Chevrolet unveiled its 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car Thursday at its corporate headquarters in Detroit by dipping into its past, introducing a Camaro ZL1 that will debut during 2018 Daytona Speedweeks.
Seven-time Monster Energy Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who drives the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, joined Mark Reuss, executive vice president of GM Global Product Development, to reveal the new car.
Representatives from Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Germain Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing and Leavine Family Racing were in attendance as well.
“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,” Johnson said in a release from the manufacturer. “And as someone who enjoyed the ZL1 on the street, I’m really looking forward to getting this new race car on the track.”
The Camaro ZL1 will replace the current Chevrolet SS model used in NASCAR’s top series, and it joins the Camaro SS in a NASCAR national series. The Camaro SS has been Chevrolet’s car in the NASCAR XFINITY Series since 2013.
The Chevrolet SS has scored 70 Monster Energy Series wins to date and contributed to Chevrolet earning 39 NASCAR manufacturer titles — including 13 consecutive titles from 2003-2015.
Chevrolet engineers used a variety 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.
“Racers have long relied on Camaro to win races and championships in amateur and professional sports car and drag racing, as well as the NASCAR XFINITY Series,” said Jim Campbell, vice president, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “We look forward to racing the Camaro ZL1 in the premier Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.”
According to Chevrolet, the ZL1 name was originally bestowed in the 1960s on a Chevrolet-developed all-aluminum racing engine that became a dominant force 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 cars became instant legends on the street and dragstrip.
More than 40 years later, Chevrolet reintroduced the ZL1 to offer track-capable performance straight off the showroom floor. The 2018 Camaro ZL1 is powered by a 650-horsepower supercharged engine featuring a similar 90-degree V-8 configuration as the Cup racing engines.