A new Chevrolet model will grace the track for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in 2018. After five seasons of the Chevrolet SS, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will replace the model starting next season. The car was unveiled at the Detroit-based GM Renaissance Center on Thursday afternoon.
Jimmie Johnson introduced the car, adorned in blue with #8 (the preferred racing number of company co-founded Louis Chevrolet), by driving it to the center. Over the course of his Cup career, Johnson has exclusively driven Chevy cars, including the Monte Carlo, Impala and the SS.
“Chevrolet, Camaro and ZL1 are all synonymous with winning, both on and off the track,” GM Global Product Development Executive Vice President Mark Reuss, stated. “We are thrilled to run Camaro in the NASCAR Cup Series next year, with the time-honored and track-tested ZL1 badge, and we’re just as excited for our drivers, teams, fans and customers.”
The ZL1 is not the first Camaro to race in NASCAR. In the Xfinity Series, the Camaro has been driven by teams like JR Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing since the 2013 season.
Since 2013, the SS has won 70 races in the Cup Series, along with Cup championships in 2013 (Johnson), 2014 (Kevin Harvick) and 2016 (Johnson). As a whole, Chevrolet has claimed 39 manufacturer’s championships, including 13 straight from 2003 to 2015.
However, the street version of the SS has struggled to sell in American markets. A rebadged Holden Commodore from Australia, the SS was poorly promoted outside of NASCAR. In early 2017, General Motors announced plans to shutter Holden and discontinue production of the SS, prompting Team Chevy to introduce a new car for 2018.
“The new Camaro ZL1 is a great-looking race car with a lot of heritage behind it, which will make it a big hit with fans,” said seven-time champion Johnson. “As someone who’s enjoyed the ZL1 on the street, I’m really looking forward to getting this new race car on the track.”
Featured image by TeamChevy