It was only fitting that the Corvette design team honor the outgoing C5 by saluting its finest racing accomplishments with a special Le Mans Commemorative Edition package for all 2004 Corvette models. The Coupe and Convertible packages included special Le Mans Blue metallic paint, unique badging noting the Le Mans victories, polished wheels, and a special shale-colored interior featuring embroidered Le Mans emblems on the headrests.
A successor to the ZR-1 made its debut in 2001 as the Z06, giving a nod to the high-performance Z06 version of the C2 Corvette of the 1960s. The Z06 uses a tuned version of the standard LS1 engine (designated the LS6), with a higher power output of 385 hp (390 PS; 287 kW), later bumped to 405 hp (411 PS; 302 kW) starting in 2002.
Corvette performed Indianapolis 500 Pace Car duties for a record sixth time. It marks the third consecutive year and 15th time overall that a Chevrolet product has served as the Official Pace Car – the most appearances by any brand. The 2004 Corvette that will serve as the Indy 500 Pace Car is virtually identical to the Convertibles available today through local Chevrolet dealerships.
The Corvette C5-R was part of a plan by General Motors and their Chevrolet brand to create a factory team to participate in grand touring races not only in North America, but also elsewhere in the world, most notably at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. GM had previously been against approving factory support for Corvette racing programs, although the IMSA GT Championship's Corvette GTPs had seen some support until they ended competition in 1989.