The Grand Sport Corvette is Back – and Pacing Indy

The 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 takes place in three weeks and for the 14th time, there will be a Corvette leading the field on the pace laps. That’s almost as many times that Steve Martin has hosted Saturday Night Live and makes the Corvette the most popular Indy pace car of all time.

This year, the open-wheeled racers will be following behind a 2017 Grand Sport Corvette equipped with a direct-injected 6.2-liter Z07 engine making over 460 horsepower which can propel the car from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds. This kind of performance is leaps and bounds beyond what the original Grand Sport cars could deliver back in 1963. The Grand Sport was a rare package that was offered on the final model year of the fourth-gen Vette (1996) followed by the 2010 option as well.  

As you have probably surmised, 2017 Grand Sport has been engineered for handling performance. From the wider body and race-bred chassis to aerodynamic purpose and tricks throughout topped by lightweight carbon fiber work in the rocker panels and rear spoiler. Technology doesn’t end with the engine as the cabin features a configurable instrument cluster, head up display, wi-fi and even a data recorder with GPS for track mapping.  Stopping power come from 15-inch carbon-ceramic Brembo brake rotors set inside 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels.

Chevrolet and the historic Indy race share a common year, 1911, as their inaugural years. Louis Chevrolet’s brother ran the race that year while his brother Gaston won the event nine years later – where a Marmon paced the field.   

Todd Ryden is first and foremost a car guy and admits to how lucky he is to have been able to build a career out of a hobby that he enjoys so much. He’s owned muscle cars and classics, raced a bit and has cruised across the country. With over 25 years in the industry from the manufacturing and marketing side to writing books and articles, he just gets it.