Special Editions: 1999 Corvette Rolex 24 of Daytona Pace Car
LAS VEGAS (November 4, 1998) – The latest addition to Chevrolet’s fifth- generation family of C5 Corvettes, the Hardtop, is slated to pace an international field of world-class sports cars at Daytona International Speedway’s famed road course for the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona endurance race on Saturday and Sunday, January 30- 31, 1999.
The C5 Corvette Hardtop is the first fixed-roof ‘Vette offered since the legendary second generation Sting Rays of the 1963-67 era.
“The Hardtop looks fast just standing still, with its classic lines and dynamic custom paint scheme,” said Gary Claudio, Chevrolet Race Shop manager.
Corvette’s Hardtop comes standard with a 345-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 LS1 aluminum block engine, a six-speed manual transmission (automatic transmission not available), a 3.42 limited-slip rear axle ratio, the Z51 suspension package, designed for sanctioned racing competition, and Goodyear Eagle F1 GS run-flat tires.
“Basically the only things we added to the car were chrome wheels, a custom Corsa exhaust system, and a 360-degree strobe light package,” said Jon Moss, manager, Chevrolet Specialty Vehicles. “The car is that good.”
International Speedway Corporation’s vice president of marketing, Greg Sullivan, welcomes Corvette’s world-class image to Daytona with open arms.
“Partnerships like this demonstrate a serious commitment to our fans to bring our sport to the next level by welcoming premier sponsors like Chevrolet,” stated Sullivan.
Corvette’s decision to become the official pace car of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona is a key component of Chevrolet’s strategy to reinforce Corvette’s image as “America’s Performance Icon.” Jim Campbell, Corvette brand manager, is responsible for developing this strategy, and he’s the guiding force behind Corvette’s return to the racetrack.
The pace car announcement follows Corvette’s unveiling of the newly developed “C5-R” racing machine, which is based on the C5 Coupe production Corvette and built to GT2 specs. The C5-R Corvette is slated to enter endurance racing competition in North America in 1999.