First off, let’s start with a definition.
A Funny Car is a type of drag racing vehicle and a specific racing class in organized drag racing. Their race car body, or shell, styles typically reflect the models of new cars in the time period they’re built. Like in the 1970s, the Chevrolet Vega or Plymouth Barracuda were often represented as funny cars.
Fast-forward to present day and the all-new 2016 Camaro SS Funny Car. It’s the first one based on the sixth-generation Camaro SS.
Tuesday, 16-time NHRA champion John Force showed it off ahead of next weekend’s NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka, Kansas.
“I started my career in a Chevrolet and I couldn’t be more excited to put this new Camaro SS Funny Car on the track,” said Force. “With all the assistance from Chevrolet, it not only looks great, it’s designed to perform better than anything we’ve had before, with a shape that should help us get down the track quicker and with greater stability.”
Here’s what Chevy wants you to know. This thing can shoot from 0 to 330 mph in less than 4 seconds – and in a mere 1,000 feet. Chevy says it team pulled this off by giving the new lighter body the airflow management qualities necessary to deliver the downforce required by the 10,000-horsepower supercharged race car. A new, integrated front splitter helps aerodynamics by directing more air over the body to increase downforce.
Safety is a big priority, too. The design incorporates new, dual blow-out – or “burst” – panels, safety devices that relieve underbody pressure to help keep the body on the chassis in the event of an engine failure.
“Racing improves the breed and that’s why Chevrolet races,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “The wins we record on the track help us design better cars customers will buy in the showroom.”
Camaro’s legacy in drag racing dates back to 1967, when longtime Chevy racers such as Dave Strickler and Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins, pushed the new pony car up through the Super Stock ranks. Jenkins would go on to pioneer the new Pro Stock class, giving the Camaro its first win there in 1970.
The legendary 1969 Camaro ZL-1, powered by an all-aluminum 427, was originally developed for the Can-Am road racing series.