2004 Indy 500 Pace Car
The 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 held on May 30, 2004, brought together two powerful symbols that stir the imaginations of enthusiasts around the world...Chevrolet and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway...as a 2004 Corvette Convertible served once again as the Official Pace Car of this year's Indianapolis 500.
Corvette performed Indy 500 pace car duties for a record sixth time, being driven by the actor, Morgan Freeman. This also marked the third consecutive year and 15th time overall that a Chevrolet product has served as the official pace vehicle - the most appearances by any brand.
As the 2004 model year was the last of Corvette's current "C-5" design, pacing the Indy 500 acknowledged the significance the vehicle played in American culture.
The 2004 Corvette that served as the Indy 500 Pace Car was virtually identical to the Convertibles available through local Chevrolet dealerships.
Like race cars, the duties of a pace car can be long and strenuous. During the last two races, for example, the Chevy pace vehicle cars led the field for a combined 84 laps (210 miles) of the total 400 race laps (1,000 miles) run, at 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.
Very few modifications were made to the Corvette to prepare it for it's duties this year: heavy-duty transmission and power steering coolers, a lower restriction muffler system, four-point racing-type safety belts and a safety strobe light system.
A white and blue two-tone paint treatment incorporates Americana-themed graphics, tying into Chevrolet's new "An American Revolution" marketing theme. The theme captures Chevrolet's pride and passion for innovation, and for success not only in motorsports, but also as it launches 10 new car and truck products in 20 months.
Chevrolet produced no replicas of this year's Pace Car to sell to the public, although some Pace Car diehard enthusuiasts have gone thru the trouble to recreate one of these beauties.
The winner of this year's race was Buddy Rice, driving his Rahal Letterman Racing Panoz G Force/Honda.