Donuts on Your Infield! Chevy Announces 2018 NASCAR Camaro ZL1 ""

By | August 11, 2017

2018 Chevrolet NASCAR Camaro ZL1

With the Chevrolet SS off to the great big scrapyard in the Australian sky, Chevy needed a new nameplate to feature in NASCAR, and apparently a regressive step to the front-drive Malibu or Impala wasn’t going to make the cut. As such, they’ve whipped up a Camaro ZL1 for competition in the biggest league of American racing.

While the Z/28 was the road-racer’s choice back in the golden age of Trans-Am racing—indeed, the model originally appeared to homologate the Camaro for use in the series—the original Camaro ZL1 was an altogether different breed of fire-breathing monster, more feared on dragstrips than road courses. Its aluminum 427-cubic-inch big-block V-8 does trace its origins to the legendary Can-Am series, but the basic architecture of the revered 427 rat traces its evolutionary lineage straight back to NASCAR, where it first gained fame as Junior Johnson’s Mystery Motor in 1963.

2018 Chevrolet NASCAR Camaro ZL1

Like the V-8s Chevy runs in NASCAR competition today, the modern ZL1’s LT4 mill finds its roots in the big-block’s more compact older brother: the small-block V-8 first introduced in 1955. But while the roadgoing howler makes its 650 horsepower courtesy of a supercharger, the racing engine remains naturally-aspirated, as God and Smokey Yunick intended.



At its debut, the NASCAR Camaro ZL1 wore #8, Louis Chevrolet’s historic competition number long before Joe Weatherly or Dale Earnhardt, Jr., ran it. It also wore a surprisingly accurate Camaro nose and tail; not much could be done about the roofline, but Chevy’s engineers did a remarkable job shoehorning the Camaro’s salient visual cues onto the France-family template. During a time of flagging interest in the Monster Energy Cup, this new Camaro really feels like a step in the right direction in terms of connecting the racing machinery to vehicles the public can actually go out and buy. Added bonus? The ZL1 heritage play is legitimate. Well done, Chevy. Well done.

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