News & Multimedia

Corvette's storied history at IMS shifts into new gear with GRAND-AM race

There is a famous commercial, promoting Chevrolet’s grass-roots American heritage, that went “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet.” Nearly 30 years since that famous sales pitch hit the television screens, it could be modified to “Auto Racing, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Chevrolet.”

Chevrolet and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been linked together for the past 101 years as the Chevrolet Brothers competed in the early years of the Indianapolis 500, with Arthur Chevrolet racing in the inaugural 500 Mile Race in 1911 and again in the 1916 Indianapolis 500. Louis Chevrolet competed in the 1915, 1916, 1919 and 1920 Indianapolis 500s and finished seventh the 1919 race.

And Gaston Chevrolet won the 1920 Indianapolis 500 after finishing 10th in his rookie appearance in 1919.

Nearly 35 years after that historic victory by Gaston Chevrolet, the car company bearing the family named created an American classic – the Corvette – in 1953.

The iconic brand and the iconic track have joined forces in the past with the Chevrolet Corvette pacing the Indianapolis 500 11 of the 22 times that Chevrolet has served as the Pace Car. Chevrolet vehicles have paced the Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard powered by BigMachineRecords.com every year since its inception in 1994. But for the first time in the illustrious history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Corvette will be in competition at “The Greatest Race Course in the World” as it competes in the inaugural GRAND-AM contest at the IMS road course Friday, July 27 during the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard.

It’s off to the Brickyard, where Chevrolet and the Corvette hope to write history in the Brickyard Grand Prix, the first GRAND-AM Road Racing event at Indianapolis. The Corvette competes in the Daytona Prototype class of the Rolex Sports Car Series.

“One thing we were really working hard to do was increase the relevance in the Daytona Prototype category,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “In terms of styling, that car is recognizably a Corvette that we sell in the showroom. We had our Corvette designers work with our racing team to meet the rules but have that car look like a Corvette. We want to increase relevance in every series from what we race to what we sell in the showroom from the powertrain side.

“Corvette is such a special product-brand customer base that the reaction to the Corvette Daytona Prototype when we rolled it out last November was exciting and more than expected. We had 16,000 people view the unveiling of that car live online, and we had a great reaction from the customers.”

Corvette Rolex Sports Car Series teams include GAINSCO, Wayne Taylor Racing, Spirit of Daytona and Action Express. There is a lot of expectation for the GRAND-AM race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time.

“For Chevrolet, this is going to be a fantastic weekend with Cup, Nationwide and GRAND-AM series,” Campbell said. “We’re going to have Chevys racing and pacing all weekend long. The key to our success with the Corvette has been the relevance to what we are racing to what we are selling in the showroom. The collaborative effort with our Corvette DP teams to putting a winning effort on the track. It’s great racing. We love it.”

And that sets the stage for Campbell and Chevrolet officials to dream of a three-race sweep at the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard.

“It’s always the goal to win,” Campbell said.

It didn’t take long for Corvette to make it to the winner’s circle. On March 31, Corvette scored a 1-2 finish at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala., in just its second race in GRAND-AM competition. Richard Westbrook and Antonio Garcia took the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette Daytona Prototype to Victory Lane for Chevrolet’s first victory for the iconic Corvette. It was also team owner Troy Flis’ first Daytona Prototype class victory.

"It was very rewarding to celebrate the victory with the Spirit of Daytona - Corvette DP team at Barber Motorsports Park, in Alabama,” Campbell said. “The effort to bring the all-new Corvette Daytona Prototype to the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series was a collaboration of a talented group of partners. When a trip to Victory Lane comes so quickly after the introduction of a new race car, it is a tribute to those who worked to bring the vision to reality. We are all very proud of our teams and their continuing commitment to success.”

The success of the Corvette is important to General Motors and its performance division.

“It is fantastic to finally see our new Corvette Daytona Prototype in the winner’s circle,” said Mark Kent, director of Chevrolet Racing. “It has been a big effort by a lot of people. A lot of hard work; it is good to see that hard work finally pay off with this win.”

With the famed Corvette racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a new chapter will be written in the glorious history these world-famous brands enjoy.

“It’s two American icons,” Campbell said. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Corvette have an incredible tradition of racing and performance. We are very excited to have the Corvette Daytona Prototypes racing at Indy, and we are going to have a great turnout of Corvette customers from all over the country come in and watch the Daytona Prototypes race.

“It is going to be very special. Our Corvette Corral is going to be full because we will have Corvette customers coming from all over the country. Without a doubt, that whole weekend has relevance what we do on the track to what we do in the showroom. We will be pacing every race and racing every race promoting what we do on the track from Cup to Nationwide to DP, and make sure we have the relevance to what we sell in the showroom.”
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Corvette's storied history at IMS shifts into new gear with GRAND-AM race
 
Corvette's storied history at IMS shifts into new gear with GRAND-AM race
There is a famous commercial, promoting Chevrolet’s grass-roots American heritage, that went “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet.”
Read More
Related Media
Al Unser
 
Al Unser Sr. Named Grand Marshal for Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational
The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) announced one of the greatest icons in the history of motor racing will serve as grand marshal for its June 11-14 Brickyard Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Four-time Indianapolis 500 champion Al Unser Sr. will return to the scene of his most legendary triumphs from a sterling career. Unser is one of only three drivers to win the “500” four times, and one of five to win the storied race in consecutive years, 1970-71. He narrowly missed becoming the only winner of three consecutive Indianapolis 500 races when he finished second to Mark Donohue in 1972.
Read More
Andrea Dovizioso
 
2015 FIM MotoGP World Championship Kicks Off This Weekend in Qatar
The MotoGP paddock will arrive at the Losail International Circuit this week for the start of the 2015 season. After months of waiting the first round is upon us and what a season it promises to be, as already during preseason testing a few surprises have been thrown up with some big stories making the headlines.
Read More
Indianapolis Monopoly Piece
 
Indianapolis Lands Spot in New 'Monopoly Here & Now' Game
On Thursday, March 19 – World Monopoly Day – Hasbro, Inc., named the cities to be featured in its newest Monopoly Here & Now U.S. Edition game. Cities were selected via a nationwide online vote on BuzzFeed.
Read More
IMS Golf Course
 
Golfers Can 'Pay The Temp' as Brickyard Crossing Opens March 20
The highly acclaimed Brickyard Crossing Golf Course will open for the 2015 season at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 20, and players will receive a fantastic greens fee value through Tuesday, March 31, with the “Pay the Temperature” promotion.
Read More
Indianapolis 500
 
Join Us Championship Weekend at IMS
With the field set and excitement rising for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, it’s not too early to plan your visit to Indianapolis for the first weekend in April.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,829
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
Donald Davidson’s class @IUPUI on #Indy500 history is a must for local diehard fans. More information on The Blog: http://t.co/WcxVkGlvIp
about 14 hours ago