The ZL1 was outfitted and put to work for the Daytona 500

The 2017 Daytona 500 has now come and gone, but the essence of the Chevy Camaro ZL1 pace car is still resonating after being driven by none other than Jeff Gordon, who has won the Daytona 500 in 1997, 1999, and 2005. There were a total of three pace cars on site, for the Daytona 500, all of which shared the same graphics. Based on the latest Camaro ZL1 design, each model was practically bone stock, save for the special graphics and Whelen LED safety lighting system. But, the ZL1 is a pretty special car in the Camaro lineup, so that’s okay – I mean, who can argue with a 6.2-liter, LT4, V-8 that’s paired with a new 10-speed automatic and magnetic ride control? Surely, the pace car was an absolute blast to drive around the track even if Gordon didn’t get all up in the action.

Can you imagine how hard it must have been not to just jump on it and take over Daytona? The new ZL1 is the most powerful, factory-built Camaro to date and it’s certainly ready to play with the big boys. But, there’s also something to be said for a man that has that kind of self-control, as I’m sure none of us here at TopSpeed could have restrained all that much. Anyway, let’s take a better look at the pace car and talk a little more about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 Pace Car.

What makes the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 Pace Car special

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 Pace Car High Resolution Exterior
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So, as a ZL1, this pace car rocks out a Silver Ice Metallic exterior finish and rides on 20-inch forged aluminum wheels that are wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires. As a pace car, it’s bone stock, so don’t expect any powertrain upgrades or anything else of that nature, but with that 6.2-liter LT4 under the hood, that’s okay, thanks to the 640 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque on tap. Power is routed to the rear wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission whose internal design is the result of a collaboration between GM and Ford.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 Pace Car High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 Pace Car High Resolution Exterior
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As a ZL1, this pace car rocks out a Silver Ice Metallic exterior finish and rides on 20-inch forged aluminum wheels that are wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires.

With that Corvette Z06 power on tap, the ZL1 hits 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and hit a quarter mile in 11.4 seconds at 127 mph, both big improvements over the previous model. And, thanks to the big Brembo brakes with six-piston front calipers and two-piece rotors, this baby can come to a halt from 60 mph in just 107 feet. It can also pull more than a G when cornering, so there’s that.

So, that’s the stock goodness of the ZL1, but what does the official pace car version bring to the table? To be honest, not much. It rocks the same limited-slip rear diff and magnetic ride control. It’s got that Silver Ice Metallic finish and the Whelen safety lights on the roof. Otherwise, the only real difference is the updated Daytona 500 decal on the front doors and the “Official Pace Car” lettering down above the side skirts. There’s also “Camaro” lettering atop the windshield. Chevy wasn’t nice enough to let us look inside, but it should be relatively stock aside from the required safety equipment like a roll cage, five-point harness, and a roll cage – you know, the things required for the car to be on the track, even if it isn’t actually racing.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 Pace Car High Resolution Exterior
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The only real difference is the updated Daytona 500 decal on the front doors and the “Official Pace Car” lettering down above the side skirts. There’s also “Camaro” lettering atop the windshield.

In the end, the car is nothing more than an official pace car, but that makes it a little more valuable that your standard ZL1 even without any special upgrades. GM has said that each of the three pace cars featured “selected accessories and personalization features,” but failed to elaborate what that really means. Either way, it’s not a bad way to draw interest to the most powerful factory-built Camaro ever, and one can’t help but be a little jealous of Gordon getting to roll that baby around the track.

Press Release

Three-time Daytona 500 winner and four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champ Jeff Gordon will lead the field to the start of Sunday’s Daytona 500 behind the wheel of the new 2017 Camaro ZL1 pace car.

“Chevrolet and I have a great history at the Daytona 500 and it’s an honor to drive the 650-horsepower Camaro ZL1 pace car for the largest, most historic race of the season,” Gordon said.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 Pace Car High Resolution Exterior
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Chevrolet will also pace the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Nextera Energy Resources 250 with a 2017 Silverado this evening. A 2017 Camaro SS — featuring a new Krypton Green exterior color — will pace the NASCAR XFINITY Series Powershares QQQ 300 on Feb. 25.

“Chevrolet is proud to pace the Great American Race on the high banks of the iconic Daytona International Speedway,” said Steve Majoros, director of marketing, Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers. “The Camaro ZL1 delivers unprecedented levels of technology, refinement and track capability.”

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 Pace Car High Resolution Exterior
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Gordon has plenty of experience leading the field at Daytona. In addition to winning the Daytona 500 in 1997, 1999 and 2005, he shared the overall win last month at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

All three Chevrolet pace vehicles share graphic theme highlights in silver and black, along with selected accessories and personalization features.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 Pace Car High Resolution Exterior
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Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 pace car includes:

Silver Ice Metallic exterior color
LT4 6.2L direct-injected, supercharged V-8
All-new 10-speed automatic transmission
Magnetic Ride Control
Electronic limited-slip differential
20-inch forged aluminum wheels
Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires
Brembo brakes with six-piston front calipers and two-piece rotors
1.02g max cornering
0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds
Performance Data Recorder

The only content separating the pace car from a production model is unique graphics and an integrated Whelen LED safety lighting system.

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