2003 Chevrolet CorvetteCoupe - 24 Hours of Le Mans Pace Car
Year of manufacture2003
To be OFFERED AT AUCTION at Auctions America’s Fort Lauderdale event, April 1-3, 2016.
$ 42,000 - $ 45,000 US
Corvettes have been successfully competing at Le Mans since 1960, but it was not until 1999 that one was chosen to pace the world’s most famous 24-hour endurance race. This all-important product placement marked the beginning of Chevrolet’s ultimate plan to reinforce the Corvette image as a true world-class sports car for the new century. The other important component in this strategy was the debut of the C5-R, a new GT race car that could compete and win on an international stage. Under the Corvette Racing banner the GM-engineered and factory-supported C5-R program dominated the GTS class at Le Mass between 2000 and 2004, winning three times.
So after two consecutive GTS Class victories for the C5-R, it was no surprise that the Chevrolet Corvette was once again chosen by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the race’s sanctioning body, as the official pace car for the 71st 24 Heurs du Mans in 2003. This also nicely coincided with the 50th anniversary of “America’s Sports Car,” and would be another great opportunity to showcase the extremely capable production Corvette to the world.
For this important role, records indicate that Chevrolet sent a total of six new 2003 Corvette coupes to France; two to act as Pace Cars while the others were used as Safety Cars. All were similar in appearance being painted the distinctive “Anniversary Red” (color code 94) and given Champagne-colored aluminum wheels as well as all of the special 50th anniversary badging. Each had the 1SB Preferred Equipment Group of options and the new F55 Magnetic Selective Ride Control system. Also these cars were all powered by an aluminum 5.7-liter Chevrolet LS1 V-8 rated at 350 horsepower making them more than capable of performing their duties on the track. As always, four-wheel disc brakes are a standard for a machine of this type; these are power-assisted.
The car being offered here is one of the two 2003 Corvette Pace Cars used at Le Mans that year. Along with its special event graphics scheme and North American Signal Company roof-mounted blue marker lights, it also is equipped with a Simpson three-inch wide five-point safety harnesses for both the driver and passenger. There is also a Pe Mall hand-held fire extinguisher mounted on the rollbar in the rear compartment. The seats and floor mats have the embroidered 50th anniversary logo.
Many amenities of convenience remain including air conditioning, Bose AM/FM radio with CD sound system, power windows, power door locks, power steering, intermittent windshield wipers and tilt/telescopic steering wheel.
This particular 2003 Corvette Le Mans Pace Car was retained by General Motors after the race as part of their Heritage Collection. It was subsequently sold when the company was going through bankruptcy proceedings in 2009. Since then it has been maintained in remarkably original condition.
This very special Le Mans Pace Car comes with its owner's manual and documentation of its saga and represents the opportunity to own a piece of international racing history.
2003 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe - 24 Hours of Le Mans Pace Car