CONCORD, N.C. – NASCAR debuted its brand-new Next Gen fleet of race cars and with it, the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Chase Elliott and Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick were on hand for the unveil in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Wednesday.
“The new Camaro race car will be more advanced in every area, and we are all very excited about getting these cars to the track next season,” Hendrick said. “Chevrolet’s commitment to winning races and championships in NASCAR is unsurpassed, and I look forward to a fierce manufacturer battle when these new cars debut.”
Elliott already is focused on preparation for 2022 and said his team is learning every new aspect of the updated Chevrolet.
“A new car brings a lot of unknowns to the equation, but we have always enjoyed a challenge,” Elliott said. “I know everyone on the No. 9 team and at Hendrick Motorsports is going to put a ton of work into it and put us in a good place come next season.”
The Next Gen Camaro’s biggest change is the similar visual features it has to the production version of the car that’s seen in dealership showrooms. It has a more streamlined body that will provide symmetry and a faster car on the track.
“Chevrolet engineers and designers worked alongside our race teams to develop this race car while staying true to the styling essence of the Camaro ZL1,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of performance and motorsports. “This cooperation will benefit Chevrolet both on the track and the street.”
With a new race package, the Hendrick Motorsports teams will switch gears in 2022. But the teams are excited and ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead.
“(I’m) really looking forward to getting the 2022 Next Gen Chevrolet Camaro out on the racetrack,” Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, said. “It’s always exciting when there is new innovative technology being put on the track to allow us, as crew chiefs and engineers, to manipulate and outperform our fellow competitors.”
The new technology in the Next Gen race car will give teams the ability to manipulate the car in new ways to create speed while still resembling a showroom car.
“The Next Gen Camaro has a much stronger link to the production Camaro ZL1 in terms of styling integration, improved proportions and relevant technologies,” said Dr. Eric Warren, Chevrolet director of NASCAR programs. “From an engineering standpoint, this is a seismic shift. It’s a completely new car that really brings with it a lot of opportunity from a technical standpoint.”
Some of the new features include:
- Upgraded specs to match modern passenger vehicle technology, including independent rear suspension – like production Camaros – and rack and pinion steering.
- An increase in wheel size from 15 to 18 inches with one lug nut per wheel. The larger diameter wheels allow for larger brakes for improved track performance. Wheels will be made from forged aluminum, like the wheels on the production Camaro ZL1.
- Both the front and rear clips bolt on to the center section for easier serviceability and damage repair.
- A more symmetrical body to reduce aerodynamic forces and a design intended to lower the greenhouse, a shortened decklid and widened track width.
- The bottom of the car is sealed with an underwing and rear diffuser to aid in handling and the reduction of dirty air.
“I think it’s really cool to see the Next Gen Camaro ZL1 be so similar to the current street car,” said Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet. “Tying that all back together is really neat. There’s a lot of new technology and innovation, and I’m all for a new challenge. It’s definitely going to be a challenge to adapt to a new race car, but I’m excited for it.”