It’s been only a few months since Chevrolet debuted the sixth-generation Camaro, and the all-new COPO Camaro drag racer was unveiled at the 2015 SEMA Show. Displayed alongside many Camaro-based concept cars, the 2016 COPO Camaro is the fifth modern-day iteration of the race car, which was revived in 2012 based on the previous-generation muscle car.

Built around the sixth-gen Camaro, the new COPO is a major departure from its predecessors. There’s a new design language and a revamped interior, but, more importantly, it is significantly lighter and boasts increased structural rigidity. The sixth-gen Camaro’s body structure is 28-percent stronger than the previous model, while curb weight has been reduced by more than 100 pounds. These features benefit the COPO Camaro as well, making it a better race car.

Much like its predecessor, the 2016 COPO Camaro will be eligible for the NHRA’s Stock and Super Stock Eliminator classes. Production will once again be limited to 69 units as a tribute to the original COPO-built ZL-1, also produced in 69 examples.

Updated 01/26/2016: Chevrolet announced that the first out of 69 COPO Camaro units will be auctioned on January 29, 2016 at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction. All proceeds of the winning bid will benefit United Way.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Chevrolet COPO Camaro.

  • 2016 Chevrolet COPO Camaro
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    4.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Chevrolet COPO Camaro
- image 654176

Just like its predecessor, the 2016 COPO Camaro borrows heavily from the road-going car, including the redesigned front and rear fascias, as well as the shorter wheelbase, the narrower width, and the lower height. Based on the front fascia, the COPO is based on the LT trim, which features horizontal slats in the bumper grille and vertical LED daytime running lights. Of course, the COPO is devoid of the latter since it has no use for them, but the black inserts are there.

The new COPO carries over the massive hood bulge, the bumper-mounted parachute, and the wheelie bar of the previous car.

Styling changes aside, the new COPO carries over the massive hood bulge, the bumper-mounted parachute, and the wheelie bar of the previous car. However, Chevy ditched the production spoiler in favor an opted for a bespoke unit that has four fins. As usual, the muscle car rides on skinny tires at the front and meaty drag-spec rubber at the rear, both wearing "Goodyear" and "Eagle" lettering. The engine hood is made entirely from carbon-fiber to keep weight as low as possible.

The show car is finished in Hot Red, while the rear section features a black and white livery designed by NHRA Camaro Funny Car driver Courtney Force. The production models will be available in various body colors and with at least one optional graphics package.

Side-by-side comparison

2016 Chevrolet COPO Camaro
- image 654070

Interior

As usual, the COPO Camaro’s interior is based on the road-going car’s, but also has an array of race-spec features such as an NHRA-certified chrome-moly roll cage, a pair of lightweight bucket seats with "COPO" logos, five-point safety harnesses, and a floor-mounted shifter. The instrument panel received racing gauges and a competition switch panel. The show car also sports Courtney Force’s signature on its seats, but this feature won’t be offered on the production model.

Drivetrain

2016 Chevrolet COPO Camaro
- image 654177

Engine-wise, customers will be able to select from a variety of naturally aspirated and supercharged LS- and LT-family V-8 powerplants. Options will include updated versions of last year’s naturally aspirated 7.0-liter and supercharged 5.7-liter, as well as a newly developed all-motor, 6.2-liter. There’s no word on horsepower figures, but the previous 7.0-liter generates 430 horsepower, while the 5.7-liter, which was strapped to a 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger, churned 530 horses.

Customers will most likely have the option to buy it with a crate engine from Chevrolet Performance.

Although the previous, naturally aspirated 5.7 and 6.5-liter units are no longer available, customers will most likely have the option to buy it with a crate engine from Chevrolet Performance.

All factory engines will mate to a race-prepped Turbo 400 three-speed automatic transmission.

Unlike the road-going Camaro, the COPO uses a racing chassis and suspension components, including a custom solid rear axle system instead of the standard independent unit. Race-spec components include a lightweight, adjustable strut-type front suspension, a four-link rear suspension with adjustable coil-overs, Panhard bar and stabilizer bar, and a rear axle with an aluminum center section featuring a spool-type differential and 40-spline gun-drilled axle shafts.

There’s also lightweight, four-wheel disc brakes, a rack-and-pinion steering system, a
fuel cell with built-in high-pressure fuel pump, and bespoke racing wire harness.

Prices

Chevrolet has yet to announce pricing for the 2015 COPO Camaro, but it’s safe to assume that the drag racer will start from around $95,000. Only 69 hand-built units will be produced.

If you’re looking to compete in next year’s NHRA season with a 2016 COPO Camaro, purchasing one isn’t exactly easy. Due to the fact that demand exceeds supply by a large margin, buyers will be randomly selected by "an independent third-party" from the pool of interested customers. To sign up for a COPO Camaro you must register here.

Competition

Dodge Challenger Drag Pak

2016 Dodge Mopar Challenger Drag Pak High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 635223

Built around the oldest muscle car platform still in production, the revised Challenger Drag Pak was launched in 2015 with a choice of two V-8 engines. Mopar offers a 7.0-liter, Hemi V-8 that pays homage to the iconic 426 "Elephant" engine and a supercharged 5.8-liter, V-8 that uses the 354 cubic-inch nomenclature to pay homage to the heritage of the early Gen 1 Hemi powerplants. Both engines mate to a race-prepped automatic transmission. Prices begins at $99,426 for the naturally aspirated model and from $109,354 for the supercharged version.

Find out more about the Dodge Challenger Drag Pak here.

Ford Mustang Cobra Jet

2016 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet High Resolution Exterior
- image 653942

Relaunched for 2016 after two-year hiatus, the new Cobra Jet is based on the sixth-generation Mustang and uses a supercharged version of the pony car’s 5.0-liter "Coyote" V-8. The dragster also employs technology from the Ford C-Max Hybrid in the form of an electric water pump that allows cool-down without the engine running for improvement management of the powerplant’s temperature. Only 50 Cobra Jets will be built and sold for $99,990 before options.

Read more about the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet here.

Conclusion

2016 Chevrolet COPO Camaro High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 653872

Unlike Ford, which spent more than a year developing the new-generation Mustang Cobra Jet, Chevrolet needed only a few months to launch the redesigned COPO Camaro. GM definitely means business with the COPO brand and the fact that it can be had with at least three engines will make it a popular choice among drag racers. Personally, I like the previous COPO better, mostly because of I’m not a big fan of the sixth-gen pony’s design, but the 2016 dragster should be quicker than its predecessor due to the Camaro’s lighter and stiffer construction.

  • Leave it
    • * Limited availability
    • * Buyers are selected randomly
    • * Tough competition from Ford and Dodge

Press Release

With assistance from NHRA Camaro Funny Car driver Courtney Force, Chevrolet introduced the Gen Six COPO Camaro today at the SEMA Show.

2016 Chevrolet COPO Camaro High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 653872

After visiting the COPO build center, Force collaborated with Chevrolet designers to create a custom appearance for the 2016 COPO Camaro SEMA show car. It will be auctioned at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2016, with the proceeds going to United Way.

Chevrolet will build 69 COPO Camaro race cars for 2016, extending the production legacy that began in 2012 with the fifth-generation Camaro. Like the previous editions, the new COPO Camaro is designed for NHRA’s Stock and Super Stock Eliminator classes.

“With the new Gen Six Camaro as its foundation, the 2016 COPO Camaro begins the next chapter of an historic racing legacy,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “It’s great to have Courtney Force on Team Chevy and to work with her on the design of the new COPO Camaro show car. Most important, her effort will help raise money for a great cause.”

The 2016 COPO Camaro benefits from the lighter and stronger body structure of the Gen Six. Extensive computer-aided engineering helped increase structural rigidity by 28 percent, while the body-in-white mass was reduced by 133 pounds (60.5 kg).

Less mass and greater strength, along with the body’s sleeker profile in the wind, will help give racers an edge. It offers greater aerodynamic performance than the fifth-generation Camaro.

The show car features a Red Hot exterior color with Courtney Force-signature graphics and red-accented grille trim. Under its carbon fiber high-rise hood is a concept 350 racing engine with a Whipple 2.9L supercharger.

“I was extremely honored to work with Chevrolet and help design the 2016 COPO Camaro we unveiled today at the SEMA show,” said Courtney Force. “The bright red color and the signature slash marks towards the back on the car bring a part of my Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car to the COPO Camaro, which I think is really cool. The proceeds from this car go to a great cause and benefit the United Way Foundation, so it’s an awesome project all around."

The car’s exterior cues also include wheelie bars and a parachute, along with Goodyear racing tires mounted on Weld lightweight racing wheels.

Inside, the COPO show car features an NHRA-certified chrome-moly roll cage, lightweight racing bucket seats personalized with the COPO logo and Courtney Force’s signature, five-point safety harnesses and a floor-mounted shifter. The instrument panel contains racing gauges and a competition switch panel.

The production COPO race cars will be fitted with racing chassis and suspension components, including a unique solid rear axle system in place of a regular-production Camaro’s independent rear axle. Details include:

Lightweight, adjustable strut-type front suspension
Four-link rear suspension with adjustable coil-overs, Panhard bar and stabilizer bar
Rear axle with an aluminum center section featuring a spool-type differential and 40-spline gun-drilled axle shafts
Lightweight, racing-type four-wheel disc brakes (un-assisted)
Un-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system
Fuel cell with built-in high-pressure fuel pump
Unique racing wire harness.

When it comes to horsepower, racers can select from a variety of supercharged and naturally aspirated LS- and LT-family engines based on their intended NHRA Stock and Super Stock classes, including a supercharged 350 (5.7L), a naturally aspirated 427 (7.0L) engine and an all-new LT-based 376 (6.2L) engine. The engines are backed by a racing-prepped Turbo 400 three-speed automatic transmission.

Each COPO Camaro race car is built by hand starting with production hardware, including the same body in white used for production models.

Racers interested in purchasing one of the 69 2016 COPO Camaro race cars must register at chevrolet.com/performance/copo-camaro. An independent third-party will randomly select purchasers from the pool of interested customers.

Enthusiasts can also follow updates on the 2016 COPO Camaro program at theBlock.com.

The new COPO Camaro show car is one of more than 20 Chevrolet concept and production vehicles on display this week at the SEMA Show.

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