2002 Indy 500 Pace Car
The 86th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2002, brought together two powerful symbols that stir the imaginations of enthusiasts around the world. Chevrolet’s Corvette, an international performance icon, was the Official Pace Car of the world’s most prestigious open-wheel race.
Chevrolet paced the Indianapolis 500 a record 13th time, and Corvette performed the Pace Car duties for the fifth time since 1978 – the most appearances by a single brand.
This year’s Memorial Day classic was paced by a 2003 "50th Anniversary" Corvette coupe, showcasing America’s favorite sports car at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing and was a milestone event because it signaled the start of a yearlong celebration leading up to Corvette’s 50th Anniversary in 2003.
Three of the first 2003 Corvette coupes were outfitted for pace car duty at the speedway this year. The cars were "Anniversary Red" and are essentially stock, with only minor upgrades to the suspension, transmission, and exhaust systems and mandatory safety features added. The pace car was driven by 33-year-old actor Jim Caviezel.
The 86th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race also marked the return of Chevrolet to the most hallowed ground in motorsports. Chevrolet competed in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since 1993 with the all-new Chevy Indy V8 racing engine. Chevrolet won 86 Indy-style races, including six Indianapolis 500 victories, and five series championships from 1986-93.
Chevrolet’s racing heritage began with company co-founder Louis Chevrolet, who gained international fame as an engineer and race car driver.
Events celebrating Corvette’s golden anniversary occurred from coast to coast. The Historic Motorama coordinated by the National Corvette Museum (www.corvettemuseum.com) on June 24-28 consisted of one example from each production year to honor the more than 1.2 million Corvettes that have been produced since 1953.
Corvette also was the honored marque at the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races on Aug. 16-18, 2002, at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif.
The Corvette that provided the platform for the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car is equipped with a standard 5.7-liter LS1 V8 engine that produces 350 horsepower in production trim. Corvette incorporates advanced technology such as hydroformed frame rails, Active Handling System, driver-selectable suspension modes and optional Head-Up Display.
For 49 years, Corvette remained true to its two-seat sports car heritage. The 1998 Corvette combined power, performance, handling and technology – while delivering the maximum amount of driving pleasure to those who value high performance.
The winner of this year's race was Helio Castroneves driving his Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevy.