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Nine times. No, we're not referring to how many times Ferris Bueller's been absent this quarter, we're referring to how many times the Chevrolet Corvette has handled the official pace duties of the Indianapolis 500. Actually, the ninth time will occur on May 27th of this year for the 91st running of the most historic motorsport event in America. It also marks the fourth time in a row a Corvette has led the pack at Indy.

General Motors will be producing 500 replica Indy Pace Car editions of the car to be offered to the general public. They'll be Corvette Convertibles in Atomic Orange with Indianapolis 500 exterior graphics, Indy 500 fender badges, a rear spoiler cribbed from the Z06, new aluminum split-spoke wheels in Sterling Siver finish, seats with embroidered Indy 500 logos, interior trim pieces painted Atomic Orange to match the exterior and Atomic Orange engine covers. Of course, the 400-hp LS2 is standard and the cars come with the Z51 performance package and a standard six-speed. Each car will have a base price of $66,995, although if one goes for the only option, a paddle-shifting six-speed automatic, the price rises a bit to $68,245.

You can read the official press release after the jump and don't let the Atomic Orange paint burn your retinas when you check out all the photos in our high-resolution gallery.

[Source: GM]
Related Gallery2007 Chevy Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car edition


PRESS RELEASE:

Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Replica Corvette Convertible

A 2007 Chevrolet Corvette convertible will pace the 91 st running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27, 2007. As it was selected as the Official Pace Car, Chevrolet will supply several identically prepared and uniquely trimmed Corvette convertibles ñ in new Atomic Orange paint with distinctive gold ribbon graphics ñ that will serve in the official pace duties of the race, as well as supporting activities.

Five hundred production replicas of those official cars will be offered to the public ñ all of them convertibles. Theyíll be available beginning this spring.

The distinguishing features of the pace car replica convertibles include:
  • Atomic Orange exterior color, including door handles
  • Indianapolis 500 exterior graphics ñ including gold ribbon graphics that flow outward from the front fender vents and ì Indianapolis 500î door logos
  • Special Indianapolis 500 fender badges
  • Z06 rear spoiler
  • New aluminum ìsplit-spokeî wheels in Sterling Silver
  • Ebony seats with embroidered Indianapolis 500 logos
  • Interior trim plate and pods painted Atomic Orange
  • Atomic Orange engine covers
All of the pace car replicas are equipped with the Corvetteís standard LS2 small-block V-8 and Z51 performance package. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, with the six-speed paddle-shift automatic optional. The navigation system with Bose audio, as well as OnStar, is standard.

Pricing for the pace car replica convertible is $66,995 MSRP, including destination. The paddle-shift six-speed automatic is the only option, which brings the price to $68,245.

The performance-bred Corvette handles its official pace duties in nearly factory-stock trim, with little more than race track-required safety equipment and strobe lights added ñ as well as, of course, the eye-catching graphics. In years past, many Indy pace cars required extensive modification to perform their on-track tasks. The 2007 Corvetteís powertrain and suspension, including the 400-horsepower (298 kW) LS2 small-block V-8 engine, are more than adequate to maintain the speed, acceleration and handling required to lead the pack around the famed ìBrickyardî race track.

This year marks the ninth time Corvette has served as the Official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500. The previous years were 1978, 1986, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. It also is a record fourth consecutive turn for the Corvette, as well as a record 18 th time for a Chevrolet, to be selected as the pace car.

Production replicas were not offered every time the Corvette was selected as the pace car. In fact, 2007 marks the first time Chevrolet has offered a regular-production replica since 1998. But along with the regular-production models, several dozen copies of all the pace cars have been used for official activities in support of their respective Indianapolis 500 races, such as parades. These cars ñ known as ìfestivalî cars ñ have become prized collectibles, along with the limited-edition regular-production replicas.