Jeff Gordon Helps Unveil the 2013 Chevrolet SS
JIM CAMPBELL: It's been a great decade for Chevrolet and NASCAR and our NASCAR teams. 57 years ago at the old Columbia Speedway in South Carolina, a racer named Fonty Flock earned Chevrolet's first Cup win driving a '55 Biscayne powered by the legendary Chevrolet small block V 8. That was win No. 1 for team Chevy. Just a few weeks ago, Jimmie Johnson and the 48 Chevy powered by today's version of the Chevrolet small block V 8 won at Texas Motor Speedway to give Chevrolet its 700th Cup victory. Thanks to Jimmie, Chad Knaus, Rick Hendrick and the entire Hendrick Motorsports team for delivering this milestone victory.
We'd also like to thank every team owner, driver, crew member who contributed to Chevrolet's 700 wins. We wouldn't be here today without the determination of these teams: Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Stewart Haas Racing, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Furniture Row Racing, and Phoenix Racing with James Finch. All told, these teams have earned almost half the Cup wins for Chevrolet.
Chevy has been fortunate to have some of the best drivers in the sport, including Jeff Gordon, who has delivered 87 Cup wins plus four championships; Jimmie Johnson, with 60 wins and five championships, as well as Tony Stewart with 31 Chevrolet wins and three Cup championships.
Chevy's 702 wins over seven decades include legendary champions, drivers like Buck Baker from the '50s; Rex White and Ned Jarrett from the 1960s; Benny Parsons and Yale Yarborough from the '70s; and even Richard Petty won a championship with the bowtie in 1979; and Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte won championships in the '80s; and of course the legendary Dale Earnhardt won seven championships with Chevrolet.
It's an amazing group of drivers and owners, and that's just in the Sprint Cup Series. Chevrolet also had an exciting run in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, thanks to our Silverado teams for delivering in the 2012 manufacturer's championship, Chevrolet's eighth championship in the series.
In addition, congratulations to James Buescher and the 31 Silverado team for winning the driver's championship. It's also been an exciting finish in the Nationwide Series. Our Nationwide teams clinched the manufacturer's championship for Chevrolet in 2012, our 15th overall.
Now, I know the Nationwide teams have been busy building and testing their new Camaro race cars. We introduced that car in July at the Brickyard, and we're excited about racing it in 2013. We like the linkage between the Camaro racing the track and the Camaro we're going to sell in the showrooms. It's a performance legend that continues to lead its segment in sales.
And today, we're going to show you where Chevrolet is heading in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. To do that, I'm pleased to introduce someone who's passionate about performance, he's a strong advocate for the role and contribution of motorsports to what we do every day. He's a true car guy; please welcome the president of General Motors North America, Mr. Mark Reuss. Mark?
MARK REUSS: Well, thank you, Jim. It's been an exciting year for Chevrolet and NASCAR as you saw. We're even more excited about 2013. While our teams were racing and winning over the past decade, Chevrolet and NASCAR were looking forward to the future of the sport.
We've both been focusing on a number of important initiatives to build a stronger connection with our fans by incorporating relevant technologies that we're using on today's high performance Chevrolets, while also creating designs that help our fans make the link between what they see on the track, on the streets and in Chevy showrooms.
It's been an ongoing process. Ethanol based fuels came online here in 2011; fuel injection was implemented this last year; and we're all focused on putting the stock back in stock car racing during 2013.
We approached the development of the 2013 Chevrolet SS race car with the same processes and technologies that we use on all of our production vehicles. We developed the race car's body surfaces and math, using the latest computer modeling tools. We then used CFD, or computational fluid dynamics, to model the aerodynamic performance without having to build an initial prototype, saving a lot of time and money.
Then we built a 40 percent scale model for the next stage of aerodynamic development and ran it in a state of the art rolling road wind tunnel to prove that we were on the right track with our computational analysis.
John Cafaro, the designer of Chevrolet passenger cars, worked with the race car development team to ensure the design characteristics of the Chevrolet SS production car were seamlessly integrated into the race car. After making refinements on the scale model, we then built a full sized version of the Chevrolet SS race car for additional wind tunnel testing.
This was the first of hundreds of tunnel hours dedicated to refining the exterior of the car. This is the kind of work that got us where we are today.
Of course, we tested on the track. Just like with our production cars, we camouflaged the exterior of the SS to hide its design characteristics from the cameras. There's a few little pieces if you really zoomed in on the camouflage that said SS on it, so for those who were paying attention, they saw it. This is how the car looked during our NASCAR test sessions. Our NASCAR teams began dialing in their own Chevrolet SS race cars this past spring. We tested on a variety of tracks like Martinsville, Homestead and Talladega Superspeedway. Of course the SS has been on many other racetracks for NASCAR, as well, and the results are very, very promising.
And now the time has come for the camouflage to come off. Let's bring out the car.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the all-new 2013 Chevrolet SS race car. Let's welcome our special guest, Mr. Jeff Gordon.
JEFF GORDON: Thank you, Mark. Appreciate it.
MARK REUSS: What do you think of the new SS?
JEFF GORDON: Oh, my goodness. This thing looks amazing. It looks fantastic.
MARK REUSS: Excited to race it?
JEFF GORDON: I'm so excited to race this car. I had a chance to test it at Charlotte a couple weeks ago. Drove great.
MARK REUSS: Well, would you like to see the car with your own number 24 livery?
JEFF GORDON: Oh, my goodness, I can't wait.
MARK REUSS: Let's take a look.
JEFF GORDON: I love it.
MARK REUSS: What do you think of it, man? Isn't is awesome? It's awesome. I am so excited to see your car.
JEFF GORDON: I am, too. I always say a fast race car goes a little bit faster on the track, a fast looking race car. But I've got to ask, what was that there at the end?
MARK REUSS: That's a little bit of taste of what's to come here on the production car. That is the production Chevrolet SS there at the end. Just like the race car, the production version of the SS will be powered by a V 8, and it will be rear wheel drive once again. The design of the engineering was done by our global railroad drive team that's responsible for performance vehicles like the Chevrolet Camaro and the Holden Commodore that is yet to be introduced. If you've driven any of our current rear wheel drive cars like the Camaro, you know that this is a good thing. You also own a ZL 1 Camaro, don't you?
JEFF GORDON: I do. I actually got a chance to test the ZL 1 at the proving grounds.
MARK REUSS: Oh, on the MRC.
JEFF GORDON: It was so much fun, and that sold me on the car, driving it on that track, I said I've got to have one of these cars. Fantastic car.
MARK REUSS: I think you got a convertible, as well, didn't you?
JEFF GORDON: I got the convertible. I don't know, somehow Rick Hendrick got in line before me on the coupe, so I had to wait for the convertible.
MARK REUSS: That's a good thing. I've got one on order and I'm picking it up when I return to Detroit.
JEFF GORDON: I love what they've done not just with the performance of the car but with the interior, as well, and of course a great looking car.
MARK REUSS: Well, I'm happy you're an owner, and I'm soon to be one here in about a week.
The same team that developed the ZL 1 engineered the Chevrolet SS, and I am you're a Chevrolet dealer, too, aren't you?
JEFF GORDON: I sure am.
MARK REUSS: Right. Well, do you think you can sell some of these?
JEFF GORDON: Are you kidding me? I can't wait. We're definitely going to sell plenty of these.
MARK REUSS: Great, great.
JEFF GORDON: And when can the fans
MARK REUSS: The fans have to wait a little bit, but Daytona will be here before we know it, and of course you'll always be there, but we're going to introduce the car here in Daytona here during Speedweeks, which I think will be a first for us, as well.
JEFF GORDON: So what you're saying is we all have to wait.
MARK REUSS: Yeah, just a little bit, just a little bit. Everybody give Jeff Gordon a round of applause. Thank you so much for being here for this special day for Chevrolet, and thanks for all you do for us.
JEFF GORDON: Appreciate it.
MARK REUSS: Now let's take a closer look at what the Chevrolet SS is really is. This car puts, again, the stock back in stock cars. The new SS won't be mistaken for any other car on the track. It bears a striking resemblance to our production car, the 2014 SS, and that will be in showrooms here next fall. Like the production car, the design of the front end is bold, purposeful and highly styled. The hood has distinctive contours that replicate the production model, as well, and similarly, the rear of the race car is very representative of the stock SS as you see in the picture there.
The profile clearly shows the large wheel arches and the dramatic cove behind the front wheel here just like the production car. The exterior similarities between the SS race car and the production car are very, very car. There's a little bit of math representation of that. The blue line here on the slide is the race car; the green line is the production car. The cars match up extremely well. This is good for our fans, it's great for NASCAR, and Chevrolet and our dealers, and most importantly, the relationship for our customers.
Everybody wins here. The development of the SS has been a collaborative effort with NASCAR. To speak to this, please welcome one of our most important partners here, the president of NASCAR, Mr. Mike Helton. Mike?
MIKE HELTON: Thank you, Mark, and this is exciting. All year long as we were working on the 2012 season, we were completing the evolution of our 2013 car, and this concludes the rollout of them, so we're all very excited about getting to Daytona during Speedweeks and the Daytona 500 in 2013 and seeing these cars in action on the racetrack there and for the full season next year.
Robin Pemberton, our vice president of competition, led our group to work with the manufacturers for the past several years. Actually, as Mark alluded to the process at Chevrolet, that process applied to the other manufacturers, as well, and without their support and their collaborative effort, we would not have gotten to this point. So Mark, Jim Campbell, Mark Kent, Alba Colon, Pat Suhy, everybody from the Chevrolet side and everybody from the other manufacturers, thank you very much, because we're excited about this and we've talked about it all year long. The anticipation going into 2013 is building, it will build over the off season, and it'll be, we feel, one of the milestones that we'll look back as we celebrate our history in the future, we'll look back and see 2013 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup car as a very significant milestone for us.
As I mentioned, it was a collaborative effort, and along the way we have learned that there are people engaged in our sport that know how to do things like this, and working with their design teams and their engineers, Robin and his group were able to, we think and feel very strongly, deliver something that the fans had asked for. As Mark alluded, we'll put stock back in NASCAR stock cars, and so now we've completed the circle as we introduced the Nationwide cars earlier, it's already been announced back in Indianapolis that the Chevrolet Camaro would be part of the Nationwide Series, and these cars will be representing the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2013, and we're very excited about that.
Enjoy your weekend in Vegas. Thank you, everybody, for being here. Mark, particularly thank you. It is your energy that led a lot of this and a lots of your suggestions and thoughts guided us through this whole process for everybody. So thank you.
MARK REUSS: Mike, thank you for your partnership over the last couple years to do this and our team and the other manufacturers, as well. I think this is a landmark time for NASCAR, and thank you for listening. It's really important you listen to the fans, you listen to us, and I think we've got something here that will really change the sport here for the future really.
MIKE HELTON: I agree with you.
MARK REUSS: Thank you so much. Thank you for being here.
Thanks to you, Robin Pemberton, John Darby and the rest of the NASCAR team for working with us. That partnership is so crucial, and I know I speak for all the manufacturers in saying this is really a landmark time for the sport.
We can't wait to get back onto the track. I also want to thank Brian France and Lesa France Kennedy for being here, and Jim, in helping make this day possible for us at Chevrolet, and again, we can't wait for 2013. As I told Jeff, the world will see the new production car for the SS when it is unveiled in February during Speedweeks in Daytona
I can't think of a better time or place to launch the SS. I think this is the first time this has ever been done, as well. The new SS looks great in Chevy racing livery, and will be raced by drivers and some teams like Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress with the Budweiser No. 29 Chevrolet SS; in the Lowe's No. 48 Chevrolet SS, Jimmie Johnson and team owner Rick Hendrick; Tony Stewart and Gene Haas with the Bass Pro Shops No. 14 Chevrolet SS; and Jamie McMurray, driver of the McDonald's No. 1 Chevrolet SS with team owner Chip Ganassi.
As a surprise for today, would you really like to see what the rest of these cars look like? I know I do.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome four more members of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series teams. These teams along with all of our other members of team Chevy really provide the skilled driving talent, commitment, determination that it takes to win both on and off the track. Thank you all for being here, and now I'd like to invite Jim Campbell back on to close the program.
JIM CAMPBELL: Thanks, Mark. What do you guys think? Well, Mark, for you and Mike and all the drivers and team owners that are here, thanks for being here. The cars look great. To the NASCAR fans, thanks for being here. We're going to see all of you at Victory Lap on Las Vegas Boulevard this afternoon. For all of you online, thanks for joining us for the worldwide debut of the 2013 Chevrolet SS race car. See you in Daytona in February.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
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