There are few more passionate issues amongst the Supercars fan base than the cars the stars drive. In recent weeks contributor Roland Dane and myself have debated the pros and cons of the continued participation of the Chevrolet Camaro in the Supercars championship with the road car just months from being permanently retired.
In order to get the real feeling of fans we asked you to vote in our recent Pirtek Poll to tell us if you believe Supercars needs to maintain a road car relevance with what it races or just use cars that look good and race well. After more than 3000 votes the results were 58 per cent in favour of cars needing to be road relevant, while nearly 42 per cent just want exciting cars on the track.
That's a surprisingly even split, with clearly a divide amongst fans about what is the best way for the sport to move forward. It probably helps the case for not worrying about production car relevance that the Camaro is already in the sport and looks great on the track.
But still, the long-term question for the sport remains – which path does it go down? Or really, what choices will it have?
As Roland pointed out in his opinion piece, Chevrolet will have a solution ready-to-go for its NASCAR programs, where it currently uses the Camaro name and style for its Cup entry. There hasn't been any official confirmation about what the brand will do beyond 2024, but there's no chance they'll quit the sport suddenly so there will be an alternative planned worked out in Chevy HQ.
“Chevrolet's products and our relationship with our customers benefit from motorsports,” Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president, performance and motorsports, told Forbes early in 2023. “Our plan is to continue to compete and win at the highest levels of auto racing.”
What form that takes will likely remain unclear in the short-term, and realistically speaking the cost of replacing the current Camaros with any other body would be a cost Supercars teams would struggle to absorb.
In the long-term there's equally less clarity. Once the Camaro ends production in January Chevrolet will only have one performance car left in its range, the Corvette, and one sedan, the Malibu. Disregarding the increasingly irrelevant Malibu, racing the Corvette would be popular with some fans but unless Supercars decides to swap wholesale to GT3 regulations the cost of developing an all-new mid-engine platform, let alone achieving parity with the Mustang, would seem an insurmountable problem.
Instead, the most likely outcome for the future is, somewhat ironically, the Camaro. Not only does it make the most sense in the short-term, but Chevrolet is expected to announce the name will live on as a new all-electric sedan (or at least sedan-esqe) model in the coming years.
Using the Camaro name and style would seem like the most logical step for both NASCAR and Supercars to take. Even if that means continuing with V8 engines in the racing versions while the production car has electric motors.
Which starts a whole different debate we'll save for another day…
Tell us what you think? Leave a comment below or on social media to let us know your thoughts on the future of Supercars and what type of cars you'd like to see racing.