A specially equipped 2006 Corvette Z06 will serve as the official pace car of the 48th the Daytona 500 race on February 19 in Florida. 'Tonight Show' host and car enthusiast Jay Leno will drive the pace car. The Corvette Z06 Daytona 500 pace car is mechanically identical to the production version, which will debut in Europe at the end of this month.
Selection of the Z06 model marks the second consecutive year that a Corvette has been chosen as the Daytona 500 pace car. 'The Corvette Z06 is already a performance legend and the fans will enjoy seeing it lead their favorite drivers around Daytona's famous tri-oval,' said Robin Braig, president of Daytona International Speedway. 'It promises to be a great race, and kicking it off with a Corvette at the head of the pack is the best way to start.'
The Corvette Z06 Daytona 500 wears a unique paint scheme, inspired by the hot-to-cool color transition of a space capsule entering Earth's atmosphere at high speed. The paint scheme shows an elaborate, interlocking scallop design ' a twist on hot rod-style flames ' that blends 'hot' Lemon Drop yellow at the nose of the Corvette with Lemon Glow, Amber Ecstasy, Blazing Copper and Hot Poppy. The colors culminate in a cool Sapphire Trance blue at the rear of the vehicle.
Jay Leno, host of the "Tonight Show" and an unabashed car enthusiast, will drive the Corvette Z06 during opening ceremonies and the pace laps that start the race. Leno, who has a large collection of vintage cars and motorcycles, has previous experience as a pace car driver.
The Daytona 500 is NASCAR's premier race and traditionally kicks-off the Nextel Cup racing season. It is one of the largest events in the motor sport calendar, drawing more than 168,000 fans to the track and attracting nearly 11 million American television viewers. It is also broadcast around the world.