Indy 500 Goes Green - VIDEO FEATURE


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INDIANAPOLIS - May 24, 2008: This year’s Indianapolis 500 is set to include a number of firsts, from a woman driver with a legitimate chance to win to competing cars using ethanol fuel. Former Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi will pace the race driving an ethanol-powered Corvette Z06.


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Corvette Z06 E85 concept

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The Corvette Z06 E85 concept pace car is based on the production Z06 – already one of the fastest and most powerful cars on the market – and blends its performance with the high-octane, renewable alternative fuel that is derived from a variety of crops grown across the United States.

E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Its benefits include reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and a reduced dependence on petroleum. GM is the leader in E85 production models, with more than 3 million E85-capable cars, trucks and SUVs on the road in North America alone – with more on the way. Chevrolet offers seven E85-capable models in 2008.

Apart from the fuel system and powertrain controller revisions required to run E85, the Z06 concept pace car is mechanically stock. It is distinguished by a unique Gold Rush Green color-shifting paint scheme that changes between hues of green and gold when viewed from different angles and in different light. A subtle checkered flag pattern also is part of the paint scheme. Safety equipment and strobe lights are the only other equipment added to the car.

Emerson Fittipaldi: ambassador of racing and ethanol

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Emerson Fittipaldi
After winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1989 and 1993 while driving for Chevrolet – and spending 30 years in his native Brazil as a refiner of ethanol – Emerson Fittipaldi is the perfect ambassador to lead the Indianapolis 500 in an E85-powered Corvette Z06.

“Most of the vehicles in Brazil are powered by ethanol produced from crops grown in the country, so I understand how a domestically produced renewable fuel can help the energy solutions of a nation,” Fittipaldi said. “And the E85-powered Z06 concept pace car proves economic and environmental consciousness can be fun and exhilarating. I can’t wait to get it on the race track.”

Fittipaldi, whose personal cars include a Corvette Z06 and a Camaro awarded after winning the 1993 Indianapolis 500, resides in both Florida and Brazil. He has interests in several Brazilian ethanol companies and is an ardent champion of the fuel as a viable alternative to gasoline.

Brazil – the fifth-largest country in the world – is a global leader in ethanol usage in automobiles. Approximately 70 percent of Brazilian new cars are equipped with FlexFuel systems that allow the use of a gasoline/ethanol mix or pure ethanol. Ethanol production has grown tremendously during the past three decades and has allowed the country to practically wean itself completely from imported oil.

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