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
Takuma Sato Marmom Wasp
 
Sato Revels in Indianapolis 500 History with Marmon Wasp
On the eve of seeing his likeness unveiled on the Borg-Warner Trophy as the latest Indianapolis 500 winner, Takuma Sato had the opportunity to sit where it all began.
Read More
Kyle Kaiser
 
Kaiser, Juncos Racing Reveal Four-Race Verizon IndyCar Series Plan for 2018
Kyle Kaiser will remain in familiar surroundings when he makes his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in 2018. Juncos Racing, the team for which Kaiser has driven the past four years as he climbed the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires ladder, announced today that it will field the reigning Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion for four Verizon IndyCar Series races next season.
Read More
Robert Wickens
 
Wickens Joins Hinchcliffe at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for 2018 IndyCar Season
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced its lineup for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Oakville, Ontario native James Hinchcliffe has renewed his contract with the Indianapolis-based team in a multi-year extension, and the 2011 IndyCar Rookie of the Year’s teammate will be countryman and friend Robert Wickens, a native of Guelph. The duo marks the first all-Canadian lineup in North American open-wheel racing since 2004 (Champ Car; Forsythe Racing: Paul Tracy, Patrick Carpentier).
Read More
Takuma Sato
 
Sato Shines with Gratitude during Unveiling of Likeness on Borg-Warner Trophy
Sato repeated what he had told sculptor Will Behrends when examining a clay likeness during a visit to the artist’s workshop in Tryon, N.C.: “He’s actually a better guy.” It’s the 28th likeness Behrends has sculpted.
Read More
Martin Sonka
 
Sonka Keeps Cool As World Championship Showdown Looms on Race Day
Martin Sonka doesn’t even want to think about the obvious, let alone discuss it. But there’s only so much reality he can block out. Sonka, the Master Class points-leading pilot from the Czech Republic, can claim his first World Championship with a victory in the Red Bull Air Race on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,798
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 IMS Sales Department at (317) 492-8739 or email at hospitalitysales@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21