Business magnate and potential 2012 presidential candidate Donald Trump will lead 33 cars to the green flag as driver of the pace car at this year’s Indianapolis 500 on May 29.
He’ll be equipped with the new 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible pace car, a 400-horsepower V-8 Chevy with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Camaro’s color scheme will be similar to that used on the 1969 Camaro pace cars that have been among the most collectible muscle cars in the world for decades.
“The first thing I said to myself is, ‘Hey, do they pay me for this or not?’” Trump joked about the invitation to drive. “I called a couple of friends of mine and they said, ‘No, Donald, this is a great honor. They don’t pay you.’”
“The Indianapolis 500 has been the gold standard of motorsports for a century, and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the Camaro and bring the famous field of 33 drivers to the green flag.”
“He is an iconic American success story, a business leader without peer who is a fitting choice to bring the field for ‘The Most Important Race in History’ to the green flag,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer.
Trump originally questioned Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials who said he should arrive a day before the race to practice driving the pace car. He said he decided they were right after learning he would drive at 130 to 140 miles per hour.