General Motors is planning to build a new racing technical and development center in North Carolina sometime in the near future, Chevy NASCAR program director Eric Warren revealed to GM Authority in an exclusive interview.
The automaker originally announced plans to construct the new racing engineering hub in the Charlotte region last January. Those plans materialized in the purchase of land and the construction of a large building in Concord. However, the project was put on the backburner as the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the nation and the world. Shortly after, in June 2020, the automaker’s GM Defense subsidiary was awarded a $214.3 million government contract to provide the U.S. Army with its Chevy Colorado-based Infantry Squad Vehicle. Rather than build a brand-new facility to manufacture the ISV, the automaker decided to utilize the existing building it had constructed for the Chevy NASCAR racing center to produce the military truck.
Now the Chevy NASCAR program is looking to set up another new racing technical center in North Carolina, Warren explained, and the new facility will be even better than the one it had planned initially.
“Originally, we purchased the [what is now the GM Defense plant in Concord] facility for our racing technical center and then with COVID and all the austerity measures, we put it on pause,” Warren told GM Authority executive editor Alex Luft. “The center was already purchased at this point. Then GM Defense business came up and it made a lot of sense to dedicate it to GMD. But there is still going to be a racing technical center, just not at that facility.”
“There were some compromises with that facility too, like there is only one door, but at the time we were going to push really hard for it,” he added. “With the location going to GM Defense, that gave us time to go back and look at other areas and the new technical facility we’ll probably be announcing really soon. At one point in time, we were going to have a groundbreaking on the new technical center the next day after the GM Defense announcement, so we thought we’d give that some space.”
When GM initially announced the racing technical center last year, it said the facility would allow it to expand and enhance factory support for Chevy NASCAR race teams, as well as various other GM racing teams. The facility was set to contain high-tech driver-in-the-loop simulators, vehicle simulation tools, an aerodynamics development center and other tools designed to advance its racing and production capabilities. The new facility will likely feature the same equipment, although GM is staying tight-lipped on details for the time being.
GM is eyeing a new racing tech center just as it prepares to start racing the new NASCAR Next Gen Chevy Camaro ZL1 from the 2022 season onward. The NASCAR Next Gen car is significantly more modern than the current Gen 6 car, featuring carbon-composite body panels, a sequential transmission, larger wheels with centerlock hubs and larger ventilated disc brakes, among other advanced tech.