Chevrolet has always strived to be first on race days, so it certainly didn’t want to be last among NASCAR manufacturers in releasing information about its new model that will race in the 2013 Sprint Cup Series.
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On Thursday, Chevrolet announced that its new Cup car will be branded under the Chevrolet SS nameplate and that a limited production version will be available in showrooms at the end of next year. The manufacturer also released a photo of the Cup prototype.
While Ford unveiled the Fusion in January — and its prototype actually made laps at Charlotte Motor Speedway — and Dodge had its coming-out party for the Charger in Las Vegas, it could be awhile before the public sees the final Chevrolet reveal, said Jim Campbell, the company’s US vice president, performance vehicles and motorsports.
“We’re determining that right now, but it will be a number of months yet before we reveal the car,” Campbell said. “It will be much, much later this year.”
Super Sport’s retail origins began as a package on the 1961 Impala, but SS was first introduced on the competition side with Corvette.
“SS — Super Sport — has a pretty special history, a tradition, and it goes all the way back to one of the original race Corvettes, kind of a prototype Corvette,” Campbell said. “We used Super Sport on a lot of different vehicles across the lineup for years and years. It’s always signified our top level of performance. So we wanted to put it on this sports sedan, this performance sedan — that way it identifies this vehicle when it races on the track, but we also think it will bring attention to the brand.
“What’s exciting about this car is it’s built on a very successful vehicle architecturally that has its basis with the Chevrolet Camaro and the Caprice PPV, which is a police pursuit vehicle.”
Campbell said that Chevrolet has worked closely with its partner teams, Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing, “for many, many months to develop that vehicle together.” There have been both closed and open tests, on track and in the wind tunnel as the teams prepare to switch their fleets over to the SS. Campbell added that no decision has been made regarding a change in the Nationwide Series model after the SS is instituted in Sprint Cup.
For now, Chevrolet and NASCAR’s other three manufacturers are working on the final aerodynamic adjustments on the Sprint Cup cars while still trying to maintain brand identity.
“We’re creating a stronger link between what we race on the track and what we sell in the showroom,” Campbell said.
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, said the sanctioning body would like to have the submissions “as soon as possible” but it will be awhile before the final approval process.
“We’re still working with the manufacturers to meet the targets,” Pemberton said. “It’s not necessarily a date. If we meet the targets tomorrow, that would be great. But the fact of the matter is, we keep going back in and they keep working on the looks and we keep working on the targets.
“That’s been an ongoing process since last summer. So, it takes a lot because the cars are so unique in their looks that it takes a lot of work to try to achieve proper balance and proper parity among the manufacturers.”
1: Pole for AJ Allmendinger at Charlotte Motor Speedway. And it’s for the Sprint Showdown on Saturday night.
2: Engine failures in the past three weeks for Regan Smith — at Talladega and Charlotte.
3: Career poles for the Sprint All-Star Race for Kyle Busch, who starts from that position again Saturday.
3: All-star victories apiece for Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon — the most in NASCAR history.
23: All-star appearances for Mark Martin when the flag drops Saturday. He’ll start 16th.
All-star polesitter Kyle Busch on the key to solid restarts:
"There’s a lot of different things, but asking a simple question like that, I’m not going to tell you. I could make it a very complex answer. You’ve got to know what’s going on around you — know your surroundings, who you’re restarting with, where you’re restarting, whether you’re the leader or second, whether you’re inside or outside. It’s just all about situations and trying to figure out how to maximize your opportunity in the situation you’re in.”