Every year when we head out to the SEMA show, our intent is to learn about what’s new at each manufacturer we visit. When it comes to the multiple displays from Chevrolet Performance, the answer to that particular question is, a lot! Chevy Performance has been extra busy this year with multiple new trim packages, and OEM performance parts.
Although SEMA is primarily an aftermarket-focused industry show, automobile manufacturers (most notably Chevrolet, Ford, and Mopar) use it as a chance to make sure people know they aren’t going to be outdone in terms of performance. Chevrolet has had a mind-blowing year in terms of new trim packages, including the Camaro ZL1, Camaro ZL1 1LE, Carbon 65 Edition Corvette, C7.R Corvette, and Hot Wheels Edition COPO they unveiled at the show. They were just shy of rolling out the ZR1 Corvette at SEMA, so we, unfortunately, haven’t gotten to see that one in person.
All the models revealed before November 1st were out on display for everyone to admire. The C7.R Corvette race car showed up with the engine that powers it on display. The LT5.5 is no ordinary powertrain, this 5.5L naturally aspirated engine makes 488-horsepower and is backed by a 6-speed manual transmission when in the C7.R. Another gem, the 2018 Corvette Z06 Carbon 65 Edition, is the ultimate carbon-fiber package for the Grand Sport that’s made to salute 65 years of the Corvette.
Made specifically for NHRA competition, the COPO Camaro with LSX based 427 engine will sweep anyone off their feet. The recently revealed Camaro ZL1 Safety Car was another treat to get up close and personal with at the show. Of course, the 50th -Anniversary Hot Wheels Edition COPO was a show stealer.
Thanks to all of their new rollouts, there’s also a load of new crate engines and parts in their Chevrolet Performance catalog available for new builds and swaps. The entire line of current and new crate engines were out on full display. A perfect example of this is the LT1 6.2L Connect and Cruise crate engine that allows you to drop in the 460-horsepower/465 lb-ft of torque engine in as a complete package out of the box.
GM cars, as attractive as they are, aren’t made to just sit still. Chevrolet Performance flexed their muscle with several demonstrations on their proving ground for the Camaro ZL1, Corvette, and Colorado ZR2.
As big of a year 2017 has been for Chevrolet, we expect to see much more in 2018 as some of their best-ever performance models begin to hit the road, and the parts that go with them become available to consumers to make extreme builds.
Shawn Henry is a Texas native who has spent the majority of his career building and selling F-Bodies and Corvettes. Now studying journalism, he is taking a new direction with his love of GM Performance vehicles.