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The pace cars

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LeMans.org writes:

Corvette are proud to have been the first American Pace Car at Le Mans, in the 1999 event. Intervening years have seen Cadillac STSi sport saloons in that role, but for their 50th Anniversary year, Corvettes are back.


Photo ACO / Nikon

There are five of the metallic burgundy coupés here this year. Two of them are adorned with two blue strobes on the roof, marking them as Direction de Course cars, while the other three carry five-light green and yellow systems and act as Safety Cars.

It's a job that demands performance, safety and reliability beyond the usual standard found in a road car, but the really impressive thing about the Corvette is how few modifications were needed . The cars were prepared by Wheel to Wheel, Inc, of Troy, Michigan, and the list of mods is incredibly short.

They take standard Z06 Corvette coupés with 350bhp LS1 engines, running on standard Goodyear Eagle F1 GS tyres, and bump up the air pressure a bit. The brake pads are replaced with GM Performance Product numbers, and a specially-designed transmission cooler is fitted. Inside the car, they install 5-point safety harnesses and a fire extinguisher. Outside, apart from the special reflective graphics, are the lights.

Most obvious are the roof-mounted strobes, of course. But there are ten more strobes completely circling the car, fitted in the various standard light apertures: four in the tail, two in the nose, and two more on each flank. They take a lot of power to drive, and a lot of power means a lot of heat, which is dealt with by a huge fan hiding under the boot floor.

And that's it. Otherwise these cars are exactly the same as those you or I could order. They are happy in their role as Pace Car for Le Mans, and equally happy on the roads of Europe.

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the corvette has finally made itself a world class sports car. We all knew it was coming, just took long enough.

the Z06 is a 405hp 5.7L car, the stock vette is a 350hp.

Why the extreme brakes for being pace car? Is the job really too much for the stock stuff GM puts on?

The lights sound kinda cool, i hate riced up strobe machines, but somehow driving the strobed pace car sounds kinda fun.


They are probably just afraid of being embarassed if something goes wrong with the stock stuff. Talk about having no real faith in your own product. :wink:


Vettes are still behind, if you ask me. Be it the stock or the Z06. Vipers sport 500HP and 525 pound-feet, and Dodge is going to increase their power output to about 550HP and more than 550 pound-feet. The Vettes still kick major ass, but they need to catch up, even if just for the sake of the numbers.


You do although know that a Z06 and '03 Viper go even in the quarter mile right? There is under .1 secconds between them to 60.


Oh yeah about the brakes. The cars are custom built to the Le Mans needs. I think somewhere along the line somebody at the Le Mans organisation thought the stock brakes weren't good enough.

With good reason, incase of a mayor incident these cars have to go around to track for many laps so the chance of the breaks overheating is present. Le Mans tracks aren't known for being easy on the equipment.

The Z06 is a great car, hopefully the US industry will come up with many cars like it.


le mans tracks are known to kill anything and everything. I'm pretty confident stock brakes on a 911 could take it though.

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