April 7, 2006 – Two racing icons will unite when Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France winner, drives the 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Pace Car to lead the field to the start of the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 28, 2006.
For a record 17th time, a Chevy will pace the race, and it’s the eighth time for a Corvette to be leading the pack. The Corvette Z06 Pace Car Armstrong will be driving is based on the C6.R Corvette racer that has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four out of the past five years.
“We’re proud that this year’s Indianapolis 500 will showcase the new 505-horsepower Corvette Z06 and honored that it will be driven by another racing icon — Lance Armstrong,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “The 2006 Corvette Z06 is infused with technology from our own endurance racer — the four-time Le Mans winning C6.R Corvette race car — and having it play such a key role at this important event acknowledges the significance the vehicle has played in American culture for more than 50 years.”
When Armstrong was asked to drive the pace car it didn’t take long for him to give an answer.
“When we got the phone call to ask if I was interested it was a very short conversation. It was like: “Are you kidding? Of course.” It is a huge honor and something that I am very excited to do,” Armstrong said.
“The Hulman-George family and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway staff are honored that Lance Armstrong will pace the field for the start of 90th Running of the Indianapolis 500,” said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer. “Lance is a sports icon, and it’s only fitting that he’ll be driving another American icon on Race Day as he takes the wheel of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. It’s also gratifying to continue the long relationship between the Indianapolis 500 and Chevrolet with such an exciting, performance-bred vehicle as the Corvette Z06.”
Armstrong, who spent some time in the “˜Vette on the city streets before the announcement was made, said he is looking forward to being able to open up the Z06 on the track.
“It is always interesting the first time you get in a car. Obviously, the speed and the handling of it is different, and the different details of it. Having the speedometer in the front windshield was something that I’ve never experienced before, and that took some getting used to. The power was there, and every red light was a temptation,” said Armstrong.
The race will be broadcast live May 28 by ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The green flag drops at 1 p.m. (EST).