NASCAR provided us with a look at what the future of top-tier professional stock car racing will look like with the debut of the Next Gen Chevy Camaro ZL1 race car, which was unveiled alongside its Ford and Toyota equivalents during a special event held in North Carolina last month.
GM Authority was in attendance at the debut event, where we were able to snap a few live photos of the debut car. Fans likely won’t be able to see the NASCAR Next Gen Chevy Camaro up close until it makes its competition debut next year, however, so we figured we’d use the photos to provide our readers with a virtual walkaround of it.
Out front, the NASCAR Next Gen Chevy Camaro actually doesn’t look too much different than the current Generation 6 car that Chevy races in the NASCAR Cup Series. It has a very similar Camaro ZL1-inspired front fascia and grille, although the grille and headlights are obviously vinyl stickers and are just for show. The real intake, for those readers who don’t know, is the unpainted metal grate piece that sits lower in the front fascia. Teams can then apply tape to this intake to reduce drag and give the car more downforce – although this tuning option obviously comes at the expense of some engine cooling. A larger front splitter also improves downforce and stability.
Another major change applied to the NASCAR Next Gen cars are the larger 18-inch BBS wheels, which feature quick-change centerlock hubs. The centerlock wheels will drastically lower NASCAR pit stop times, as tire changers will now only have to remove one large single bolt rather than five small ones. Fans of other race series like IMSA and IndyCar will be familiar with this hub style. The new wheels are joined by a different 18-inch Goodyear Eagle tire.
The side profile of the car has also changed quite a bit. With a lower greenhouse and shortened deck lid, the NASCAR Next Gen Chevy Camaro will better reflect the road-going car that it’s supposed to represent. Side exit exhausts remain, but the exhausts now are totally separate on each side, giving the Next Gen car a much different exhaust note than the Gen 6.
More dramatic changes have happened out back. All NASCAR Next Gen cars will feature a lower rear diffuser, giving them higher underbody downforce and making the car more stable at speed. The rear diffuser has also enabled NASCAR to implement a smaller rear lip spoiler than the tall eight and nine-inch spoilers it has implemented at certain tracks in recent years.
Finally, let’s move inside. The interior of the NASCAR Next Gen cars is pretty standard stock car fare, although it’s worth noting the seat mounting points have been moved more toward the center of the vehicle for improved driver safety. These new cars also trade the old four-speed manual transmission for an Australian Supercars-style sequential six-speed.
The NASCAR Next Gen Chevy Camaro ZL1 will make its points-paying competition debut at next season’s Daytona 500 on February 20th, 2022.