Dario Franchitti To Drive Camaro Z/28 Pace Car At 2014 Indianapolis 500 – Three Time Indy Champ Laps Track Again

Dario Franchitti To Drive Camaro Z/28 Pace Car At 2014 Indianapolis 500 – Three Time Indy Champ Laps Track Again

2013 ended horribly for one of the best open wheel racers of his era as Dario Franchitti was involved in a horrifying IndyCar crash in Houston, Texas that ended his competitive driving career and left him laid up in a hospital for weeks on end with a myriad of serious injuries. It was not the way Franchitti’s careeer was supposed to end. When a guy wins the Indy 500 three times and was a series champion four times, things like that aren’t part of the script. We can still remember watching the awesome story told on the Indy 500 broadcast last year of Franchitti’s dad finding the first pedal car that he gave to his son and restoring it, surprising Dario with it in the race garage one day. It was emotional and it spoke to the love that Dario had for the sport. Obviously, that love doesn’t go away when a doctor tells you that you cannot race competitively anymore. Cue Chevrolet.

Franchitti has been named the driver of the pace car at the 2014 Indy 500 which will be a new Camaro Z/28, which is pretty bitchin’. As I have said about three million times over the years here, I do not consider myself an open wheel racing fan but I do consider myself an Indy 500 fan. I love the race, the spectacle of the whole thing, the history behind it, and what it means (to me the beginning of summer). Not that the pace car is a huge deal, but let’s face it, the new Z/28 is way cooler than some pile a foreign company would send along or a Corvette with purple paint and yellow wheels (those still give me nightmares).

While it certainly isn’t “racing” as Dario would like it to be, we’re guessing that there will be a small bit of satisfaction as he “leads” the field once again around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for more laps, although this time his head won’t be out in the breeze, it’ll be safely situated inside a new Z/28. Dario remains at Chip Ganassi Racing and will work to develop new talent for the team. His is a story of tenacity and one that any young racer out there should look to on their own path to success.



For Immediate ReleaseDario Franchitti to Drive Camaro Z/28 Indy 500 Pace Car

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, March 25, 2014 – 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.

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Franchitti won the Indy 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.

About the Camaro Z/28
The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. It is solely focused on track capability, with unique exterior elements designed like a race car to produce downforce that presses the car against the track for greater grip – up to 1.08 g in cornering acceleration – and faster lap times.

The aerodynamically optimized design helped the Camaro Z/28 log a 7:37 lap on Germany’s legendary Nürburgring road course – four seconds faster than the Camaro ZL1, and faster than published times for the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.

Additional contributors to the car’s track performance included greater stopping power – the Z/28 features Brembo carbon ceramic brakes capable of 1.5 g in deceleration, and consistent brake feel, lap after lap – and reduced curb weight. The naturally aspirated Z/28 weighs 300 pounds less than the supercharged Camaro ZL1, with changes ranging from lightweight wheels to thinner rear-window glass. In fact, 100 percent of the un-sprung mass (suspension, wheels, tires and brake system) has been changed from the Camaro SS, dramatically enhancing the balance and overall driving feel of the Z/28.

Power comes from the 7.0L LS7 engine, with dry-sump oiling, rated at an SAE-certified 505 horsepower (376 kW) and 481 lb-ft of torque (652 Nm). The engine is built by hand at the new Performance Build Center within GM’s Bowling Green assembly plant.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.


2014 ticket information: Ticket information is available for the four events in 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, 98th Indianapolis 500, Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP.

Fans can order tickets at www.ims.com/tickets, by calling 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or by visiting the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.

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3 thoughts on “Dario Franchitti To Drive Camaro Z/28 Pace Car At 2014 Indianapolis 500 – Three Time Indy Champ Laps Track Again

  1. Farley J Zoober

    Awesome looking Camaro, are you guys at GM going to build an Indy 500 Pace Car edition like this?

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