Goodbye, Chevy SS
After a brief run as one of the best sports sedans you can buy, the Chevrolet SS will soon disappear. The Australian factory that builds it is set to close later this year, forcing production of the V-8–powered brute to end as well. For Chevrolet, that also meant it needed to come up with a new design for its NASCAR Cup entry. Today, it took the wraps off its new Camaro ZL1-inspired race car. And it actually looks pretty cool.
“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, Chevrolet’s vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “We look forward to racing the Camaro ZL1 in the premier Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.”
Jimmie Johnson, the driver of the #48 Lowe’s car, was also at the reveal to say nice things about his new ride. “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. 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,” said Johnson.
Lots of fans were expecting an Impala or Malibu silhouette since most NASCAR competitors’ vehicles are based on four-door sedans, but let’s face it: None of them are based on anything but the spec racing chassis. They’re all zero-door race cars, and Chevrolet has painted and stickered its NASCAR racer to vaguely resemble its most accessible sporty car. It actually makes perfect sense. Plus, as Campbell pointed out, Chevy’s been running a Camaro SS in the Xfinity series since 2013.
Also present was Dale Earnhardt Jr. who didn’t get a quote in the official press release, presumably because he’s set to retire at the end of this year.
Look for the new Chevy to make its racing debut this coming February for the start of the 2018 season in Daytona.
Frank Markus contributed to this post.