VM: With this new pace car, do you think you have raised the bar for yourselves to a really high level for the next race? Meaning, will the next pace car have to beat this one?
Kip: We try to raise our own bar every time and outdo the one before. And as proud as we were of the yellow Daytona 500 Corvette from last year, we're equally excited-but in a new way. We've really done something that hasn't been done before. We're breaking away and trying something creative. And I think that we, as designers, always have that as a goal. We try to break new ground and search new territory, and we're particularly anxious and excited to see how the crowd reacts to it-to show them we're doing something they haven't seen before.
Travis: I have a picture of last year's Daytona car on my desk, and I'm looking at it right now and I realize that you didn't label the new car as "Official Pace Car" like you did last year. You've gotten clever this year and labeled it "Official Pace Z06."
Kip: Well, that's exactly right. We're proud that this is a Z06, and we know the world has seen the Z06. The fact that the paint job is so elaborate somewhat camouflages the car, and we felt out of respect for the car it's important to say "Official Pace Z06" because that, to me, is equally important and equally significant. To have the '06 Z06 pace the Daytona 500, the Great American Race, that's a pretty significant thing that we want people to know. So rather than saying Official Pace Car, or Official Corvette, we're telling them it's the Official Pace Z06.
VM: Is there any one favorite thing about this Corvette and its paint that you appreciate over the rest of the car?
Kip: I have a particular favorite area, which is the top part of the front fender that goes into the door, where [the paint] goes from golden yellow to copper to a candy-ish red-not a bright red like you'd expect. And I love the way the copper and the yellow and the red all worked together as three colors. It's a lot different from working with primary colors, like red, white, and blue. And for me, the negative area of the paint, whether it be a letter or a graphic, is just as important as the positive area.
VM: It's really nice how the colors flow. You go all the way from a warm white to a cool blue. It adds to the look of speediness and the visual appeal of the car. You have the complementary colors on each end of the car and the really nice transition graphically. Is there anything you had to do to aid this transition?
Kip: When we did the first paint job before it was rubbed out, they painted the nose of the car. I made them repaint the nose to add more white on the leading edge and let it roll up the nose a little bit farther and [also] to the corners to get that feeling of heat. And it was interesting because after they painted it they came to me and said, "Kip, you were absolutely right." And when we compared the final, which is the one on the car, they said, "Wow, that really is better." I think it's the fine attention to detail that makes this car stand out. I think when you look at it carefully, you can see that. It's not just, "OK, we'll put a gradient in it." We spent way more time on this one than any of the other ones before, and it took a lot longer to paint this one than any of the other ones because it's so elaborate.