The future of Nascar is here with the rollout of the 2013 Chevrolet SS for the Sprint Cup series in Nascar. It marks the end of the road for the venerable Chevrolet Impala (as Chevrolet’s representative), and the beginning of the new Chevrolet SS which you can also buy from your local Chevrolet dealer starting in the spring.
The new car seems to get away from the cookie cutter Car of Tomorrow (COT), that was as bad to look at as it was to drive. I’m told though it was a safe as any race car on the planet (with the exception of Formula 1), it just didn’t handle very well. Almost like trying to race a Volvo wagon (nothing against Volvo wagons but we’re talking oval racing here).
Chevrolet was the last to introduce their new car for the top level Sprint Cup series (Ford & Toyota already have new versions of the Fusion and Camry respectively), we first heard about the Chevrolet SS production car this past May and now it’s full circle with SS officially coming into the Sprint Cup garage.
Hendrick Motorsports already had the new SS in the colors of Jimmie Johnson’s # 48 Lowes car and Kasey Kahne’s # 5 Farmer’s Insurance car and the car is easy on the eyes. For the first time in a long time it looks like a real street car and appealing enough that you would want to buy one.
Remember the old tag line “Win on Sunday and buy on Monday?”, Well with this car it rings true, here’s a real performance car (based off of GM’s Holden Commodore in Australia, which also brought us the former Pontiac GTO & G8), that brings Nascar to your daily life and commute.
I drove the old Impala, did a test drive with a 2008 Impala LTZ and though it was quick (3.9 liter V6), it was a large GM car that was not sporty, no matter what GM told you. It didn’t handle well and since it was front wheel drive (the new SS is rear wheel drive), it has some torque steer to it. It was more of an old man’s Buick than a racing man’s Chevrolet. Don’t get me wrong the Impala was a nice car (it was Chevrolet’s top seller behind Silverado pick up trucks), and no I didn’t buy one (I went for the sportier, more balanced and more affordable Malibu), but it had no business being GM’s representative for Nascar.
But that came from initially in 2006, the Impala SS was GM’s Nascar entry. I never got to drive one but just from the specs and seeing a few it was a more worthy race car. GM’s venerable 5.3 V8 putting out 302 horsepower, a stiffer suspension, upgraded wheels and a nice throaty dual exhaust. But GM discontinued the Impala SS after 2008, thus the regular Impala took over Nascar duties.
I assume the new Chevrolet SS will be all that the Impala SS was and more, I just hope both Nascar and GM understand the importance of having a real performance car on the track inspires people to come to the showroom to make a purchase, even if it’s not for the car they saw at the speedway.
As for next year’s Nascar season, there will be a lot more excitement on the track and power to the wheels. Can’t for Daytona in February.