In just a couple weeks, on May 30, the 105th Indianapolis 500 will run at the legendary Brickyard. And another legend will be there to pace the field: the Chevrolet Corvette. The 2021 race will be America’s sports car’s 18th outing as the pace car, and the second for the C8. This year, the honor falls to a 2021 C8 Convertible finished in Arctic White with black and yellow accents—the first convertible ‘Vette to pace the Indy 500 since 2008.
There’s a lot that’s unique to this car. For one, the stripe package. Ditto the specially-adapted stingray decals. And to help fulfill its pace car duties, there are integrated strobe lights in the headlights, front louvers, and taillights. Perhaps the coolest details are the four lights that are nestled into custom tonneau cover nacelles, which give the blacked-out nacelles a bit of a louver look. They also mean the convertible doesn’t have to wear a traditional and unsightly light bar, as some earlier ‘Vettes have.
Mechanically, this C8 is stock, utilizing the 495-horsepower LT2 V-8. This 6.2-liter unit is backed up by an eight-speed dual clutch transmission. In our testing, the coupe managed a 0-60 time of a stunning 2.8 seconds and ran the quarter in 11.1 seconds at 123.2 mph—and the convertible shares the same mechanicals. We expect faster and more powerful C8 variants to come, and it’s likely that when they’re introduced they’ll be pressed into Pace Car duty. After all, consider how the C7’s pace car line evolved: the regular Stingray took the job for the C7 debut. Two years later, the Z06 had the job, then the new Grand Sport, and finally the all-powerful ZR1.
Maybe next year we’ll see a C8 Z06 at the Brickyard? We can only hope.