With the reveal of the ZL1 Camaro, Chevrolet has given the long-standing Motorsport a much-needed face lift. This is the new NASCAR.
Let’s face it folks, NASCAR was in need of a facelift. With all of the top-tier Motorsports competing for the collective attention of high-octane addicted junkies, the aesthetics of NASCAR had begun to slouch against the likes of Formula One, Indycar, and even the aggressive bodywork of several GT classes.
The raw, uncompromising power of the mechanical brutes was never under question – but the new and improved Chevy ZL1 looks poised to bolster the horsepower available while turning NASCAR into something that’s a bit easier on the eyes.
There’s been a long-running joke within the Motorsport community that one of the last things NASCAR will focus on would be the look of the sport – but if 2017 has shown us anything is that the sport has got its hands firmly on the pulse, and is determined to ensure that it resonates across all ages and demographics.
The ZL1 features some highly aggressive bodywork that just isn’t present on the current model, but the ZL1 has them aplenty. Chevy hasn’t offered much in the way of just how fast the new NASCAR mainstay can go, but there will undoubtedly be more information from the sport itself in the coming weeks.
The driver reactions have been positive from most vocal sections of the paddock. The likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Larson have praised the ZL1’s presence in the sport, but outside of the promotional event much remains to be seen in the future performer.
According to Chevy, the consumer variant of the ZL1 boasts a 0-to-60 in 3.5 seconds, can run a quarter mile in 11.4 seconds, and pulls up to 1.02 g’s. If that’s a baseline for the NASCAR variant, the sport is in good hands.
Chevrolet, and particularly the Camaro line, have established themselves as potent suppliers for the sport – so it’s difficult to see them dropping the ball with the ZL1. And yet, ample caution must be given to the possibility of unexpected woes. The ZL1 looks like a step in the right direction for now – let’s just hope that’s what it turns out to be.
NASCAR itself is in arguably one of the most interesting periods it has ever been in. The sport has introduced stage racing and provided road course races aplenty – showing that they are eager to move away from the conception that stock car racing is naught more than “making a left turn”.
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The future may indeed resemble something of a stock-car / sports car mash-up. While die-hard veterans of the sport may proclaim against it, the aggressive edges of the ZL1 are NASCAR’s chance to show that they are more than just a sport for ‘Muricans who like to get hammered at the oval.