Chevy goes drag racing with new Camaro COPO
The latest Camaro might have been built with a new focus on handling and light weight, but that doesn’t mean Chevy has forgotten about the drag racing crowd. The Camaro COPO, which makes its debut at SEMA in Las Vegas, is a hand-built racer designed to tackle NHRA Stock and Super Stock Eliminator drag-racing classes with a choice of three different engines and a stiff, light bodyshell.
Thanks to sixth-generation Camaro’s new chassis, the COPO’s structural rigidity has been improved by 28 percent compared to the previous model. The new car is also 60.5 kg (133 lb) lighter than the fifth-gen COPO, which combines with a slicker aerodynamics kit to provide better high-speed performance for drag racers.
As well as that overblown funny-car style exterior kit, COPO Camaro buyers will be treated to lightweight, adjustable front suspension and a four-link suspension system at the rear that includes adjustable coil-overs, a Panhard bar and a stabilizer bar.
The standard car’s rear axle has been replaced with a new unit that features an aluminum center section and a spool-type diff, along with gun drilled axle shafts for less unsprung mass. Also helping to lower unsprung mass are the car’s unassisted racing brakes. To better fit the needs of drag racers, the standard car’s power steering has been replaced with an unassisted rack-and-pinion system.
So, how much power does the COPO make? Well, we’re not exactly sure just yet… Chevy is offering a range of engines with the drag-racing Camaro, including a supercharged 350 (5.7-liter V8), a naturally aspirated 427 (7.0-liter) motor and a turbo 376 (6.2-liter). Beyond that details are scant, but we do know that the outgoing COPO Camaro offered up six different LSX-based V8 engines, producing between 250 and 530 horsepower (395 kW).
All the engines in the new COPO will be hooked up to a three-speed 400 Turbo transmission.
As for the SEMA show car, underneath that carbon fiber hood is a concept 350 racing V8, boosted by a 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger. The Red Hot-colored exterior graphic was designed to reference Courtney Force’s Traxxas Camaro Funny Car.
Chevrolet are building 69 COPOs for 2016, with buyers to be selected at random after registering their interest on Chevrolet’s website.