2019 Corvette ZR1 Pace Car Hits Wall Before Race Begins

When you are talking about a vehicle with over 750 horsepower, you can be sure that there will be some unintended paint swapping somewhere along the way. But, while the ‘net can be chock full of examples of people ballin’ up one of Chevrolet’s premier autos, the recent occurrence during this weekend’s Belle Isle IndyCar Race in Corvette’s home town of Detroit just shows that even those deep within the Blue Box aren’t immune. And, the notoriously rough course on Belle Isle itself has claimed a few vehicles.

Mark entered the turn under power and the back end continued to carry the same arc. The car hit the wall and rested with a field of drivers sitting behind it. The race was delayed for about 27 minutes while the front of the ZR1 could be swept up.

Mark Reuss, Executive VP, Global Product Development had a recent incident while he was pacing the race in one of Chevrolet’s newest supercars. As the competitors were all weaving and dodging to help gain some heat in their tires, Mark piloted the 755-hp ZR1 (with cold Michelin’s race-ready Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires) into a turn with a slight rise and found the tall, skinny pedal a little too soon.

 

Here’s a video of how things went so bad so quickly.

The supercharged LT5 easily overcame any traction that the cool cup tires could provide. The reality is that when you are building a car to perform at this level, which is intended to spend some serious track time under heavy throttle, it goes without saying that at some point, someone is going to throw it into the giggly weeds. The fact that it was done on the pace lap only serves to confirm the importance of caution when driving such a car, so equipped on cool tires or in weather conditions that prevent them from coming up to temperature.

Mark Reuss is no stranger to pacing races on Belle Isle. Here he is set to pace the 2013 race in a 2014 Corvette Stingray Pace Car. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)

With the ‘net so full of spectacular, testosterone-dripping accidents and mishaps, it is so ironic that the all-powerful ZR1, with all this performance greatness, gets its first taste of public carnage while operating the lap as a pace car. We can only imagine what conversations are being held around the water cooler in GM’s Renaissance Center this Monday morning.

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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