VM: Since each of these cars was painted separately, does that mean each one is unique?
Kip: Not at all. All three cars were built with the same mask set. We designed these on the car, in tape, then tuned them up, and then we put the mask back on the car. We'd tune it again, and then they'd make the set of masks, so they're all identical. They're all computer indexed properly so that the paint schemes are all literally the same. The paint schemes are very carefully made with precut masks that we designed and tuned and approved before we painted anything. So, they're identical. Also, we didn't use decals. Of course the standard Z06 badge is on the car, but the only decal is the Daytona 500 label because, after the 500, it will be reused in another race. But as far as the paint scheme, that's painted on and will remain with that car.
VM: Revisiting an earlier question, was there anything on the car you wish you could have gone back and changed?
Kip: I think if I had thought that the car was going to be inside on display half the time, I probably would have made the red just a little bit brighter. But that would be the only thing because, like I said, I think that the car was designed to be shown outside. Maybe I should have tweaked it a little to be more to my satisfaction indoors. But again, that's easy for me to say now!]
VM: Obviously, the Z06 is not a convertible, and therefore it doesn't have a drop top that would allow the roof strobes to be hidden behind the seats in a dome, like they were on the '98. So, with the Z06, there's a light bar on the roof. How did you get past the design hazards of an object that could potentially interrupt the lines of the car itself?
Kip: We designed it, clayed it, cast it, fabricated it, and molded that light bar here. And it was designed and fabricated specifically for the C6 coupe. It was not an off-the-shelf bar.
Back in the rear hatch, the computer that controls the Pace Z06's strobe lights can be fou
VM: That's impressive! It's amazing to think that this much detail goes into one car that may only be used once. But, I think that's part of the pace-car mystique. The casual observer will never know.
Kip: Our pace-car program is very important to us. The number of paint schemes we evaluate, and the amount of effort we invest in terms of follow-up and detail is because we think this is a very important part of the race. [It's] part of the entertainment, part of the impact, and I think that's part of what people pay good money to go see. In fact, I have to say one of the biggest compliments people at Chevrolet always give us is how much they appreciate our effort when they see what we do with the pace cars. We treat it very seriously. We have a team that has a lot of history in doing pace cars. And perhaps more importantly, we have a real passion for them. And hopefully people like them!
VM: I don't think you're going to have to worry about that.