It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s JR Hildebrand in Panther Racing’s No. 4 National Guard car.
The car has undergone a makeover for the 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the team’s No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet will showcase a “Soldier of Steel” livery.
The color scheme for the month highlights the National Guard’s “Soldier of Steel” recruiting campaign designed around the launch of Warner Brothers’ Superman feature film release "Man of Steel" on June 14. It stars Henry Cavill as Superman. Kevin Costner, Amy Adams and Russell Crowe have supporting roles.
The likeness of Cavill, in Superman costume, is featured prominently on the sidepod of the No. 4 car and the Superman “S” glyph will be on the nose.
“Representing the National Guard is a huge honor for all of us at Panther and being able to come to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the ‘Soldier of Steel’ paint scheme is another great way for us to do that,” Hildebrand said.
“There’s a pretty seamless connection between these soldiers and Superman; they’re both just ordinary citizens serving their community. So for us being able to compete in an iconic event like the Indianapolis 500 in Superman colors is just another way to highlight all the unbelievable things the National Guard does for this country. For us, the soldiers have always been the real superheroes.”
Hildebrand will join teammate Townsend Bell will attempt to qualify May 18 for the race in which Panther has finished runner-up in four of the past five years. Hildebrand finished second in his rookie year (2011).
Bell's No. 60 car will have ties to another feature film -- DreamWork Animation's "Turbo," which is due in theaters July 17. Hildebrand and Bell will work with technical partner Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and No. 22 driver Oriol Servia leading up to the race.