Chevrolet have put their new 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car on display for the first time this week in Las Vegas.
The new car was originally announced back in May
but since then the only track outings have seen the car painted in a black-and-white chequerboard livery to stop rivals and the media from getting a close look at the new model which will replace the more rigorously standardised Car of Tomorrow that the Cup teams have been running since 2007.
New regulations mean that the car manufacturers have more freedom in the styling of their cars next season and can make them more closely resemble their street models in order to help boost car sales.
Chevrolet's new Cup car closely resembles the all-new rear wheel drive V-8 Chevrolet SS performance sedan that will début early next year, and will replace the Impala-branded model that Chevy teams have been running in 2012. The Chevrolet SS is said to be a derivative of the award-winning global rear-wheel-drive architecture already used in the Chevrolet Camaro and Holden's upcoming VF Commodore.
“With the SS, Chevrolet is delivering a true rear-wheel-drive NASCAR race car that is very closely linked to the performance sedan that will be available for sale," said GM North America President Mark Reuss. "Our most loyal enthusiasts will have the opportunity to experience the same thrill every day on the open road that our race car drivers enjoy on the track on race day."
The 'SS' designation stands for 'Super Sport' and was first used by the company in 1957 on a Corvette prototype race car built under the guidance of Zora Arkus-Duntov with the intention of entering it in the Le Mans 24-hour race.
The new car's first competitive outing in NASCAR Sprint Cup will be at Daytona in February. The limited production version of the Chevrolet SS will go on sale in the US in late 2013 and will be the first time in 17 years that Chevrolet will offer a rear-wheel-drive sedan for sale in the country.
"The times that I have driven the 2013 Chevrolet SS race car, I've been very impressed," said five-time champion Jimmie Johnson. "I'm excited for Chevrolet, and really for all the manufacturers to have such a cool looking race car. The cars look sharp; they look good."
"At Hendrick Motorsports, we have been involved in the development process and have worked closely with the Chevy engineers. There will be some challenges, but I enjoy a good challenge," said Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus. "We are very excited about the new '13 Chevy SS race car, and can't wait to get it on-track full-time next year."
Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports team mate (and himself a four-time Cup champion) Jeff Gordon agreed. “I'm really excited about the new Chevy SS," he said. "It looks great and drives great. There is still some development work to do to fine-tune everything, but I can't wait to get in that car for next year."
“I think it's one of the most important moves that NASCAR and the manufacturers have made in a very long time" said Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick. "I think from a manufacturer's standpoint it's probably the most important move that has happened in I don't even know how long, but a really long time."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. dubbed it "an incredibly good-looking race car," and added: "It looks like it's ready to go fast; it looks like it's going to be competitive, and it looks like it's going to be a lot of fun to drive. It looks like something Chevrolet should be proud of."
“The new SS looks awesome," agreed the 2011 Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart. "That's the great thing – it's back to looking like a production car again. It's a design that I really like. It's got the perfect blend of having a race car look, but a street car look at the same time."
“I think it looks amazing," contributed Juan Montoya. ""I did the photo shoot already with the car, the race car looks amazing. It looks great. I think it has a lot of personality."
Ford unveiled its 2013 Cup car based on a new Fusion production model at the start of the year, and Toyota revealed its 2013 Sprint Cup Camry in North Carolina in May.
Chrysler's Dodge brand also announced plans for a 2013 Cup car, but this was superseded by the manufacturer parting ways with Penske Racing which left it without a flagship partner in Sprint Cup in 2013. Ironically, Penske and Dodge ended up winning the Cup championship with Brad Keselowski in the manufacturers' final outing in NASCAR at Homestead-Miami.