2022 Indy 500 Pace Car: What is it and who’s driving it?

Regardless of who’s competing, there’s always one car that leads at the Indy 500 – the pace car. Find out what it is, who’s driving and more.

2022 Indy 500 Pace Car: What is it and who’s driving it?
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What’s the pace car for the 2022 Indy 500?

The 2022 Indy 500 pace car is the new-for-2023 Corvette Z06. Acknowledging the Corvette’s 70-year history, it is a 70th Anniversary Edition variant, finished in a special white pearl tri-coat metallic paint, special Corvette crossflags, red brake calipers and with the 70th Anniversary Edition logo on seats, steering wheel and sill plates.

It is powered by a 5.5-liter engine that pumps out 670hp, making it the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 to reach the U.S. market in a production car. It is equipped with the Z07 Performance Package, featuring a carbon fiber rear wing, ground effects, carbon ceramic brakes.

As well as being the 33rd time that a Chevrolet has paced the Indy 500 field, dating back to 1948, it’s the 19th time in this role for a Corvette, the first being in 1978.

Who’s driving the 2022 pace car?

Former IndyCar driver and three-time podium-finisher Sarah Fisher will be driving the pace car in 2022. Fisher has often served as pace car driver at IndyCar events, and for the last five years has driven it during caution periods at the Indy 500, but this year she is the celebrity “official” driver of the Pace Car as well as the driver whenever there's a full-course caution.

Has the Indy 500 pace car ever crashed?

Yes, in 1971. Following a slump in muscle car sales none of the traditional pace car providers were willing to get involved, so four local Dodge dealers led by Eldon Palmer stepped in and provided the cars – Dodge Challenger convertibles, powered by 383ci 4-barrel engines.

Palmer, a car salesman, was chosen to drive the pace car. In the passenger seats with him was the owner of the circuit Tony Hulman, astronaut John Glenn, and broadcaster Chris Schenkel.  Mistakenly thinking he needed to cross the yard of bricks still ahead of the field (albeit in the pit lane), Palmer laid out a marker cone and flag where he felt he would need to start braking to bring the car safely to a halt before the pit exit.

However, either this cone was moved or Palmer missed it, for having passed the finish line at over 120mph, he left his braking too late. On realizing he was running out of space and time, he hit the anchors hard, locked up, the Challenger slewed out of control and then went sliding into the photographers’ stand at the end of pitlane. The scaffold structure collapsed, injuring 29 people.

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