Dario Franchitti may have retired from IndyCar competition, but he's still going to be taking a few laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway this May after it was announced that the three-time Indy 500 winner will be driving the pace car.
Franchitti - who won the event in 2007, 2010 and 2012, and who is only the third driver ever to win at three or more consecutive IndyCar Series titles - will drive an all-black 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the Indy 500 on May 25.
“Dario is a true champion who has earned the respect of competitors and race fans alike,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet's US vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “It will be very special to have Dario lead the field to the green flag."
“We are excited to have Dario Franchitti lead this year's Indianapolis 500 starting field to the green flag,” agreed J Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Dario's appearance in the Camaro Z/28 Pace Car will be special for race fans."
"It is a tremendous honour for me to be asked to drive the pace car for the Indianapolis 500," said Franchitti. "As a historian of motorsport and as a three-time winner of this great race, I will appreciate every minute.
"Although I won't be competing in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, this will be as close as one person can get to the action," he added. "I can't wait until May in Indianapolis."
Franchitti was forced to step down from active competition following a horrific accident in the penultimate race of the 2013 season at Houston which saw him launched into the air and into the catchfence at high speed.
Talking on Good Morning America
, Franchitti said that although he was mostly recovered from his injuries now, his memory "isn't what it once was" and he added that his fractured ankle was "limiting" but that he'll take it as "the other options weren't so good."
Franchitti confirmed that he was now a consultant with his old team, Chip Ganassi Racing. He attended last week's open test session at Barber Motor Speedway to support the team's 2014 driver line-up of Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Briscoe and Charlie Kimball.
RLL hauler catches fire on way to St Pete
The team transporter for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing caught fire while en route to St Petersburg for this weekend's opening event of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series, the team confirmed on Tuesday.
The drivers discovered the fire while in Louisville, Kentucky, which is approximately two hours out from the team's Brownsburg race shop. It is thought that the fire - which was soon extinguished - originated in the engineering lounge where the damage was restricted. There was no damage to the race cars, and the exact cause of the fire is under investigation.
The transporter returned to the race shop last night where the equipment is being transferred to another transporter that will depart on Tuesday evening.