1998 Indy 500 Pace Car
The Chevrolet Corvette convertible was selected as the Official Pace Car for the fourth time for the 1998 Indianapolis 500. To commemorate the event, Chevy once again produced a limited number of pace car replicas for sale to the public.
Pro golfer Greg Norman was originally selected to drive the pace car in 1998. He participated in testing runs in the early spring. However, Parnelli Jones was named a last-minute substitute after Norman was forced to withdraw because of shoulder surgery.
Chevrolet cars have been selected a total of eleven times for Indy 500 Pace Car duties -- more than any other manufacturer -- and 1998 will mark the seventh time that the company has offered replica cars for sale.
From its Radar Blue exterior color to its in-your-face bright yellow wheels and equally attention-getting yellow & black leather interior, the '98 Corvette Convertible Indy 500 Pace Car turns heads wherever it goes. In addition to the vivid color combination mentioned above, a stunning yellow graphics package, with a checkered flag motif towards the rear, stretches from the Corvette's functional front gill panel all along the sides of the car and up over its tail.
The replica Corvette convertible pace cars were exactly the same as the real thing -- with the exception of the specially-fitted strobe lights on the actual pace car which were mandated by the Speedway for safety reasons. And since the 345-hp Corvette needs no powertrain modifications to handle the pacing chores, the replicas were mechanically identical to the original.
In addition to the special paint and graphics described above, the Indy Pace Car Option Package (Z4Z) on the '98 Corvette convertible contains other highly-desirable options. Heading the list is a Delco electronically-tuned AM/FM radio with seek & scan, automatic tone control, CD player, digital clock, Theft Lock, speed-compensated volume control and a Bose speaker system. Also included is an electronic dual-zone heating & air conditioning system, dual-power leather adjustable sport bucket seats, memory package and floor mats.
Transmission choices were a 4-speed automatic transmission with a performance axle ratio at no extra charge, or the optional 6-speed manual transmission at additional cost.
And that's not all. Beginning with the 1998 pace car production, Chevy introduced an impressive new Active Handling chassis control system (JL4) for the Corvette. The Active Handling system utilizes a yaw sensor, steering angle sensor, lateral accelerometer and other space-age technologies to enhance Corvette's already nimble handling with added accident avoidance capabilities. A "competitive driving" mode, something no other chassis control system has, is available for gymkhana or autocross events.
The Z4Z Pace Car Package (with the automatic) added $5,039 to the Corvette convertible's very competitive base MSRP of $44,990 (which included destination charges).
Chevrolet built only 1,163 of the '98 Corvette Convertible Indy 500 Pace Car replicas, including 5 Pilot C5's for factory use only. The bulk of these were sold by selected Chevy dealers in the United States, and a limited number were exported to Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean.
The winner of this year's race was Eddie Cheever Jr., driving the #51, Rachel's Potato Chips, Dallara, Oldsmobile Aurora.