There will be new Chevrolet Camaros and Ford Mustangs competing on NASCAR tracks next season. Both companies unveiled their Next Gen Cup Series cars Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C.
The new race cars have been in development for two years and were scheduled to make their debut this season, but the pandemic delayed work on the respective programs. Both design teams strived to make their stock cars look more like their production vehicle namesakes while controlling the costs associated with racing at NASCAR’s highest level.
The new racers will see competition for the first time at the 2022 Daytona 500, scheduled for Feb. 20 in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The Next Gen Camaro ZL1 race car features a lower greenhouse, shortened deck lid, and widened track width that contribute to a coupe-like appearance. A fully symmetrical body design makes the race car look even more like the production Camaro. Current stock cars are wider on the right side.
“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,” says Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of performance and motorsports at GM. “This cooperation will benefit Chevrolet both on the track and the street.”
Both the NextGen Camaro ZL1 race car and production Camaro ZL1 offer hood air extractors that enhance track performance.
“The NextGen Camaro has a much stronger link to the production Camaro ZL1 in terms of styling integration, improved proportions, and relevant technologies,” says Eric Warren, director of NASCAR programs for Chevrolet. “From an engineering standpoint, this is a seismic shift. It’s a completely new car that brings with it a lot of opportunity from a technical standpoint.”
The new Ford Mustang racer also features an all-new body with a wider stance, a symmetric exterior shell, tail, and a smaller greenhouse area that closely resemble the production Mustang.
Development of the new Ford Mustang race car took place both in Ford’s Dearborn Design Center and at the Ford Performance Technical Center in Concord, N.C., where Ford’s NASCAR scale model and aero teams are located. Development continues on full-motion simulators at the technical center, where both racing and production car work takes place.
“This car is true to the Mustang brand and we have to thank the Ford design team for working hand-in-hand with our aerodynamic engineers to ensure it is competitive on the track, while maintaining unique Mustang styling,” says Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports. “That requires a lot of give-and-take on both sides, but with the new smaller greenhouse area and shorter rear deck, we were able to do a lot of things to make sure there’s no mistaking this is a Mustang.”
Both the Camaro and Mustang specs, as well as those of the Toyota Camry racer, have been updated to match modern passenger vehicle technology, including independent rear suspension and rack and pinion steering. Wheel size has been increased from 15 to 18 inches that allows for larger brakes for improved track performance. Wheels will be made from forged aluminum, which will be affixed to the axle with a single lug nut rather than five, which should provide faster pit stops.
Chassis for all three race cars will be identical and modular for easier repairs. The outer shells, which give the cars their distinctive looks, will be carbon fiber, replacing the sheet metal in the current cars.
While all three new race cars will use the same engines they’ve used in previous seasons, a new transaxle that combines the transmission and rear gears into one package has been added.
The bottom of the cars will be sealed with an underwing and rear diffuser for enhanced aerodynamics. The chassis features new front and rear bumpers with an energy-management system for improved driver safety. Both the front and rear clips bolt on to the center section for easier serviceability and damage repair.
Chevrolet is offering a behind-the-scenes look at the Next Gen Camaro ZL1 race car on Saturday at 8 p.m. The “Chevy MyWay: Meet the All-New NASCAR Next Gen Camaro” is a free broadcast open to all by visiting here.