Chevrolet unveils 2018 Camaro ZL1 NASCAR race auto for Cup Series

The Camaro ZL1 is the new Chevrolet race car of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It makes its competition debut next February with the start of the 2018 season

Driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet Jimmie Johnson says that he's interested to see how the Camaro fares as a NASCAR cup auto, as opposed to the very different street version he's experienced before. Starting at Daytona Speedweeks in 2018 NASCAR's Chevy teams will bring a Camaro ZL1 to the track.

Chevy's best engineers had to go to work to optimize the ZL1's aero dynamic performance while keeping the distinct Camaro look.

The Camaro ZL1 NASCAR Cup auto bears a significant resemblance to its production counterpart - something that some fans believe has been missing in some of the current cars in the Cup series.

Jim Campbell, vice president, Performance Vehicles, and Motorsports said, "Racers have long relied on Camaro to win races and championships in amateur and professional sports auto and drag racing, as well as the NASCAR XFINITY Series".

For just $37,900, you could take home a 455-horsepower (339-kilowatt) Camaro SS, good for a 0-60 mile-per-hour (96 kilometers per hour) sprint of just 4.1 seconds, and a top speed of around 165 mph (265 kmh).

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"We've looked at racing the Camaro, and one thing we do not want to do is to force the vehicle where it shouldn't be", Mark Kent, director of GM's racing programs, told Autoweek back in 2009. The ZL1 will join the Camaro SS, which has been Chevrolet's entry in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2013.

The ZL1 badge was first used in the '60s on a Chevrolet-developed engine which found success in road racing. In 1969, a few enterprising dealers used Chevrolet's special order system to get the ZL1 engine installed in 69 regular-production Camaros.

The chassis structure will also have nothing to do with the street auto, as the racer will be based on a tube frame and roll cage design stipulated by NASCAR.

More than 40 years later, Chevrolet reintroduced the ZL1 as the ultimate performance Camaro, developed to offer track-capable performance off the showroom floor. The SS, which replaced the Impala four years ago, has won 70 MENCS races for the manufacturer. Chevrolet drivers also have scored a record 30 Cup championships. Various teams that run with Chevrolet in the Cup series were also in attendance, including representatives from Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, Richard Childress Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing, Germain Racing, and Leavine Family Racing.

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