Chevrolet announced over the weekend that the sixth-gen Camaro SS— well, a body looking very similar to it— would make its official racing debut at the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series kickoff race at Daytona. While the bow-tie clad cars making the 500-mile voyage may only resemble our beloved Camaro in paint scheme only, the facade is a welcome departure from the Monte Carlos and Impalas of the pre-2013 years.
The fifth-gen Camaro was a pleasant surprise when it was introduced back in 2013, after Chevrolet made the decision to switch over from the Impala veneer, and the newest iteration is a continuation of that aesthetically pleasing decision.
“For the past 50 years, Camaro has played a key role in Chevrolet’s racing success in winning races and championships,” said Mark Kent, director, Chevrolet Racing. “We look forward to further success with the new Camaro SS in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.”
And though it may seem like little more than a decal and sticker change, nothing could be further from the truth. As in all forms of motorsport, the shape of the vehicle vastly influences the cars performance during a race. Aerodynamics are no longer– and haven’t been for a long time– for those who can’t build a motor; they are for those that intend to win.
In a press release, Chevrolet states, “computational fluid dynamics analysis, as well as traditional full- and reduced-scale wind-tunnel development, was used to refine the shapes of the unique upper nose and hood of the new 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Camaro SS.” In other words, Chevrolet has designed a much more efficient body for the NASCAR Camaro to use while rocketing through the air and, when it comes to endurance racing, every little bit counts.
Chevrolet has been a part of NASCAR since its inception and has been winning races just as long; in fact, some would say Chevrolet is to NASCAR what Ferrari is to Formula 1— its essence. However, until the fifth-gen Camaro made its debut in NASCAR back in 2013, there hadn’t been a Camaro used in NASCAR in its 70-year history. Which makes it a perfect fit as the Camaro hits its 50-year anniversary this year.
Some may think that the phrase “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” is an antiquated ideology that no longer applies in this day and age, but Chevrolet could not disagree more.
“Racing improves the breed and helps us design better cars for the showroom,” said Kent. “That’s why Chevrolet is on the track week after week, year after year.”
The Camaro liveried NASCAR made its official non-racing debut at the Subway Firecracker 250 Present by Coca-Cola and was on display all weekend for admirers to gawk at.
Chevrolet drivers have already walked away with five NASCAR Xfinity Series wins so far in 2016, which brings Chevrolet’s overall all-time tally to 408 victories – and increases their overall lead as the brand with the most manufacturer titles in NASCAR history. As we all know, it’s what is on the inside that counts, but watching a beautiful brand-new Camaro do 200+ mph around an oval doesn’t hurt either.