General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State, will
drive a 2005 Chevrolet Corvette convertible pace car to lead the field to the
start of the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, 2005. Neither
Powell nor the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a stranger to Corvette. For a
record seventh time, Corvette will pace the Indianapolis 500, and Powell owns a
2005 Corvette coupe. This race will be the track debut of the sixth-generation
Corvette convertible. It marks the fourth consecutive year and 16th time overall
that a Chevrolet has served as the official pace vehicle-the most appearances by
"We're honored that such a distinguished American as Gen. Powell will drive the Corvette pace car since honoring the sacrifice of America's military heroes is such an important part of the tradition of this event and Memorial Day weekend," said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer. "It's also gratifying to continue the long relationship between the Indianapolis 500 and Chevrolet with such an exciting, performance-bred vehicle as the Corvette convertible pacing the field for what should be a thrilling race."
As Secretary of State from January 2001 to January 2005, Powell led the State Department in major efforts to solve regional and civil conflicts. Prior to this position, Powell served as the chairman of America's Promise-The Alliance for Youth, a national crusade to improve the lives of the nation's youth, and wrote "My American Journey," his best-selling autobiography. Before that, he served as a key aide to the Secretary of Defense and as national security adviser to President Reagan. He also served 35 years in the United States Army, rising to the rank of four-star general and serving as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93). During this time, he oversaw 28 crises, including the Panama intervention of 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Powell is the recipient of numerous U.S. military awards and decorations, including the Purple Heart. He has received awards from more than two dozen countries, including a French Legion of Honor and an honorary knighthood bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. Powell was born in New York and grew up in the South Bronx.
"We're proud that this year's Indianapolis 500 will showcase the new sixth-generation Corvette convertible and honored that it will be driven by the highly distinguished and decorated Gen. Powell at this Memorial Day classic," said Rick Scheidt, Chevrolet executive director for product and brand development. "The 2005 Corvette is infused with technology derived from GM Racing and to have it pace this important event acknowledges the significance the vehicle has played in American culture for more than 50 years."
"I am very excited and looking forward to driving the Corvette pace car to lead the field at the Indy 500. It is a great American tradition and I am honored to be a part of it," said Gen. Powell.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the site of many memorable events since the facility opened in 1909. Similarly, Chevrolet has a rich heritage in racing that dates to company co-founder and namesake Louis Chevrolet, a gifted engineer and talented race car driver who competed in the Indy 500 four times. More recently, Chevy Indy V-8 engines have won 103 open-wheel races, including seven Indianapolis 500 victories.
The 2005 Corvette that will serve as the Indy 500 Pace Car is virtually identical to the convertible models available today through local Chevrolet dealerships. Because the production Corvette is so racing-ready with 400 horsepower capable of 186 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 4.1 seconds, class-leading aerodynamics, a suspension that can handle .98 Gs in cornering situations and large 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels, few changes were made to prepare it for this year's role.
Like race cars, the duties of a pace car can be long and strenuous. During the last three Indy 500 races, for example, the Chevy pace vehicles led the field for a combined 140 laps (350 miles) of the total 600 race laps (1,500 miles) and ran an average lap speed of 75 mph. Even during green-flag race conditions, the pace cars patiently run at idle ready for action at a moment's notice.
The 2005 Corvette convertible pace car features a "Victory Red" paint treatment with a bright "Machine Silver Metallic" primary stripe down the center flanked by titanium and black accent stripes. The 2005 Indy 500 logo is on each door and is embroidered on the headrests while the Chevy red racing Bowtie appears at the top of the hood. The windshield also displays Chevy's "An American Revolution" slogan, and the overall theme emphasizes Chevrolet's pride and passion for innovation, its success in motorsports and the energy surrounding the launch of 10 new car and truck products in 20 months.