At Darlington in May, Hendrick Motorsports
scored its 200th Cup Series win – and, just like
the first 199, it came with Chevrolet. Hendrick’s
winning record began back in April 1984 at
Martinsville with Geoff Bodine (RIGHT).
• Nov. 12, 2010
• Oct. 12, 2011
demos Chevy’s new
engine for the first
time at Las Vegas.
• March 5, 2012
Chevrolets are 1-2
on opening day of
Sebring Open Test.
• March 25, 2012
wins for Chevy on
new engine’s debut.
cars took five of six places in the final
qualifying shootout for the 2012 season
opener on the streets of St. Petersburg,
Helio Castroneves charged to victory in
the race. Three more wins followed in
succession, courtesy of Castroneves’
Team Penske teammate, Will Power.
By season’s end, Chevy-engined cars
had won 11 of 15 races – four of them with
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay,
who claimed the drivers’ championship.
Not surprisingly, with its 70 percent-plus win rate, Chevrolet also secured
the 2012 manufacturers’ crown.
The satisfaction was all the keener for
Chevrolet because IndyCar’s engine
formula allows it to develop some key
technologies already being incorporated
into its passenger vehicles. These include
direct injection – which, by increasing
combustion efficiency, produces more
power while maintaining fuel economy
– turbocharging, and E85 ethanol-based
fuel blends. It was truly a win-win situation.
For an in-depth look at Chevy’s return
to IndyCar competition, and how the race
program is “hot-housing” its road car
technologies, turn to page 24.
As related in detail
beginning on page 64, Chevy
and its Grand-Am Rolex Series
teams faced a race against
time to get the new Corvette
Daytona Prototypes ready in
time for the start of the 2012
season, but their efforts
didn’t take long to pay off.
Best thing to say about a
niggle-filled 50th Rolex 24 at
Daytona debut? It provided
valuable extra test miles...
But at the second round of
the season, March 31at
Barber Motorsports Park,
Spirit of Daytona took the
victory with drivers Richard
Westbrook and Antonio
Garcia (celebrating, ABOVE)
at the wheel. Alex Gurney and
Jon Fogarty followed them
home in the GAINSCO/Bob
Stallings entry to complete a
Corvette DP 1-2 sweep.
“Talk about a weekend of
firsts,” Westbrook said. “First
win for our team and the first
for Corvette DP – it’s good to
get the monkey off our back.
It’s good for morale to get that
first victory out of the way.”
They kept right on coming,
too: Corvette DP teams
combined to win the next
four straight races, and
finished the season with
eight wins out of 13 starts.
The new Corvette Daytona Prototype didn’t
take long to open its Grand-Am win account
WE CAME, WE SAW, WE WON 2012 was the endpoint for Chevrolet’s Cruze in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. But what a sign-off it was, with a pair of championship titles. See page 94.