The Chevrolet Impala is on its way out of racing once again. Earlier this year, Chevrolet announced that the all-new SS Performance sedan would replace the Impala in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, and now the automaker has revealed that the Chevrolet Camaro will take over racing duty in the NACAR's minor league, the Nationwide Series. The new Chevrolet Camaro racecar will make its NASCAR debut in February at the Daytona International Speedway.
Thanks to some rule changes last year, cars participating in the Nationwide Series are able to use a more realistic body design even to the point of using OEM wind tunnel testing for aero tuning. The Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang have already made their presence felt on racetracks in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and now the Chevrolet Camaro will join its muscle car compatriots in battle. Unlike the "stock cars" of recent years, the next-generation of NASCAR racers actually resemble their street-legal counterparts. For the Chevy Camaro, this means a very familiar front-end styling that even includes the Camaro's signature halo headlights - albeit as stickers in this application.
"We put [the Nationwide Camaro] side-by-side with our production Camaro SS. You can clearly see up front this racecar has the classic Camaro styling cues, the deep recessed grille, the unique hood with the power bulge, dual port grille appearance, and the trademark halo light rings and, of course, the Chevy Bowtie," said Chevrolet's Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, Jim Campbell. "This car was developed by our Chevrolet performance engineer aerodynamic engineers and our aerodynamic engineers working with partners in the Nationwide Series. Special thanks to Richard Childress Racing for all the work that you and your team did with our team to develop this, along with the other Nationwide teams."
Toyota hasn't confirmed what car it will run in the Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series, but it looks like the Toyota Camry will continue to be the automaker's oval-track queen.
In other Chevrolet-related racing news heading into this weekend's race schedule at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the automaker announced that it would use three distinct cars as pace cars for the various races. In Friday's Brickyard Grand Prix, the 580-horsepower Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will pace the field. On Saturday at the Nationwide Indiana 250, a red Camaro SS will help corral the racecars during caution laps. These cars represent the eight time Chevy's muscle car has paced a race at this speedway. Finally, race fans will get to see plenty of the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 60th Anniversary edition as it paces the Sprint Cup cars for Sunday's Brickyard 400. Actor/producer Ron Howard will be the honorary driver for the race.
Campbell added: "with all three of these pace cars, they're essentially stock cars right off the showroom. We modify them for safety. We put some special seat belts in, fire extinguishers, safety lights, a few of the extra decals. Otherwise these are stock Camaros and Corvettes. We're proud to be the official pace car for these races."
photo courtesy of GRAND-AM Road Racing