As first reported by GM Authority, the final Chevy Camaro will roll off the assembly line before the end of 2023 after a condensed production run, bringing an end to the sixth generation of the iconic muscle car. That leaves Chevy in a sticky situation when it comes to its NASCAR efforts, as there’s not yet a clear successor to replace the Camaro in the Cup and Xfinity Series. Like you, we can’t help but wonder – what will replace the Camaro in NASCAR once it’s gone?
Currently, Chevy-allied NASCAR teams race the Camaro ZL1 in the Cup Series, while teams in the Xfinity Series utilize the “regular” Camaro. The NASCAR-going Camaros, which don’t share any common parts with the road-going Camaro on sale at dealers, are still very competitive. In fact, The Bow Tie had more wins than rivals Ford and Toyota during the 2023 season, though it lost the championship.
Before going into alternatives to the Camaro, we should note that NASCAR guidelines state that a manufacturer must compete with a vehicle that’s in production at the time of its original submission. As such, The Bow Tie could simply continue to race with the defunct muscle car. Since it was in production at the time of its submission for the 2018 NASCAR season, it’s still considered a valid competitor beyond 2024.
Of course, there would be no direct advantage to racing an out-of-production nameplate in terms of the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” mantra. So while it would be a strange choice to continue with the Camaro, such a decision would be perfectly legal as far as NASCAR guidelines are concerned.
With that in mind, there are a few directions the automaker could go post-Camaro, with perhaps the most obvious choice being the Chevy Malibu. The four-door sedan’s design would readily lend itself to a next-gen NASCAR vehicle.
A Malibu in NASCAR wouldn’t be without precedent, given that Toyota fields the Camry in the Cup Series. On the street, the Camry is a direct rival to the Malibu, albeit the Toyota is the sales volume champion of its segment, outselling the Malibu more than two-fold.
However, it’s no secret that automakers – including Chevy and parent GM – have largely turned their backs on sedans. For instance, the Malibu is the only remaining sedan sold by Chevrolet, while GM as a whole only offers two more sedans in its entire portfolio – the Cadillac CT4 and CT5, having discontinued the remaining sedans from Chevy, Cadillac, and Buick. Not surprisingly, there have been rumblings that the future of NASCAR lies in crossovers, with an illustration leaked earlier this month bearing a resemblance to the Blazer EV.
That would result in not only a crossover, but also a battery electric vehicle, competing in what would likely be the EV support series, which was leaked last year. In fact, the sanctioning body has indicated that it will reevaluate its gas-burning habits within the next few years, opening the door for a potential Bow Tie EV race car. Let’s not forget that the Next-Gen race car, which debuted for the 2022 season, was designed with electrification in mind.
Forced to make a prediction, we’d wager that Chevy will continue to run the Camaro in the Cup Series for as long as it can, while fielding the Blazer EV SS in a new NASCAR EV series. Whether this will be desirable for NASCAR fans, racing enthusiasts, or onlookers is another question entirely.
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