General Motors Co., preparing 13 new Chevrolet models for the U.S. next year, unveiled a Nascar version of the upcoming SS sedan that the automaker says looks similar to what will be sold in showrooms.
The production version of the rear-wheel-drive sedan will be shown at Speedweeks in February at Daytona International Speedway in Florida, where the new race car will compete, Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, said yesterday in a telephone interview.
“If you look at where the sport has gone, there wasn’t a lot of stock left in stock-car racing,” he said. “We really wanted to get a car, a really genuine, honest car in our showrooms that we could race in Nascar and really bring the coordination and realization that you could actually buy a car that’s not too far off from the race car.”
Along with the SS, Chevrolet is also planning a redesigned Corvette sports car, which will be first shown in January in advance of the Detroit auto show. Together, the cars will add some new muscle to the Chevrolet brand that has emphasized the Volt plug-in hybrid sedan and small cars, such as the Cruze and Spark, since Detroit-based GM emerged from a U.S.-backed bankruptcy in 2009. It’s all part of Chevrolet’s new product push next year that also includes a redesigned Silverado pickup.
“The bandwidth of Chevrolet has always been one of its strengths,” Reuss said. “The performance DNA where we race and the innovation that brings into all of our cars, even EVs, is something that is really, really important.”
The Nascar race car version of the SS shown yesterday in Las Vegas will be Chevy’s newest entry in in the Nascar Sprint Cup Series, replacing the Impala. Speedweeks is a series of events before the Daytona 500.
The SS is the first rear-wheel-drive sedan for Chevrolet in the U.S. in 17 years, GM said in a statement. It’s a derivative of the same vehicle architecture as the Chevrolet Camaro. The new SS goes on sale in the U.S. in late 2013, GM said.