The NASCAR Next Gen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has been officially unveiled, debuting alongside its Ford Mustang and Toyota Camry counterparts during a special event held in North Carolina today.
The next-generation Camaro ZL1 race car, which will make its competition debut next year, incorporated a new lower greenhouse, shortened deck lid and widened track width that better lends itself to a coupe design like the Camaro’s. The NASCAR Next Gen rulebook is a collaborative effort between the sanctioning body and the three participating OEMs and will more closely connect the race cars with what is sold in the showroom. As the old adage goes, “race on Sunday – sell on Monday.”
“Chevrolet engineers and designers worked alongside our race teams to develop this race car while staying true to the styling essence of the Camaro ZL1,” GM’s U.S. vice president for Performance and Motorsports, Jim Campbell, said in a statement. “This cooperation will benefit Chevrolet both on the track and the street.”
The differences between the Generation 6 car that currently races in the NASCAR Cup Series and the Next Gen car are significant. In addition to the bodywork, the Next Gen car also integrates an independent rear suspension setup (as the sixth-generation Camaro does), a new sequential transaxle developed by X-Trac and 18-inch alloy wheels to replace the outgoing (and archaic) 15-inch steelies. The larger wheels have allowed manufacturers to use larger AP Racing brakes, which will improve stopping performance and result in much lower road course lap times. The bottom of the car, meanwhile, is completely sealed and incorporates an underwing and larger rear diffuser for added downforce.
Additionally, the front and rear clips of the vehicle bolt onto the center section of the front and rear ends. This will allow teams to quickly remove and replace the front and rear bumpers during a race and will also make servicing the car mid-race a bit easier.
As an added bonus, the NASCAR Next Gen Chevy Camaro ZL1 incorporates similar hood air extractors to the road car for a little bit more track-to-street overlap.
“The Next Gen Camaro has a much stronger link to the production Camaro ZL1 in terms of styling integration, improved proportions and relevant technologies,” said Eric Warren, Chevy’s director of NASCAR Programs. “From an engineering standpoint, this is a seismic shift. It’s a completely new car that brings with it a lot of opportunity from a technical standpoint.”
The NASCAR Next Gen Chevy Camaro ZL1 will race alongside the similar Next Gen versions of the Toyota Camry and Ford Mustang GT500, which also debuted today. The new race cars will make their points-paying competition debut at next season’s Daytona 500 on February 20th, 2022.