NASCAR and the Camaro ZL1 are a match hotter than your Daytona summer fling

Chevrolet has announced the Camaro ZL1 as its top-tier race car for the 2018 NASCAR season. The news comes as no surprise following the discontinuation of the Chevy SS sedan in May of 2017, the basis for Chevy’s previous stock car. This marks the first time Chevy’s pony car will battle with the big boys (and Danica Patrick) in NASCAR’s tile event, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

As with any modern NASCAR racer, the cars are only look-alikes to their production counterparts. They car merely sheet metal shells bolted to a tube-chassis and powered by custom-built racing V-8s. Not a single bolt or switch comes from the production car’s assembly line. The Camaro ZL1 Monster Energy car is no different, though Chevy’s design team has done a great job preserving the Camaro ZL1’s massive lower grille, brake ducts, menacing headlights and curvy rear haunches. The announcement was made at GM’s Detroit headquarters with driver Jimmie Johnson and executive VP of GM Global Product Development Mark Reuss on hand. Reuss said in a statement, “We are thrilled to run Camaro in NASCAR next year, with the time-honored and track-tested ZL1 badge, and we’re just as excited for our drivers, teams, fans and customers.” The 2018 NASCAR season will begin in February at the Daytona Speedweeks.

Continue reading for more information.

A Short Life For The Chevy SS

Goodbye Chevy SS, Hello Camaro ZL1 – Chevy's New NASCAR Cup Race Car Announced! Exterior High Resolution
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Goodbye Chevy SS, Hello Camaro ZL1 – Chevy's New NASCAR Cup Race Car Announced! Exterior High Resolution
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It was February of 2013 when I found myself in the infield at the Daytona International Speedway just up the road from my home in central Florida. I came for the debut of the 2014 Chevrolet SS sedan and its NASCAR Sprint Cup counterpart. Mark Reuss led the event, while Jeff Gordon stole the spotlight and drove the SS onto the stage. Even the then-new 2014 Chevy Silverado was present, making it a two-for-one event I’ll never forget. Heck, I still wear the black SS T-shirt Chevy was handing out in the media room.

Goodbye Chevy SS, Hello Camaro ZL1 – Chevy's New NASCAR Cup Race Car Announced! Exterior High Resolution
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Now with the SS gone, the Camaro ZL1 moves up to take its place. Of course, this isn’t the first time the Camaro has seen action in NASCAR. The Camaro SS has raced in the Xfinity series since 2013. In the opposing corner, Ford competes in the Xfinity series with the Mustang, the Camaro’s real-life rival. This leads me to wonder if Ford will bring the Mustang to the Monster Energy Cup series as a replacement for its Taurus race car. After all, rumors suggest Ford may soon axe the Taurus after 2018. And since the Mustang GT races against the Camaro SS in the Xfinity series, it’s a good possibility the Camaro ZL1 will be challenged by the Shelby Mustang GT350 or the upcoming GT500. Now that would inject some fun back into NASCAR.

References

2017 Camaro ZL1

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2017 Camaro ZL1.

2017 Camaro ZL1 First Impressions Drive

First Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Camaro ZL1 First Impressions Drive.

2016 Camaro SS

2016 - 2017 Chevrolet Camaro High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 Camaro SS.

2013-2017 Chevy SS

2016 Chevrolet SS High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2013-2017 Chevy SS.

A new era in Chevrolet motorsports starts today with the introduction of the Camaro ZL1 as the new race car for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson — driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports — joined Mark Reuss, executive vice president of GM Global Product Development, to reveal the new race car at Chevrolet’s headquarters in Detroit.

“Chevrolet, Camaro and ZL1 are all synonymous with winning, both on and off the track,” said Reuss. “We are thrilled to run Camaro in NASCAR next year, with the time-honored and track-tested ZL1 badge, and we’re just as excited for our drivers, teams, fans and customers.”

The Camaro ZL1 will make its competition debut next February during Daytona Speedweeks, which kicks off the 2018 NASCAR season. It will join the Camaro SS, which has been Chevrolet’s entry in the NASCAR XFINITY Series since 2013.

Goodbye Chevy SS, Hello Camaro ZL1 – Chevy's New NASCAR Cup Race Car Announced! Exterior High Resolution
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“The new Camaro ZL1 is a great-looking race car with a lot of heritage behind it, which will make it a big hit with fans,” said Johnson. “And as someone who’s enjoyed the ZL1 on the street, I’m really looking forward to getting this new race car on the track.”

Chevrolet engineers employed an array of tools, including computational fluid dynamics analysis and reduced-scale and full-scale wind-tunnel testing, to optimize aerodynamic performance while maintaining the ZL1’s design character.

“Racers have long relied on Camaro to win races and championships in amateur and professional sports car and drag racing, as well as the NASCAR XFINITY Series,” said Jim Campbell, vice president, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “We look forward to racing the Camaro ZL1 in the premier Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Goodbye Chevy SS, Hello Camaro ZL1 – Chevy's New NASCAR Cup Race Car Announced! Exterior High Resolution
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Joining Chevrolet today for the Camaro ZL1 race car’s debut were representatives from Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Germain Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing and Leavine Family Racing.

The Camaro ZL1 brings a unique, track-focused legacy to NASCAR. The ZL1 name was originally bestowed in the 1960s on a Chevrolet-developed all-aluminum racing engine that became a dominating force in road racing. In 1969, a few enterprising dealers used Chevrolet’s special-order system to get the ZL1 engine installed in 69 regular-production Camaros. The cars became instant legends on the street and dragstrip.

Goodbye Chevy SS, Hello Camaro ZL1 – Chevy's New NASCAR Cup Race Car Announced! Exterior High Resolution
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More than 40 years later, Chevrolet reintroduced the ZL1 as the ultimate performance Camaro, developed to offer track-capable performance straight off the showroom floor. The 2018 Camaro ZL1 is powered by a 650-horsepower supercharged engine featuring a similar 90-degree V-8 configuration as the Cup racing engines.

The new Camaro ZL1 race car builds on a winning legacy carried by the previous Chevrolet SS, which has scored 70 Cup Series wins to date and contributed to Chevrolet earning a record 39 NASCAR manufacturer titles — including 13 consecutive titles from 2003-2015.

Chevrolet drivers have also achieved a record 30 Cup championships, including Jimmie Johnson in 2016.

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