Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 replaces SS as NASCAR racer

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Chevrolet has also run a Camaro in the Xfinity Series since 2013.

When speaking to Automotive News, General Motors vice president of global product development, Mark Reuss, acknowledged that comparable Mustangs and Challengers generally carry a lower base price than the Chevy, and the Camaro's large price jump to upgrade to the V8 engine.

As the Holden Commodore faces curtain call, Chevy's NASCAR bosses haven't had to look far to find its replacement for the Chevrolet SS.

Chevrolet engineers employed an array of tools, including computational fluid dynamics analysis and reduced-scale and full-scale wind-tunnel testing, to optimize aerodynamic performance while maintaining the ZL1's design character.

In fact, a Camaro driven by Tiny Lund won two Grand National events in 1971, when NASCAR needed to fill out small fields at a couple or races and let Grand American cars temporarily join what was the top series in the day.

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"We've looked at racing the Camaro, and one thing we do not want to do is to force the auto where it shouldn't be", Mark Kent, director of GM's racing programs, told Autoweek back in 2009. "We are thrilled to run Camaro in NASCAR next year, with the time-honored and track-tested ZL1 badge, and we're just as excited for our drivers, teams, fans and customers".

While the street version of the Camaro ZL1 uses a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, the race vehicle will be subject to NASCAR rules, which stipulate a naturally aspirated engine and no more than 358 cubic inches. In 1969, a few enterprising dealers used Chevrolet's special-order system to get the ZL1 engine installed in 69 regular-production Camaros.

On Thursday, Chevrolet unveiled their new Camaro ZL1 stock auto for next season. The cars became instant legends on the street and dragstrip.

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 2018 Camaro ZL1 has a 650-horsepower supercharged engine.

Chevrolet has been running a auto branded after its low-volume SS performance sedan for the past few years, but needed a replacement since that four-door is going out of production this year.

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