Chevrolet Camaro serves as safety car for World Touring Car Championship
The Chevrolet Cruze has been one of the most successful vehicles in the World Touring Car Championship over the past few years (including a championship last season) so to build on the popularity of the Chevy teams, GM has offered up a Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe for Safety Car duties during the 2012 WTCC season.
Even though the World Touring Car Championship field is compiled entirely of lightweight, front wheel drive sedans and hatchbacks powered by high revving 4-cylinder engines, the fabled performance history of the Chevrolet Camaro has made it a legend around the world – even in markets where it has never been available in dealerships. GM has openly discussed their hopes to begin selling the Camaro in other markets so using the Camaro SS Coupe as the safety vehicle in the non-US bound World Touring Car Championship allows General Motors to show off a little American muscle to prospective buyers in new markets.
Piloting the Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe serving as the World Touring Car Championship safety car is Bruno Correia, an experienced WTCC driver who looks back on one particularly nasty crash of his own in 2009.
The Chevrolet Camaro has served as a pace car for a variety of globally known racing events like the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500 – in addition to many other open wheeled and NASCAR races around the US. The Camaro has also been one of the most well known race cars in American performance history but never before has the Camaro had the global impact that GM would like to see. American high performance cars have become major status symbols in other markets (mainly where the Camaro is not readily available in local Chevrolet dealerships) but introducing the Camaro as the WTCC safety car could allow GM to generate more interest in the muscle car ahead of introducing it for sale in new markets.
Unlike most racing events where the cars participating in the race are far more powerful than the safety vehicle/pace car, the Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe packs roughly 40% more power than is allowed under the hoods of the sedans and hatchbacks in the World Touring Car Championship. Packing the same 6.2L V8 found in the American-sold Camaro SS, the 430 horsepower provided by the new WTCC safety car is far more powerful than the race cars that will trail it around road courses globally.
The Chevrolet Camaro is currently locked in a serious horsepower war with the Ford Mustang and while the US market is the key concern, selling the most American muscle cars in foreign markets could be the next battle in this legendary power war – the likes of which have not been seen since the 1970s.