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A green 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06 is shown from the front at an angle after leaving a Chevy dealer.

The Corvette Z06 Tears it Up at The Indy 500

Recently, the 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06 70th Anniversary Edition made its debut at the 2022 Indy 500––not only as an impressive show pony but as the official pace car for the race. This is far from the first time that a Corvette (let alone a Chevy) has had this honor, but it was a particularly noteworthy event as it really showcased the beauty and power of the all-new C8 Z06. You’re not going to find either of the pace cars they provided at one of your local Chevy dealers, they had a few special modifications in addition to the aesthetic touches that come with the 70th Anniversary Edition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get something pretty close to them.

While the mid-engine Corvette C8 is already an amazing piece of machinery, the Z06 takes things to the next level with racetrack design and engineering. We’ve had to wait a couple of years for the Z06 to finally come to this latest generation of the Corvette, but after what I saw at the Indy 500, it’s clear that it was more than worth the wait. Let’s take a look at the pace cars that Chevy provided for the Indy 500 and some of the basics on the Z06 that you need to know before this beast hits city streets later this year.

The Indy 500 Pace Cars

For this year’s Indy 500, held on May 29th at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 106th year running, Chevrolet was chosen to provide a pair of Corvette C8 Z06 models to serve as the pace cars for the race. Chevy specifically chose to send a couple of models with the 70th Anniversary Edition package, which celebrates the anniversary of the Corvette that was first introduced in 1953. The pace cars featured one of two unique colors for the 70th Anniversary Edition: White Pearl Tri-Coat Metallic, with Carbon Flash Metallic available as the other color not featured at the Indy 500.

In addition to the large Indy 500 decals on the side doors of these two vehicles, plus red details along the bottom of the sides with “Official Pace Car” decals, these models featured the additional touches found on the 70th Anniversary models. This includes dates and decals on the rear, throughout the interior, and even on the wheels, not to mention custom stitching and other logos and details all over these beauties to really set them apart. You can’t look at them and think they’re anything other than what they are: two unique pieces of machinery designed to start the biggest race of the summer.

A silver 2023 Corvette Z06 is shown from the side.

No Stranger to the Indy 500

For this year’s race, the special C8 Z06 pace cars were driven by Sarah Fisher, a legendary driver and team owner who raced in the Indy 500 nine times during her career. It was truly something special to see such a talented driver behind the wheel and enjoying the power that the Z06 has to offer, getting the race started and underway in spectacular fashion. Of course, much like Ms. Fisher, Chevrolet is no stranger to the Indy 500. Not only do Chevy vehicles often tear up the track during the race, but there have been more Chevy pace cars than models from any other manufacturer over the last century-plus of races.

This year was Chevrolet’s 33rd time leading the field as a pace car for the Indy 500, and it was the 19th time that a Corvette has specifically had this honor. In fact, this was the third year in a row for the Corvette: the all-new mid-engine C8 led the field in 2020, with a convertible C8 serving as the pace car last year and now the Z06 taking that honor this year. Of course, the Chevrolet name has an even greater history with the Indy 500: co-founder Louis Chevrolet competed in early races and his brother Gaston won the Indy 500 (called the International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race at the time) in 1920.

Special Features for the Pace Cars

The special decals and other details were not the only unique aspects of the two C8 Z06 models provided by Chevrolet to act as pace cars this year. Looking inside these two vehicles, spectators found they had also been outfitted with additional restraints and a few similar modifications inside to ensure the safety of their drivers. Considering these Z06 models got up to 160 mph quite easily on the track, that seems like a smart choice. Both models were outfitted with the available Z07 Performance Package, which includes carbon ceramic brakes, carbon fiber wheels, and a rear wing for incredible overall performance.

In order to serve as pace cars, however, most vehicles in races are outfitted with a light bar on top to ensure drivers can see it and follow it properly. Thankfully, no one was about to slap a light bar onto a C8 Z06––instead, they were kitted out with programmed lighting that allowed their rear lights to strobe and flash. This created sufficient indications for drivers on the track so they could see the pace cars and respond appropriately without ruining the gorgeous look of these vehicles. Altogether, these models perfectly showcased the style and performance of the 2023 Corvette Z06. Speaking of performance, they featured the standard factory engine that you’ll find in the C8 Z06 at your local Chevy dealer.

An orange 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06 is shown from the rear at an angle.

What You Can Get in the C8 Z06

While you might not be able to drive away in one of the pace cars that Chevy sent to Indianapolis this year, you can come pretty close to it with the C8 Z06 models available at your nearest dealership. As I mentioned earlier, the 70th Anniversary Edition delivers a gorgeous style that includes a pair of exclusive exterior colors, each featuring stripes for added detail. The unique Ceramic White Leather interior of the 70th Anniversary Edition features red stitching and seat belts that stand out in the perfect way to really drive home how special this model is.

In terms of performance, the 2023 Z06 is in a league all its own, with the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine in production. It’s a 5.5L flat-plane V8 that delivers 670 hp and redlines at 8600 RPM, which is 2000 RPM higher than the standard C8 Corvette. It’s an absolute monster that can go from 0 to 60 in just 2.6 seconds with the available Z07 Performance Package, which makes an amazing piece of machinery even more powerful. Time and again, spectators and reporters at the Indy 500 commented on how the Z06 sounded and how at home it clearly was on the racetrack. Other than the unique Indy 500 decals, you can experience this for yourself.

Inside the 2023 Corvette Z06, you find an interior very much like the standard C8, with stylish seating for two. It features the row of buttons and controls running between the front seats, reducing the need for extra buttons on the front dashboard in order to keep it low and out of your field of vision. This lets you enjoy the view of the road provided by the short front-end allowed by the mid-engine design, keeping you low and forward so you can feel everything the C8 Z06 has to offer. There’s simply nothing else out there like it, and all it takes is a few minutes behind the wheel of the Z06 to see why so many people were blown away by it at the race this year.

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