Check out this ballistic NASCAR-ready Camaro ZL1 | Top Gear
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Check out this ballistic NASCAR-ready Camaro ZL1

Chevrolet readies its shake-n-bake mobile for the 2018 NASCAR Cup

Published: 11 Aug 2017

In perhaps the sole bit of good news out of America today, Chevrolet’s bringing the big guns out for NASCAR 2018. And, if you’re a bit of a NASCAR fan, you’ll know that it’s always been a bit of a big gun festival. Translation? Much noise. Much ‘rubbing is racing’ quotes and people behaving like modern-day Cole Trickles. Cue the Days of Thunder music. 

Yes, it’s true that NASCAR is run to a formula so strict that it’d give Ecclestone himself priapism, but that’s really beside the point when the formula calls for maniacally powerful, naturally aspirated pushrod V8s, because ’MURICA. Ahem.

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With the Camaro form translated into NASCARishness, next year’s NASCAR will be just as quick but definitely more interesting to look at. And let’s not forget that the Camaro – and even the ZL1 name – are rooted in oval-track racing. 

Back in the day, the ZL1 referred to Chevrolet’s barnstorming all-aluminium V8, originally developed for racing. But, in one of life’s happy turns of fate, Chevy offered it as a dealer-picked option for road-going Camaros. And life was good. 

These days, it’s perfectly simple to order a factory-fresh ZL1 from Chevrolet – you can even add a 1LE pack, if you’re really up for difficult-to-say and wonderful-to-drive track cars. And life is good. 

And, in case you missed it among summer 2017’s campaign against Nurburgring records, the ZL1 1LE is capable of a 7m 16sec lap of the rather famous track.

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Now, contrary to popular misconceptions – at least on this side of the pond – NASCAR doesn’t refer to the car itself – it refers to the racing series. 

It is, therefore rather difficult to drive a NASCAR, in that it is a championship. It’d be like saying, “Oh man, I just drove a WRC and it was epic.”

So, you may wonder, what are you supposed to call it, if not a NASCAR? You could follow the lead of F1 car and WRC car, and call it a NASCAR car, but that’s pretty clunky. So just follow the Americans’ lead (in this regard only) and call them stock cars. Why stock cars? Well, it’s based on the historical origins of oval-track racing, where the cars were required to be stock factory units, but no one paid attention to the rules.

Or, you could write this all off as needless pedantry and keep calling it a NASCAR. Hey, it’s pretty easy to infer what you’re on about, isn’t it?

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