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2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible Indianapolis 500 Pace Car - Click above for high-res image gallery

If you were watching the Barrett-Jackson auction last night you might have caught the unveiling of the this year's Indianapolis 500 pace car, a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible. Styled after the iconic Camaro pace car in 1969, the modern version features Summit White paint with orange stripes and an orange leather interior. This will be the seventh time a Camaro has paced the legendary race, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

So why unveil the car at Barrett-Jackson? You guessed it. Chevrolet will be auctioning off the first of fifty replica pace cars on Saturday evening. The full proceeds from the auction will be donated to the David Foster Foundation, a charity that supports families with children that need organ transplants. Hit the jump for full details in the press release from Chevrolet. Thanks to everyone for the tips!

2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible Indy Pace Car
  • 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible Indy Pace Car
  • 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible Indy Pace Car

  • 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible Indy Pace Car
  • 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible Indy Pace Car

  • 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible Indy Pace Car
  • 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible Indy Pace Car

[Source: Chevrolet]
Show full PR text
DETROIT – A special-edition Chevrolet Camaro Convertible will serve as the official pace car of the 2011 Indianapolis 500. Chevrolet and Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials made the announcement at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale classic auto auction, where a bidder will have the opportunity to purchase the first of 50 Indianapolis 500 Festival Committee cars.

The 2011 Camaro Convertible is the 22nd Chevrolet chosen to pace "The Greatest Spectacle In Racing®" and the seventh Camaro. Adding to the rich heritage is the fact that 2011 will mark the 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500, as well as the centennial year of Chevrolet.

Chevrolet will donate full proceeds of the auction to the David Foster Foundation, a charity devoted to supporting families with children in need of life-saving organ transplants. David Foster, the 15-time Grammy-winning music producer and songwriter, founded the organization in his native Canada.

The pace car, along with the matching festival cars, features a Summit White exterior accented with orange stripes and door graphics. The interior is trimmed in orange leather, including front seat headrests embossed with the Indy 500 logo, along with white door panels and instrument panel trim. The instrument panel trim features extensions of the orange exterior stripes.

The color combination is similar to the design used on the 1969 Camaro Indy pace car – replicas of which have become among the most popular Camaros in the collector world.

"It's an honor for Chevrolet to pace the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, especially during this landmark year," said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. "This is also a great opportunity for us to build on Camaro's strong momentum, while supporting an important charity."

The auction for the commemorative edition pace car takes place Saturday evening, Jan. 22, during SPEED's live coverage of the Barrett-Jackson event. The vehicle carries lot number 1284 and bids can be submitted at the auction in person or online by clicking this link for a 2011 absentee bidder registration packet:

"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Chevrolet name have long been associated with one another beginning with Arthur, Louis and Gaston Chevrolet's participation as competitors in the Indianapolis 500," said Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and CEO Jeff Belskus. "It is fitting in this 100th year for both brands that we reinforce that relationship through this year's Camaro pace car, which resembles what many argue is the most famous pace car in IMS history, the 1969 Camaro. We are looking forward to seeing this car on track, pacing the greatest 33 drivers in the world on May 29."

Pace car details

Equipped with a 400-horsepower (298 kW) V-8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission, the actual pace car for the race requires no performance modifications to perform its duty in front of the racing field.

All 50 of the Festival Committees cars will be SS convertible models fitted with the 2SS equipment package, offering the following standard features:

* Four-wheel disc brakes with Brembo four-piston calipers and hydraulic assist
* StabiliTrak electronic stability control
* Competitive/sport mode that enhances on-track performance
* Performance Launch Control (with the manual transmission) that optimizes hard-acceleration launches for quicker, more consistent performance
* Twenty-inch polished aluminum wheels and performance tires
* Head-up instrument display
* Center console with auxiliary gauge package.

Along with the 2SS equipment, the cars feature the RS package, which includes HID headlamps and unique tail lamps.

Convertible refinement

The Camaro Convertible delivers coupe-like driving dynamics, with the unmatched fun of open air driving. The Convertible model contains an enhanced structure designed to eliminate the traditional compromises of open cars, such as cowl or steering wheel shake. The goal is a convertible that drives like the coupe. All the powertrain and suspension elements of the existing Camaro Coupe carry over unchanged in the convertible. The top has a smooth, tailored fit, with acoustical foam in the headliner that helps deliver a quiet ride with the top up.

Four strategic reinforcements enhance the already-stiff body structure to eliminate common convertible maladies of cowl and steering wheel shake. They include:

* A tower-to-tower brace under the hood
* A transmission support reinforcement brace
* Underbody tunnel brace
* Front and rear underbody "V" braces.

The power-folding top retracts in about 20 seconds. It is built in partnership with the same manufacturer as the Corvette convertible top, and operates in a similar manner. That means it folds in a simple "Z" pattern and latches with a single, convenient handle located at the center of the windshield header. Other convertible models in this segment still offer convertible tops with dual latches, forcing drivers into two-hand operations reaching across the car.

The regular-production versions of the 2011 Camaro Convertible will begin arriving in Chevrolet dealerships in February, opening a new chapter in the Camaro's ongoing 21st century rebirth. Even before the introduction of a convertible model, Camaro ended 2010 as the sales leader in its class in the United States for the first time since 1985.

Chevrolet's pace car heritage

Louis Chevrolet, who founded the brand with William "Billy" Durant in 1911, was a racer, mechanic and pioneering engineer. He raced in the early years of the Indianapolis 500, which also started in 1911, and served a luminary of the event in the years after he retired his racing helmet. That included driving the official Indianapolis pace car, which was developed by Indy 500 founder Carl Fisher, who believed a rolling start was safer than a standing start. The first Indianapolis 500 featured a pace car driven by Fisher.

The first Chevrolet selected as the Indianapolis 500 pace car was the 1948 Fleetmaster Six. The brand would go on to lead the racing pack more than any other manufacturer. The list of Chevy pace cars includes:

* 1948 Fleetmaster Six
* 1955 Bel Air
* 1967 Camaro
* 1969 Camaro
* 1978 Corvette
* 1982 Camaro
* 1986 Corvette
* 1990 Beretta
* 1993 Camaro
* 1995 Corvette
* 1998 Corvette
* 1999 Monte Carlo
* 2002 Corvette
* 2003 SSR
* 2004 Corvette
* 2005 Corvette
* 2006 Corvette
* 2007 Corvette
* 2008 Corvette
* 2009 Camaro
* 2010 Camaro
* 2011 Camaro

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Actually thie 1969 Camaro Indy Pace Car was number two; it first paced in Camaro's debut year, 1967.
        • 4 Years Ago
        4th grade, Miss Rowe's class, ad in car magazine with a shot of the pace car. My dad had a Mustang, but that car would have made me break ranks.

        Fast forward 42 years. The Camaro is true the original, and the feeling is the same. Nice job, GM.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ frankie "The Camaro is true the original" Really???
      • 4 Years Ago
      Does this car come with a fuzzy wide brimmed hat and a fur coat ???
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very nice. Waiting for the Z!!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice car but it will not be collectable. Because everyone will purchase it and put it up. 25 years from now there will be Pace Cars with no miles everywhere. Just like 1978 Corvette Pace Cars. Drive it and enjoy it!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I always thought the hidden headlights on the 69 were icing on the cake and they would really look good on the new the Camaro.

        Chevy should make them available as an option with the RS package and make them standard on the new Z/28.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's actually an interesting idea. I can't believe that after all this time, nobody has done that. Actually, I must admit, you're the first person I've ever seen mention it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hidden headlights would have been nice and distinquished the car even more.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Retro-mania in automobile designs is just plain crazy! Whatever happened to being creative, artistic and original? Automobile designs designed eons ago should be left to rest.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm sorry but the Grille is ugly

      ....ok...vote me down

        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm all for another look but there has to be another way than slapping a grille of a pre 2005 GM vehicle on it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree. Do the grille in black, like the '69. And the stripes need to be wider, and further apart.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's all tiny and blech,it makes the car bland.What's wrong with the standard grille ?
        • 4 Years Ago
        i agree looks like a weird face
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree 100%. Love GM, but something is wrong with the grill.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The front is still ugly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The strips all the way down looks like crap. So do the strips on the a piller do they also go across the folding top?
      Also are the 50 cars going to be the parade/track used cars or are they going to be the first 50 general puplic cars?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Also 2nd the comments on B-J. I'll continue to watch because I find the announcing team of Varsh, Stone and Joy to be enertaining and much better than the guys that do other auctions. I'll never understand why anyone would consign to a no reserver auction. Amazed to see some of the customs sell for 20K to 30K when you know they have 100K + build dollars in them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great looking car and if I had the money, I would have one in my driveway this spring!
      I would give my wife the choice of color of any of her old M.C. SS's, White or Red.
      • 4 Years Ago
      2nd on Barrett-Jackson, enough already. The next shoe to drop regarding B-J will probably be a bankruptcy filing with hundreds of cars subject to suspect titles because B-J hasn't paid the owners. Don't laugh...there's a recent precedent. And I doubt if B-J if fully insured/bonded for all the cars it takes on consignment and sells.

      And I notice nobody cares whether a pace car is manual transmission or automatic. Probably doesn't matter since the race cars are automatics for all practical purposes!

      Country is going to hell without manual transmissions.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No doubt the government disapproves. It is V-8 rear drive and would be fun to drive. The gov't approved car is a micro-mini-euro tiny car with a four cylinder engine and has to be front drive. I am surprised that they let GM build it. But better hurry as the government will probably step in and stop them.
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