2017 Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition will be the pace car at 100th Indianapolis 500

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 4, 2016

A distinct example of the 2017 Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition will be the pace car at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. This version of the 2017 Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition will be driven by motorsports legend Roger Penske, who is incidentally celebrating his 50th year as a race team owner.

This will be the ninth time Camaro was tapped as the pace car, while it’s the 27th time for Chevrolet – since 1948 – to serve the role. Chevrolet is also preparing four identical pace cars to support the Indianapolis 500. All these pace cars are wrapped in Abalone White exterior color, featuring "100th Running of the Indianapolis 500" graphics on the doors and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway wing-and-wheel logo on the quarter panels.

These pace cars also feature exterior cues and graphics that could be found in the Camaro 50th Anniversary package that will be available starting this summer. All these Camaro pace cars are powered by a 455-hp engine, which means they need no performance modifications to serve their roles. Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development and Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, remarked that Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500 share a long, storied history, adding that it is a privilege to celebrate the milestones of the Indy 500 race and the Camaro.

Reuss added that it is a privilege to have Penske drive the 2017 Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition pace car at the race, noting that his team is credited for giving Chevrolet four IndyCar manufacturer titles since 2012. Meanwhile, J. Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, remarked that both Chevrolet and Penske are linked to the heritage of the Indianapolis 500.

He quipped that when Penske leads the race behind the wheel of the Camaro SS on May 29, he would not only drive the race to its next 100 years but also reinforce the bond between Chevrolet and Indianapolis. For this year, Chevrolet drivers aim to ride on the momentum set last year, when the top four finishers – including Team Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya -- were all driving Chevrolet races.

Montoya’s 2015 win marked his second Indy 500 victory and the 16th for Team Penske. So far, Team Penske has been the most successful team at Indy 500. The run started in 1972 with Mark Donohue taking the win.

Six years earlier, Penske transitioned from driver to team owner, tapping Donohue as the driver in the process. The duo instantly found their grove in SCCA's Trans-Am Series, with Donohue – in his Camaro Z/28 racecar – grabbing three of 12 races in 1967 and 10 of 13 in the year after. Penske, with Donohue as his driver, challenged the Indy 500 in 1969, while still fielding a Camaro in Trans-Am.

Penske was able to tap drivers like Mario Andretti, Al Unser and Rick Mears. Mears grabbed four Indy 500 races, thereby helping Team Penske boost its status as a powerhouse in the 1980s.

For this year, Penske is looking towards winning 17th Indy 500 title as a team owner. The latest generation of the Chevrolet Camaro is taking performance, technology and refinement into a whole new level.

6th Generation Camaro

Designed to continue its dominance of the sporty car segment, the Gen Six Camaro is offering a faster yet more nimble driving experience, thanks to its lighter architecture and an extensive choice of powertrains.

Customers could choose from six new powertrain combinations, including a 2.0L Turbo and a 3.6L V-6 engine, as well as a LT1 6.2L V-8 powerplant (for Camaro SS) that is SAE-certified to provide 455 hp (339 kW) of output and 455 lb-ft of torque (617 Nm). The engines could be mated to either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox. Performance-wise, the Gen Six Camaro coupe with the 275-hp 2.0L Turbo and the six-speed manual gearbox could sprint from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and reach a quarter mile in 14.0 seconds.

A Gen Six Camaro powered by 335-hp 3.6L V-6 and eight-speed automatic could dash from nil to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and complete the quarter-mile in only 13.5 seconds. On the other hand, the new Camaro SS coupe with eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission could accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 4.0 seconds and sprint a quarter-mile in 12.3 seconds.

Complementing the power behind the new Camaro is a leaner yet stiffer platform as well as its slightly smaller dimensions. It is wrapped by an exterior sculpted and tuned in the wind tunnel, thereby offering a reduced aerodynamic lift that allows for better handling and higher efficiency.

Moving inside, the new Camaro features a driver-centric cabin laden with state-of-the-art control technologies like the new Driver Mode Selector, a customizable ambient lighting feature and configurable instrument cluster.

Interestingly, the Gen Six Camaro is very distinct from the fifth-generation models that only had two features carried over -- the rear bowtie emblem and the SS badge.

Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development, remarked that redesigning the Camaro is both thrilling and challenging, adding that the secret to its rebirth is offering something more. He quipped that for enthusiasts, the Gen Six Camaro offers more performance while retaining iconic design cues. For new customers, meanwhile, the new vehicle fuses Chevrolet’s most innovative engineering ideas with performance and design.

Press Release

50TH ANNIVERSARY CAMARO SS TO PACE INDIANAPOLIS 500

A unique version of the new, 2017 Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition will lead the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 next month, driven by motorsports legend Roger Penske, who is marking 50 years as a race team owner.

It’s the ninth time Camaro has served as the pace car and the 27th time for Chevrolet, dating back to 1948.

“Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500 have a long, storied history and it’s an honor to mark the respective milestones of the Indy 500 race and the Camaro simultaneously,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development and Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “It’s also a privilege to have Roger Penske perform the driving duties, as his team has helped Chevrolet earn four consecutive IndyCar manufacturer titles since 2012.”

Four identically prepared pace cars will 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.

With 455 horsepower on tap, the Camaro SS pace cars require no performance modifications to lead the racing field.

“Chevrolet and Roger Penske are inextricably linked to the heritage of the Indianapolis 500,” said J. Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “When he leads the pack on May 29, behind the wheel of the Camaro SS, he will drive the race into its next 100 years and strengthen the bond Chevrolet and Indianapolis forged a century ago.”

For 2016, Chevrolet drivers will be looking to build on last year’s results of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” when the top four finishers were Chevy-powered, led by race-winner and Team Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya. It was his second Indy 500 victory and the 16th for Team Penske.

No other racing team has recorded more wins at the Brickyard than Team Penske, and it started with driver Mark Donohue’s victory in 1972. Penske and Donohue established their relationship six years earlier, when Penske transitioned from driver to team owner. They quickly found success in SCCA’s Trans-Am Series, with Donohue piloting an early Camaro Z/28 racecar, winning three of 12 races in 1967 and 10 of 13 in 1968.

Penske tackled the Indy 500 for the first time in 1969, while still campaigning a Camaro in Trans-Am. Donohue was his driver for both series. Later, racers including Mario Andretti, Al Unser and Rick Mears drove for Penske, with Mears winning four Indianapolis 500 races and helping solidify Team Penske as an Indy powerhouse in the 1980s. That legacy advances this year, as Roger Penske seeks his 17th Indy 500 title as a team owner.

Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition
The 50th Anniversary Edition honors the distinctive looks and performance that have always set the Camaro apart. It is offered on 2LT and 2SS coupe and convertible models, all with Nightfall Gray Metallic exteriors featuring a 50th Anniversary stripe package and badges – and a black top on convertibles.

The specially prepared Abalone White pace cars differ in exterior color, but share the Anniversary Edition package’s stripes and other content features, including:

Specific 20-inch 50th Anniversary wheels
Unique grille with satin chrome accents
Body-color front splitter
Orange brake calipers (front only on LT)
Unique black leather interior with suede inserts and orange accent stitching
Distinct 50th Anniversary treatments on instrument panel, seatbacks, steering wheel and illuminated sill plates
2LT includes RS Appearance Package.
The Camaro 2LT comes standard with a 2.0L Turbo engine rated at 275 hp (205 kW) and a 335-hp (250 kW) 3.6L V-6 is available. The Camaro 2SS features the LT1 6.2L V-8, which offers 455 hp (339 kW), making it the most powerful Camaro SS ever. Each engine is available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

Camaro pace cars through the years

1967 – RS/SS convertible
1969 – RS/SS convertible
1982 – Z28 coupe
1993 – Z28 coupe
2009 – SS coupe (2010 model)
2010 – SS coupe
2011 – SS convertible
2014 – Z/28 coupe
2016 – Camaro SS (2017 50th Anniversary Edition).

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