This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. On Sunday, some of the best drivers in the world will compete in some of the fastest and most technically advanced cars ever made.
But sometimes the most interesting cars on the track are the ones setting the pace.
Pace cars serve an important purpose in any racing event. They are best known for what is called the parade lap, where a unique road car is selected to lead racers around the track before the start of the race. They are also used as a safety tool, to slow down a race during an accident or in unsafe driving conditions.
Manufacturers typically use pace car selection as a marketing opportunity, and also a chance to provide something truly unique to race fans in the form of limited edition pace car replicas. Here are ten such cars, for sale right now on AutoTrader.com.
The car so cool, Donald Trump can't drive it. The Camaro has been designated this year's Indy 500 pace car, and the Apprentice reality show star was slated to lead the racers around the field. After the announcement, thousands of race fans logged into Facebook and protested his involvement. Trump then pulled out citing a conflict with his political schedule. Later, Trump abandoned his presidential bid, and retired racer, A.J. Foyt was announced as the pace car driver.
Tune in to the race on Sunday to see this car's doppelganger in action.
The newly redesigned Camaro was picked as the car for the 99th running of the Indy 500. The special editions were based off of the SS trim level, meaning each car was equipped with the 6.2 liter V8 engine that is good for 400 horsepower. The car comes in Inferno Orange with white racing stripes, and features a retro style grille and of course all the unique badging that proudly proclaim this as a Indy 500 special edition.
The 2008 Indianapolis Grand Prix was the 40th anniversary of the first time a Corvette was tapped to lead the race.
For this race, two different cars were used. The first was a green Corvette that was specially designed to run on E85 Ethanol. That car was driven during the parade lap before the start of the race. The second car is the one you see replicated here, which was used as a safety car to slow down traffic during accidents and unsafe moments in the race.
It is designed to be a throw back to the 1978 Corvette pace car that lead the way three decades earlier.
In 2007, the Corvette made its ninth appearance on the starting grid of the Indianapolis 500. Actor and Le Mans racer Patrick Dempsey slid behind the wheel of an identical car, and led the pack around the racetrack.
One of the interesting things about this particular 2007 Corvette isn't the flashy orange paint but the numbers on the odometer. With just 58 miles on the car, this Corvette is essentially brand new.
Anyone would be hard pressed to not make a statement in this purple and yellow Corvette. This is certainly one of the boldest Indianapolis 500 pace cars around, if not the wildest looking factory Corvette ever made.
Professional golfer Greg Norman was supposed to drive the 'Vette around Indy in 1998, but an injury kept him out of the driver's seat. So 1963 Indy 500 winner, Parnelli Jones, got to lead the race again.
The third generation of Chevrolet Corvette served twice as the Indy 500 pace car. The first time, in 1986, Chevrolet sold all of its Corvette convertibles with a set of pace car stickers that each owner could install on their own vehicle. This means that there are potentially thousands of cars that can claim to be a pace car special edition that year.
In 1995, the title was much more exclusive. Only 527 replicas were produced by Chevy that year. This particular car has less than 12,500 miles on its odometer, meaning the car has averaged less than 1,000 miles a year since new.
1994 saw the introduction of a brand new Ford Mustang, and racing superstar Parnelli Jones was chosen to take the Ford around Indy's famed 'brickyard' in its first year. Early fourth generation Mustangs were still equipped with Ford's tried and true 5.0-liter V8 engine. For Mustang enthusiasts that motor is what a Beatles album is to music lovers: A pure classic.
This particular 'pony' appears to be really well cared for over the years, and would likely make a great addition to a racing fan's garage.
Even in 1993, the Camaro was an Indy veteran. That year the Camaro became the first vehicle to be picked as pace car four times. 1993 was also the first year for a brand new version of the Camaro.
The pace car trim level was sold as a $995 option on the hopped up Z28 model. This means the car came with a 275-horsepower V8 engine. That might not sound like that much today (in the 2011 Camaro even the V6 engine produces 312 horsepower), but in the early '90s it was competitive power for a sports car.
This is possibly the most unique vehicle ever chosen as the Indianapolis 500 pace car. Not only is it one of the very few, non-convertible cars on our list, it is also the only mid-engine car (the engine is placed behind the driver and in front of the rear wheels for ideal weight distribution) to ever lead at Indy.
Most pace car special editions are simply normal cars with racing graphics and some extra trim added to the side. The Fiero is unique in that it featured a different body kit and engine setup up than base models. Some of these changes were added to later Fieros, so you could say that this car led the way forward for Pontiac's sports car.
Around 6,000 of these Indy 500 pace car replicas were built for the 1982 model year, which actually makes it one of the more common cars on our list. That said, it would be a lot easier to find a special version of the current Camaros than another one of these.
These limited edition cars rolled out of factories almost three decades ago, and it's difficult to tell exactly how many of the original cars are still in decent condition today.