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Unique collection of Chevrolet Corvette Indy Pace Cars heads to auction in Indianapolis

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A track-driven 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Indy Pace Car, one of three 2004 models in the collection. Photos courtesy Mecum Auctions.

The Chevrolet Corvette has paced the Indianapolis 500 a total of 14 times (15, if you count the upcoming 102nd running of the race), more than any other automobile model in history. Businessman, philanthropist and car collector Keith Busse owns a complete set of Corvette Indy Pace Cars – said to be the only one in private hands – and at Mecum’s upcoming Indianapolis sale, his Corvette Pace Car Collection will be offered as a single lot, presenting fans of the Chevrolet Corvette and the Indy 500 with a unique, possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

1978 Chevrolet Corvette Indy Pace Car

1978 Corvette Indy Pace Car Edition.

Though the Corvette was introduced to the American public in 1953, it wouldn’t pace the Indy 500 until 1978, in time for the car’s silver anniversary. Since then, Corvettes have paced the Memorial Day Weekend classic in 1986, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2017. That’s five races more than its nearest competitor, the Chevrolet Camaro, which paced its first Indy 500 in 1967, the same year it hit the market. Since 2012, Chevrolet has had an exclusive arrangement with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to provide pace cars, essentially reducing the options to a Corvette or a Camaro.

1986 Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Edition

1986 Corvette Pace Car Edition.


1995 Corvette Pace Car

1995 Corvette Indy Pace Car Edition.

Keith’s collection contains a total of 16 cars, including all three liveries of the 2004 Corvette used in on-track activities. Some are actual pace cars, driven on track, while others are festival cars (also track-driven) or pace car replicas built by Chevrolet. In years when Chevrolet did not produce pace car replicas for the general public, Keith received permission from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and Chevrolet to replicate the pace car, sourcing adhesive graphics from the same supplier as used on the actual track-driven cars.

1998 Corvette Pace Car

1998 Corvette Pace Car Edition.


2003 Corvette Indy Pace Car

One of five 2003 Corvettes supplied as pace cars for the 2002 Indy 500.

The single-lot offering includes a 1978 Corvette Pace Car Edition, with 997 miles, Bloomington Gold and NCRS Top Flight status; a 1986 Corvette Pace Car Edition, with 4,983 miles and  Bloomington Gold status; a 1995 Corvette Pace Car Edition, with 64 miles, Bloomington Gold and NCRS Top Flight status; and a  1998 Corvette Pace Car Edition, with 905 miles, Bloomington Gold and NCRS Top Flight status. The 2003 Corvette offered is an actual pace car, one of five built to pace the 2002 Indianapolis 500. The trio of 2004 convertible models includes a track-driven festival car, in Le Mans Blue, with 422 miles; the white car given to race winner Buddy Rice, with 115 miles on the odometer; and a two-tone white and blue track-driven pace car, one of three supplied in 2004. The 2005 Corvette convertible is also a track-driven car, number six of eight provided for the 89th running of the Indy 500.

2004 Corvette festival car

A track-driven 2004 festival car.


2004 Corvette given to Indy Winner Buddy Rice

The Corvette convertible given to 2004 race winner Buddy Rice.

In 2006, Chevrolet produced no pace car replicas for the public, and just three Z06 model pace cars were supplied to the IMS for the 90th running of the race. In addition to the three “official” pace cars, two duplicates of this unique patriotic livery were allowed, including Busse’s replica Z06 and one authorized for Roger Penske. In 2007, Chevrolet again sold pace car replicas to the public, and the collection’s Atomic Orange convertible – with 160 miles on the odometer – is one of the 500 copies produced. The 2008 convertible is another track-driven (festival) car, number 7 of 60 black and silver Pace Car Editions shipped to the IMS for the 92nd race. The final C6, a 2013 ZR1, is a recreation authorized by the IMS and Chevrolet, showing just 138 miles on the odometer.

2005 Corvette Indy Pace Car

One of eight track-driven cars from the 2005 race.


2006 Corvette Z06

Busse and Roger Penske were authorized by the IMS and Chevrolet to build 2006 Corvette Z06 Pace Car replicas.

The trio of C7s, one each from 2014 (which paced the 2013 Indy 500), 2015 and 2017 model years, all represent Corvettes unavailable to the general public, as pace car replicas were not produced by Chevrolet. As with Busse’s 2006 Pace Car Corvette, each is an authorized reproduction.

2007 Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Edition

2007 Corvette Pace Car Edition.


2008 Corvette Pace Car

2008 Corvette Pace Car.

2013 Corvette ZR1 Pace Car replica

Authorized replica of the 2013 ZR1 Corvette used to pace the 2012 Indy 500.

Should the set of 16 Corvettes fail to meet the expected reserve, the cars will be offered as individual lots, each at no reserve and accompanied by a pair of tickets to the 2017 Indianapolis 500, taking place on Sunday, May 27. Proceeds from the sale of the Corvette Pace Car Collection will go to the Keith Busse Automotive and Classic Art Foundation, which provides financial support to higher education institutions and charities in Northeast Indiana.

2014 Corvette Pace Car replica 2015 Corvette Pace Car replica 2017 Corvette Pace Car replica

Authorized 2014, 2015 and 2017 Indy Pace Car replicas.

Mecum’s Indianapolis sale runs from May 15-20 at the Indiana State Fair Grounds, and it’s believed that the Keith Busse Corvette Pace Car Collection will cross the auction block on Saturday, May 19. For additional details, visit