Since 1948 the Chevrolet Camaro has been a big part of the Indianapolis 500, but I had no idea just how big. 27 times the Chevrolet Camaro has been called upon to serve as pace car at the Brickyard, an honor it has held more then any other manufacturer.
On Sunday, May 29th, A unique version of the 2017 Camaro SS 50th Anniversary driven by motorsports legend Roger Penske took the stage once again, marking the ninth Camaro to lead the field.
Examples of all nine Camaro pace cars were on display at the Brickyard, giving Camaro enthusiasts a retrospective look at the distinctive design and production significance that made each of them leaders of the pack.
Whether your a Camaro enthusiasts or simply love your racing history, here is a brief look into each of the nine Camaro’s to take to the track as the official pace car at the Brickyard.
1967 Camaro RS/SS
The Camaro served as the Indy pace car in its inaugural model year. A primary pace car was prepared along with an identical backup and each was powered by the 396-cubic-inch Big Block V-8 offered in the Camaro SS. In addition to the actual pace cars, a number of identically painted Camaro models – white with blue stripes and blue interiors – were used as festival and VIP vehicles at the events leading up to the race.
1969 Camaro RS/SS
Distinguished by its striking orange-over-white paint scheme, the 1969 Camaro Indy pace car remains one of the Brickyard’s most recognizable pace cars. Like the 1967 model, primary and backup pace cars were built, each with the 396 Big Block. Chevrolet also produced 3,675 replicas that have become prized collector vehicles.
1982 Camaro Z28
Marking the introduction of the third-generation Camaro, the 1982 pace car was powered by a specially prepared all-aluminum Small Block V-8 engine. It was driven by former Indianapolis 500 winner Jim Rathmann, who also drove the 1969 Camaro pace car 13 years earlier. Chevrolet produced 6,000 replicas.
1993 Camaro Z28
Coinciding with the launch of the fourth-generation Camaro, the 1993 Camaro Z28 pace car featured a daring black-and-white paint scheme highlighted by multicolored ribbons – with a matching interior. The engine was the new Z28’s production LT1 engine, rated at 275 horsepower. Chevrolet produced 645 replicas, including 125 that were used as festival cars at the track.
2010 Camaro SS (2009 Indianapolis 500)
The introduction of the fifth-generation Camaro was celebrated at Indianapolis with the fifth Camaro to pace the race. Powered by the production 6.2L LS3 engine rated at 426 horsepower, it required no performance modifications to lead the field. “Transformers” star Josh Duhamel drove the pace car. Chevrolet didn’t produce official replicas, but 25 similarly styled festival cars were built.
2010 Camaro SS (2010 Indianapolis 500)
Wearing an Inferno Orange exterior with White Diamond racing stripes, the Camaro returned to the Brickyard for its only back-to-back appearance as the pace car. It was driven by “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, who was only the second woman to drive an Indy pace car. Chevrolet produced about 200 replicas, including 50 that were used as festival cars.
2011 Camaro SS
Camaro scored a three-peat as the pace car in 2011, this time dressed in a white-and-orange theme that paid homage to the iconic 1969 pace car. It was driven by racing legend A.J. Foyt, who was awarded the Camaro pace car when he won the 1967 Indy 500, but reportedly declined it because it didn’t have air-conditioning. Chevrolet built 500 replicas of the retro-styled 2011 Camaro SS pace car.
2014 Camaro Z/28
Driven by three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti, the 2014 Z/28 pace car was the most track-focused Camaro to lead the race. It was powered by the production 7.0L LS7 V-8, which was rated at 505 horsepower, and featured high-performance equipment such as carbon-ceramic brake rotors behind large, 19-inch forged aluminum wheels.
2017 Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition
Four identically prepared pace cars were built to support the race, all with exclusive Abalone White exteriors featuring “100th Running of the Indianapolis 500” graphics on the doors and the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway wing-and-wheel logo on the quarter panels. They also incorporate the exterior cues and graphics that are unique to the Camaro 50th Anniversary package that goes on sale this summer.