green flag,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “Dario’s appearance in the Camaro Z/28 Pace Car will be special for race fans and it underscores Chevrolet’s important place in the past, present and future of the Indianapolis 500.”
Chevrolet competed in Indy-style competition as an engine manufacturer in 1986-93 and 2002-05 with V-8 engines, and returned in 2012 with the Chevrolet IndyCar twin-turbo V-6 engine with direct injection. Tony Kanaan won the 2013 Indy 500 in his Chevrolet-powered race car, leading Chevrolet to seven of the top 10 finishers – including the top four. Chevrolet also earned the IndyCar manufacturer championship titles in 2012 and 2013.