building a 40 percent scale model and
putting it on a rolling-road wind tunnel.”
After that, it was time to build cars.
“We set off on a path before there were
any rules or concept provided by NASCAR
of what that path might be, other than it
should fit the same chassis (as the COT),”
says Pat Suhy, group manager for Chevy’s
oval-track programs. “We built a prototype
R&D car at Hendrick Motorsports, but with
input from all of our teams. We showed it to
NASCAR well before any rules were made,
to say, ‘Here’s how far we think we can push
it.’ They said, ‘Hey, we’re over a cliff. Let’s
just go. Make it look more like a production
car than you did.’” And so they did.
“We went through two more major
design iterations of the car,” says Suhy.
“Then we worked with the other
manufacturers to ensure enough
commonality so that NASCAR could still
inspect them and we could have relative
parity in the aero performance, and to
make sure the teams could build them so
there wouldn’t be a lot of variation in how
a Chevy was built vs. a Ford or a Toyota.”
The manufacturers agreed to a
Styling cues for the
Chevrolet SS racecar
aren’t limited to the
nose, with the side and
rear panels getting the
SS treatment, too.
Chevy offers more
and trucks than any
blend Sunoco race
fuel to the Sprint
Cup, Nationwide and
Camping World Truck
Series in 2011, it
provided a platform
for Chevy engineers
to gather data in a
It’s yet another
example of how the
world of racing
plays a key role in
The SS racecar has some big shoes to fill when it replaces the Chevy Impala in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Impala took 151 race wins and six straight Manufacturers’ Championships from 2007-’ 12. However, early testing says the SS will be up to the task.
common greenhouse area — basically
everything from the base of the windshield
to the rear deck lid — but elsewhere the
bodies are distinctly different among
manufacturers, which was the goal.
NASCAR’s vice president of competition
Robin Pemberton and Sprint Cup director
John Darby helped sweat the details, which
ultimately included removing 160lbs from
the car and modifying the rear suspension.
Just as importantly, NASCAR insisted
that the cars be more fully realized than
the COT was when it made its debut. And
officials vowed to keep tweaking designs as
the 2013 season goes on to ensure parity.
“There’s still work that we are doing,
things that we may implement before the
start of the year,” says Pemberton. “Those
are the things that help cars run in traffic,
not be at a deficit — as much of a deficit
— when they’re in the back of the pack.
And we won’t quit. We’re going to continue
when the car is introduced and we’ll
continue until somebody tells us to quit.”
By all accounts, the project looks as if it
will be a huge success. The ultimate test, of
course, will be how the G6 cars race, but
the early returns are as encouraging as
the stunning appearance of the new cars.