The National Hot Rod Association, or NHRA, is the largest drag racing community in the World by a big margin. Because of that there are many manufacturers getting bespoke cars built for the NHRA competitions. One of these is GM which recently released the 2017 Chevrolet Pro Stock Camaro SS. The car is actually a complete package but people can buy, or are given by GM, a full carbon fiber body which fits a 105 to 110 inch wheelbase chassis. Chevrolet tried with the Pro Stock Camaro SS to get as close as possible to the production car in terms of looks while having one of the lowest possible drag coefficients in the industry.
Just like with many other competitions in the US or Europe, there are strict rules in NHRA. The Pro Stock class is one of the most competitive because it has some really interesting and limit rules. These are meant not to handicap teams but rather give them a battleground with cars that are a lot closer to each other. The most important rules regard the engines which have to meet some really specific details to be able to compete in an NHRA race.
The 2017 Chevrolet Pro Stock Camaro SS can be sold by GM as a full package which means that teams will not only get the body but also a short block which is only roughly machined by Chevrolet but more on that later. The price is unknown at this point but the body can cost in excess of $50,000 considering it is fully made out of carbon fiber. The engine, when fully built, usually goes for more than $100,000 and it has to be serviced after each run in order to maintain the critical tolerances that will make or break a run.
How it looks?
Even if the races usually do not care how the car looks, the spectators do. GM tried their best in order to make the 2017 Chevrolet Pro Stock Camaro SS as close as possible to the production model. Because of that, the car features a very similar front end with the same type of headlights and lower grille as the production car.
The entire glasshouse is also very similar despite being made out of plastic rather than glass. The rear of the car also mimics the production model quite well.However, in order to be as competitive as possible, there are some major differences. For starters, the car is noticeably wider than the usual SS. On top of that, it can fit a few different wheelbases in order to be usable by many teams in the NHRA.
The car also features a lower front end than the production vehicle which boast a massive hood bulge that houses the engine.The interior is nothing to talk about. The driver benefits from a fully encloses roll-cage which will protect it in case of a crash. The cabin can be accessed by lifting the body from the fully tubular steel chassis which also reveals most of the drivetrain and engine.
What makes it tick?
The 2017 Chevrolet Pro Stock Camaro SS will usually have the same base engine across all teams. However, teams will be able to machine their own engine in order to better fir their style. This means that the displacement will usually vary greatly with a maximum of 500 cubic inches for the NHRA races. These will have to feature a single camshaft and be based on a 90 degree V8 engine.
Starting with this year the NHRA races require the teams to install electronically controlled throttle bodies to control a fuel injection system. This means that the carburetor fuel systems are no longer in use. There is also a rpm limit for these engines set by the NHRA regulations which stops them at 10,500 rpm. This is because most V8 engines can easily go past that and even go past 12,000 which would give some teams an advantage.
Unlike in many other sports, forced induction is prohibited which would make the cars a bit too fast for the Pro Stock class. Instead, they are naturally aspirated but even so, all of them make a lot of power. In fact the average is over 1,500 horsepower for a naturally aspirated 500 cubic inches engine which is very impressive.