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Ethanol powered 'Vette for Indy

2008-05-05 07:50
GM's seminal supercar will feature ethanol compatibility as it leads the 2008 Indy 500 field around the famed Indianapolis speedway.

A really big deal

An incredibly powerful product placement opportunity, the role of pace car at the Indy 500 - generally regarded as the largest single-day spectator sporting event worldwide - enthuses the chosen manufacturer to produce something special, commemorative of the bestowed honour.

This year will be the tenth time a Corvette leads the Indy 500 field, and in these uncertain times of record crude oil prices and constrained fossil supply lines, the message is beyond traditional bow-tie muscle.

Two Corvette Z06 cars will do duty at Indy this year, of which one is set to run on E85 ethanol fuel.

Latin flair

Responsible for driving the Corvette pace cars is two-time Indy 500 winner and former Formula One world champion, Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi.

Having the Brazilian racing legend piloting the E85 concept Corvette is quite apt, as Brazil is the world leading producer of ethanol fuels, enabling the globes fifth largest nation state to virtually become independent of imported crude oil.

Although GM is quick to point out the Z06 E85 is a concept only, and not part of its direct line of production FlexFeul vehicles.

A Gold Rush Green colour-shifting paint scheme that changes between hues of green and gold when viewed from different angles in cascading light and a subtle chequered flag pattern distinguish the E85 Corvette. Safety equipment and strobe lights are the only other equipment added to the car.

The other Corvette pace car is a 3LT equipped Z06. Featuring a black-and-silver commemorative edition livery, it marks the 30th anniversary of the celebrated 1978 pace car - the first Corvette to pace the field at the Indianapolis 500. Chevrolet will produce a total of 500 examples in both coupe and convertible form.

In addition to the exterior color scheme, the anniversary models are equipped with a special, two-tone titanium-color interior, with the Indianapolis 500 logo embroidered on the seats. Coupe and convertible models are available.

Each example will also carry Emerson Fittipaldi's personal signature. Power emanates from the trusted pushrod small-block V8 producing 325Kw from 7-litres.

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