Kicking off at the Daytona 500 in February, 2013 is shaping up to be a great year for Chevrolet Performance. To celebrate Chevrolet’s historic showing at the 500, we profile the three high-performance Chevy vehicles that set the pace and led the way at Daytona. We also spoke with Program Manager of Events and Special Vehicles Gary Mulder to get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Daytona pace cars. You won’t find this anywhere else!
Daytona marked the first time Chevrolet campaigned the SS. It was the perfect start to the 2013 NASCAR season. We also saw the 2013 Camaro ZL1 at the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the 2014 Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Spectators were able to see the production vehicles pacing the races where their track-ready counterparts were competing, and the similarities between production vehicle and racecar might surprise you. Here’s a rundown.
The 2014 Chevrolet SS is the first rear-wheel-drive performance sedan for Chevrolet in 17 years. This fuel-injected small-block V-8 served as the basis for both the vehicle that paced the track and the one that Jimmie Johnson raced to victory at Daytona. It’s also the car we’ll sell in the showroom, with all the luxury and performance trimmings. That means standard Brembo® brakes, and available strut and multilink suspension systems in front and rear (respectively) as well as electronic power steering specially designed for sport driving. It also means plenty of luxury and comfort. The spacious, swanky interior features ample legroom, standard leather seats, and “SS” emblems gracing the instrument panel. Great looks aren’t all it has to offer. The SS packs plenty of power, putting out 415† horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque, and goes from 0 to 60 in less five seconds.
As with the SS and the ZL1, the Silverado we saw pace the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona was inspired by the production truck that will be available for sale later this year. Available performance trimmings will get you even more power and innovative technology. The 2014 Silverado’s all-new EcoTec3 engines, designed specifically for trucks, provide power and torque when needed, then switch seamlessly to four-cylinder mode for fuel-efficient driving when you need it most.
The 2013 Camaro ZL1 that paced Daytona was the basis for the vehicle Tony Stewart won the Nationwide race in. Bringing track-rivaling levels of performance and technology to the sports-car segment, the ZL1 features a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 that produces 580 horsepower and 556 lb-ft of torque, and can go from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds.
We asked Gary Mulder about the process of taking production vehicles to pace-vehicle status.
“Well, it’s gotten a lot simpler over the past few years. The performance – not only the powertrain, but the overall handling, braking, the engine power – has made the vehicles that we put on the track virtually production-level.
“We add the unique paint job, the safety lights, and so forth, and that is about all we have to do to get them ready for the track these days. In the past, we might have had to extract a little more power out of the engines so they could get up to speed a little faster, but we don’t have to do that anymore.
“The LSAs that are in the Camaro ZL1s and LS3 engines in the Chevrolet SS get 580 and an estimated 415 hp, respectively, so they already do everything we need them to do.” What does that mean for you? The production vehicles are virtually the same as what you’re seeing on the track.
So there you have it. The vehicles that paced Daytona this year and raced down the track are incredibly close to their production models. With power like this, you can almost bring the racetrack to the roadway.
* The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.
**The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Destination freight charge is $995 for 2014 Tahoe, 2014 SS, 2014 Corvette Coupe and 2014 Corvette Convertible.
1 All listed performance numbers are GM estimates
Unless specifically noted to the contrary herein, vehicles equipped with Chevrolet Performance Parts may not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and emissions regulations and should not be operated on public roads. Chevrolet Performance customers are responsible for ensuring their use of Chevrolet Performance complies with applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and ordinances. Many parts intended for racing or other “off-highway” use are not designed or tested for crashworthiness or to meet the safety needs of the motoring public, and may adversely affect the original intended performance or handling characteristics of the vehicle. These parts are designed and intended to be used with experts supervising their installation and use, to help assure the proper and safe operation of the vehicle.