Chevrolet have confirmed the model of car that will be the basis for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry, starting with the Daytona 500 in February.
The Chevrolet SS V8 race car will take over from the current Chevy Impala, and also heralds the return of a rear-wheel drive model to the company's street car line-up for the first time in 17 years.
The Chevrolet SS will be built by GM's Australian division Holden, and will be most closely related to the future version of the Commodore that will be on sale by that time in Australia, and suggests similarities to the Pontiac G8 high-performance sedan that was axed when GM was in bankruptcy in 2009.
The announcement is light on specifics, with horsepower and displacement figures not supplied let alone pricing details for the street model, but it's thought the SS will have a small-block V8 and that a manual transmission will be offered. Chevrolet said that the new car would "benefit from significant technology advances enhancing overall performance."
The new model Cup car is being introduced under new regulations in NASCAR for 2013 that allow manufacturers to bring back the look and feel of their individual brands to the cars, although underneath the body the engine and chassis will still be strictly in accordance with NASCAR regulations.
"We want the vehicle to be distinctive in a way that it can be associated with us," Jim Campbell, Chevrolet's US vice president for performance vehicles and motorsports, said earlier this year. "We want the vehicle to be distinctive in a way that it can be associated with us ... For NASCAR, the car on the tracks looks like the car we sell."
“As a passionate race fan and performance enthusiast, I am thrilled that Chevrolet will deliver a true rear-wheel-drive NASCAR race car in the SS that is closely linked to the performance sedan that will be available for sale,” said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America.
"The Chevrolet SS is a great example of how GM is able to leverage its global product portfolio to deliver a unique performance experience that extends beyond the track," he added. "I am personally looking forward to driving it."
The 'super sport' SS designation has been used by the company since 1957 when it first appeared on a Corvette prototype race car built under the guidance of Zora Arkus-Duntov intended to run in the Le Mans 24-hour race.
The first production vehicle offered with an SS option was the 1961 Impala - which featured a modified chassis and suspension, power brakes, steering column mounted tachometer and unique wheels and tyres - of which 453 were built in total. The latest SS model in the Chevy line-up is the fifth-generation Camaro, which debuted in 2010.
Ford unveiled its 2013 Cup car
based on the new model Fusion production model at the start of the year, with Chrysler unveiling its new Dodge
Charger in march in Las Vegas. Toyota is scheduled to unveil its 2013 Sprint Cup Camry next week in North Carolina.