Chevrolet

2017 Indianapolis 500 | Chevrolet’s Indy 500 Pace Car History

Like just about everybody else this weekend, ESM has decided to jump aboard the Indy 500 bandwagon. 2017 Corvette Grand Sport Indianapolis 500 Pace Car

Thanks to Fernando Alonso deciding to ditch the Monaco GP for a shot at Indy glory, outlets who normally wouldn’t give IndyCar the time of day are making a big deal about the Indy 500. However, the Indy 500 isn’t just one of the greatest motorsport events, it’s also a huge marketing opportunity for car manufacturers.

2017 Corvette Grand Sport Indianapolis 500 Pace Car

2017 Indy 500 Pace Car – the Corvette Grand Sport

The biggest prize comes in bagging the prestigious role of supplying the pace car. For many years the race organisers alternated between different marques. However, General Motors has held an exclusive deal to be supplier since 1997, and has used Chevrolet models since 2002, meaning the choice of a C7 Corvette Grand Sport for this year should be no surprise.

We’ve taken a look back at fifteen of the Chevrolet pace cars used in the previous one hundred runnings of the Indianapolis 500.

1948 – Chevrolet Fleetmaster Six Convertible1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Indy 500 Pace Car (C) Chevrolet

The first Chevrolet to lead the field at Indy was this two-door convertible. Powered by a 216-cubic inch (3.5-litre) straight-six engine, and with a three-speed manual gearbox, the Fleetmaster was a continuation of a car first introduced before WW2. Despite just 90hp, the Fleetmaster could apparently reach over 80mph. We’re not sure why those guys don’t look more excited…

1955 – Chevrolet Bel Air 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible Indianapolis 500 Pace Car (C) Chevrolet

Introduced in 1955, the second-generation Bel Air bagged the role of Indy 500 pace car for that year. Now possibly one of the most collectable American classic cars, the ’55 Bel Air had the option of a 265-cubic inch (4.3-litre) V8 engine and even air conditioning. Power outputs for the V8 cars ranged from 162hp to 180hp, but performance was still more cruiser than sports car.

1967 – Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car (C) Chevrolet

Performance was on the cards for 1967, with the new Camaro taking the pace car honours after a twelve-year gap for the Chevy brand. The SS model came standard with a 350-cubic inch (5.7-litre) V8, with an even bigger 396-ci (6.5-l) V8 option available in two states of tune. Naturally, Chevrolet equipped the pace car with the 396-ci engine, producing 375hp.

1969 – Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS1969 Chevrolet Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car (C) Chevrolet

Two years later the Camaro was back at Indy, with the official pace car again featuring the 396-ci V8 engine. More notable was the decision to offer a replica, with the Indy Sport Convertible Option. Buyers got the same Dove White paintwork with Hugger Orange stripes, along with the bright orange interior and cowl induction hood. Over 3,500 buyers took the plunge to pretend to be pacing the Indy field whilst driving to work. (more…)

Friday Photo – 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

What better way to bookend the week than with another stupidly-powerful V8 muscle car? If an orange Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, there’s always the Chevy option…

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Admittedly if you go for the Camaro, you’re going to have to take a 67hp hit compared to the Hellcat. Yes, the new 6.2-litre supercharged V8 engine fitted to the ZL1 can only must some 640hp, meaning you’ll be the equivalent of a supermini engine down on output. But you will have a devastating 640lb-ft of torque at your disposal; a figure which easily out-twists the Hellcat.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Chevrolet is marketing the ZL1 Camaro away from just raw horsepower, and instead on being an all-round package that’s “excellent at everything” in their own humble words. It’s certainly excellent at having the most humongous lower grille opening we can remember from recent history. It’s claimed to help improve airflow – a product of 100 hours in the wind tunnel – whilst the larger front splitter and new rear spoiler also do their bit. Inside features Recaro seats and a flat-bottom steering wheel; two additions that don’t quite succeed in hiding the humble roots of the base Camaro. (more…)

Friday Photo – Detroit 2016 Gallery

Red, white and – well, more red actually. Not the colours of the American flag, but the colours of pretty much everything on show at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Perhaps rouge is this colour of choice for motor show cars?

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Friday Photo | The madness of SEMA 2015

EngageSportMode has featured the SEMA show, and the quite literally mental creations it throws up, before. This year seems to have been just as crazy, so we’ve pulled together a gallery featuring some of the wildest offerings. Just remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or something like that.

2015 SEMA Car modification in the UK seems to have come a long way from the Max Power glory days. Gone are the bodykitted Corsas and Saxos with huge exhausts and deafening subwoofers. Today, aside from bigger wheels or a vinyl wrap, everything just seems pretty standard looking. But, over in America, the modification industry still seems to be alive and well.

However, it isn’t just aftermarket companies that use the annual Speciality Equipment Market Association event to show off. Car manufacturers are also using SEMA to display their creativity with concepts inspired by celebrities, or just the minds of designers running wild. We’ve picked a handful of our favourites from the show, but there’s a bigger gallery of the slightly crazier stuff further down. Enjoy.

Chevrolet

The big Detroit manufacturer rolled out a huge twenty concepts at SEMA, covering the range from Corvette Stingray to classic Camaro and a whole host of pickup truck offerings. With the all-new 2016 model year Camaro about to hit the streets, Chevy has clearly paid some attention to its latest offering, with four concepts based upon it.

2015 SEMA ChevroletHowever, our personal favourite is probably the 1970 Camaro RS with a thoroughly modern LT4 engine.  (more…)

Friday Photo – NE1 Newcastle Motor Show Gallery

In something that seems to be worryingly turning into a trend, the North East saw yet another automotive event take place here at the weekend. Naturally, ESM headed along to check things out.

2015 NE1 Motor Show Mercedes SLS AMG Black

Gull-winged SLS AMG stole the show

The NE1 Motor Show, chiefly backed by the Benfield dealership empire, aimed to bring both new and classic cars right to the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne. Occupying the area around Grey’s Monument, and then the entire length of picturesque Grey Street, the NE1 show certainly hit the mark in pulling people in. Being free will, of course, have helped but it was still great to see so many people taking an interest in the event.

With our BTCC Correspondent and Uncle Steve, we made short work of covering the 100 or so cars which made up the NE1 display. Ok, so it wasn’t quite Geneva or Goodwood, but this is progress. We can now tell Katie Glass that ‘the North’ is so modern we even have motor shows these days. Who knows, we might have indoor toilets and colour television by next year… But, we digress. We’ve already written about the NE1 show for the good people at Motoring Research, so here are our collective photographic efforts for you, ESM readers. Enjoy.

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What did we learn from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show?

As the first major event on the global automotive calendar, the North American International Auto Show sets the scene for the rest of the year to come. Yes, there’s a definite US-centric bias to a lot of the offerings on show, but many of the new cars will also be available globally. Check out the key trends below:

Blue is definitely the colour for promotional cars
Last year at Geneva we noted that blue had replaced brown as the paint colour of choice for cars on display at motor shows. At Detroit, things got turned up a level, with virtually everything painted bleu this year. Ford even went to the extreme measure of painting its new performance models all in the same shade of Liquid Blue for their Detroit show stand. From Fiesta ST to F-150 Raptor and, obviously, the new GT everything was the same hue. It’s worth noting that Liquid Blue isn’t a production paint colour so, despite being teased by it, you can’t pester your local dealer to deliver you a Focus ST wearing that shade. Notable exceptions to the blue-ness were the new Acura NSX in red, and Cadillac who painted their ‘V’ series performance models white.

The V6 is the new V8
Again, this trend is primarily represented by Ford’s offerings, but it’s quite a significant one. The new GT supercar packs a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, where once lived a supercharged V8. The F-150 Raptor has also ditched the 5.4 and 6.2 litre V8s from the previous generation, again favouring a boosted 3.5 litre V6. Only the Shelby GT350R Mustang seems to have emerged from Detroit with all eight cylinders still intact. The EcoBoost unit has, of course, already arrived in the regular Mustang model. (more…)

Detroit 2015 – Friday Photo Gallery

The 2015 Detroit North American International Auto Show has been a pretty good one, to say the least. We’ve seen two brand new supercars, and a host of other special new models rolled out. It might seem like we’re repeating ourselves, but it really is good to see the US car industry returning to form. Here are our photo highlights from this week:

Ford’s new GT took centre stage at Detroit 2015. Our car of the show.

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Friday Photo – Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and C7.R

Whilst watching Le Mans this year – we’re mentioning it again, sorry – I was captivated by the noise of the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R every time it appeared on camera.  2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R 01 Honestly, if you need proof then check out this video by Pratt & Miller, the team responsible for building the epic C7.R racer. It’s really rather awesome. So we thought we’d just take this opportunity to share some Corvette photo love because, as well as sounding amazing, we have to say the C7.R looks seriously aggressive, even by race car standards.

From the ridges in the bonnet, to the reverse-wedge shaped cockpit and dramatic rear arches there’s no part of the C7.R that doesn’t look toned or athletic. In fact, if you painted it black it wouldn’t be a million miles away from the car Batman might use if he ever decided to enter sports car racing. To be fair, he fits the profile of GT Am gentleman driver quite well; you can have that idea DC Comics. Corvette Stingray, Corvette Z06 and Corvette C7.R race car More impressive is the fact the regular Corvette Z06 and Stingray Coupe don’t look too dissimilar to the racer. Granted there’s no giant rear spoiler, but beyond that there’s not as many differences as you might imagine. More importantly, you can actually buy one here in the UK, as the Corvette is now officially sold by Chevrolet with a starting price of £61,520. To put that price into context, it’s about £117,000 cheaper than the equivalent Ferrari 458 Italia which just pipped the C7.R to a GTE Pro class win at Le Mans this year.

C7 Stingray meets 60 year old C1 Corvette.

C7 Stingray meets 60-year-old C1 Corvette.

When it comes to the Corvette’s pedigree, it’s worth remembering that the ‘Vette is currently celebrating its 60th anniversary. Come Monday (30th June) and it’ll actually be 61. Fact. Chevrolet UK have just produced this neat little site to let you scroll through the history of the Corvette, hear the engines from each generation and play around with their styling. Also, you can configure your very own C7 Corvette Stingray; we just wish they offered it in orange! Give it a go, and let us know which Corvette generation is your favourite.

SEMA 2013 – The wild and wonderful

Held annually at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the SEMA Show brings together the USA’s billion dollar aftermarket tuning and performance industry for one week. The show is a chance for companies from across the globe to show off their wares, but is also seized upon by car manufactures to show off their own creations. We’ve picked out some of our favourites below, both good and bad, from last week’s show.

Founded in 1963 the Specialty Equipment Market Association covers a wide range of companies, from the big brands such as K&N and Edelbrock, to lesser known firms such as Crap Industries. Apparently Crap Industries make various exterior enhancements for cars such as the MINI Countryman to the Ford Raptor, demonstrating the breadth of the SEMA Show. Anyway, without further delay, here are our notable picks from 2013.

1. Ford Snakebit F-100

Snakebit at SEMA

It’s hard to write this without it sounding too much like a Family Guy sketch. Essentially, this is the time Gene Simmons from KISS, his wife – actress Shannon Tweed – and a Canadian Ford dealership got together to produce a custom F-100 pickup to be auctioned for charity. (more…)

ESM – Goodwood FoS Video Blog #1

As promised, here at the video highlights from EngageSportMode’s weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. I’m no Ron Howard, and was only using either an iPhone or fairly basic digital camera to record these. As such, the quality is not HD, but I feel it does still capture the noise and fury of the GFoS. Due to the unique way WordPress works, the videos are hosted via YouTube. Enjoy; ear defenders advised.

I shot quite a lot of video during Friday’s Michelin Supercar Run. We were down by the start line, which gave a great opportunity to film the cars coming off the line and powering towards the first corner. Here are some of the highlights:

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport (more…)